Nuclear medicine techs usually work in hospitals, though some work in outpatient clinics. Nuclear medicine techs use radiopharmaceuticals in order to assess how the body responds to the nuclear medicine. This allows doctors to diagnose illnesses and determine an appropriate treatment method. If you have decided that you want to become a nuclear medicine tech, you have chosen to become an invaluable member of the health care team.
The first step in becoming a nuclear medicine tech is to find a training program. Most nuclear medicine tech programs are about 2 years in length. Many community colleges offer nuclear medicine tech training in the form of an Associate's degree and sometimes also in the form of a certificate program. The certificate program is not generally any shorter in length than the associates program, so when possible it is advised that you pursue an Associates degree.
Once you have found a college that offer nuclear medicine tech training you will have to be admitted to the program. The world of health care is getting more competitive than ever before, so be prepared to have to take several prerequisite classes such as human anatomy and physiology, biology, chemistry, and mathematics at the college level. Make sure that you do well in these classes, as the grades that you earn in your prerequisite classes will frequently be used to determine if you are accepted into the program or put on a wait list.
A nuclear medicine tech program is difficult and challenging, which is partially why there such a shortage of nuclear medicine techs in the U.S. Be sure to keep on top of your homework and always attend class. These are key points to success in becoming a nuclear medicine tech. Make sure that you ask for assistance from your instructors and classmates the moment that something doesn't make sense. Don't wait until you are struggling and desperately trying to pull up your grades to seek help. Your instructors are there to teach you the necessary skills to be a nuclear medicine tech. They want to see you pass your classes and learn the material because they know that you are destined to be an integral part of the health care team. Utilize tutoring, study aids, and study groups that are offered by your college or training program to ensure your success in becoming a capable nuclear medicine tech in the near future.