What is a Nuclear Medicine Technologist?

In cutting-edge medical science, nuclear medicine is absolutely somewhere up there near the top. Its reaches and abilities are almost futuristic, saving lives in a sort of invisible platform. On the human side of its use, the nuclear medicine technologist, or NMT for short, is the wielder of this lifesaving medical approach. To learn more, read along.

The Science of Radiation Harnessed

Knowing what today’s NMT does is also much about understanding their main subject of work and attention on the job – the controlled, medical use of radiation. While it’s certainly true that radiation was understood for its harmful potentials far before it was understood for its good, today it truly is used on a daily basis, by NMTs around the world, to save lives.

So, how does it work?

In essence, radiation is used in two primary modes in the medical world. In one way, it is used to treat diseases such as cancer. In the other of its two modes of use, radiation can be used quite effectively to diagnose and see certain conditions and body parts otherwise impossible to see without administering extremely risky bodily intrusions such as surgery. In the end, in virtually all modes of its use, “radioactive tracers” are put into the body, and special imaging equipment is then able to monitor those tracers and form images, indicate further treatment options, and more.

The NMT’s Role

This is where the NMT enters the story. The NMT is the technician who works directly with all of the advanced nuclear equipment used in such applications. They are essentially the indispensable operator working between the patient, the equipment, and the overseeing physician.

In this role, they work hands-on with the equipment and patients being treated with it. They must therefore understand a wide range of technological, nuclear, medical, and even psychological concepts in order to effectively carry out their daily duties in this role. This leads us to the question of how one becomes an NMT.

Becoming an NMT

To become a nuclear medical technologist, one must earn either an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree in an accredited nuclear medical program. The more preferred entry background will present with the bachelor’s, but an associates will often gain one entry regardless. In both cases, the potential NMT must then check with their state medical board to be sure if they are required to obtain an actual certification in order to legally work as an NMT in that state. Approximately half of the US states require this additional certification step at this time.

Other NMT Job Data

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2016 figures, the median pay rate for an NMT was around $35.75 per hour. This equates to about $74,350 yearly. While the bureau also lists the occupation as growing, its growth rate is a bit slower than average right now at a rate of around 2% current growth. In addition, the bureau lists the job as one that does not typically require additional, on-the-job training once initial educational requirements have been satisfied.

The wonder of modern nuclear medical approaches saves lives and stops illnesses in their tracks each and every day. It is then the nuclear medical technologist who facilitates this advanced side of medicine in that daily fight toward healthy outcomes. To learn even more about this career, you are highly recommended to inquire with the leading authority, the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board.