Students often contact the JRCNMT for assistance in deciding whether to major in nuclear medicine technology and selecting a program. Though choice of a career path and educational institution are ultimately a personal decision, the JRCNMT makes the following recommendations to prospective students:
Select a career path after investigating nuclear medicine technology and comparing it to other majors you are considering. Reading a paragraph on a website or in a brochure is not sufficient investigation into a potential career. Consider the following:
- Does your current college or a local college offer an introductory course on health professions careers that you can attend to learn about all the career options in the health professions?
- Does your current college have a student health professions club that provides information sessions on health careers, type of patient interaction, current job demand and salary in each?
- Contact a local hospital with a nuclear medicine department and ask to schedule a phone interview or in-person visit with the chief technologist to discuss the profession.
- Review the list of current job openings on the website of several local hospitals or those in the geographic area where you would like to work.
- The number of nuclear medicine openings reflects the current job demand.
- A salary range may be listed that will give you an idea of the pay.
- Note whether the positions are full-time, part-time or per diem/PRN (meaning you would fill in when technologists are on vacation, or work on busy days, etc…)
After you’ve decided that nuclear medicine technology is the career for you an investigation into educational programs is essential. Nuclear medicine technology is a small field so there is not an educational program in every state and if there is, it may be the only one. Nuclear medicine technology programs are very traditional in format – online programs are not the norm. Realize that moving to go to school and/or to get a job may be necessary.
This website has a directory of accredited nuclear medicine technology programs. Select a state on the map and click to get a list of accredited programs located there. The list provides basic information about a program along with a link to the program’s web page and contact information for the program director. Programs begin in various months of the year, have varying admission criteria and accept different class sizes depending on their clinical affiliate resources so you need to carefully review the program’s web page and speak to a nuclear medicine faculty member or student advisor there.
When comparing programs it’s also important to check the tuition at each educational institution since that can be an important factor in making a decision on where to attend college.