Skip to Content
The nuclear medicine technologist (NMT) is a highly skilled individual who has a solid background in anatomy, physiology, mathematics, chemistry, physics, radiation safety, clinical nuclear instrumentation, and laboratory technique. Under the supervision of a physician, the NMT either directs or participates in the daily operation of the nuclear medicine department.The responsibilities are varied and can include performing radiation safety and quality control procedures, preparing and administering radiopharmaceuticals, operating nuclear medicine instruments, positioning patients for imaging procedures, collecting, preparing, and analyzing biologic specimens, and preparing data for the physician's interpretation.Visit the U.S. Department of Labor's O*NET (29-2033.00 - Nuclear Medicine Technologists) for additional career information.Nuclear Medicine Technology is the medical specialty concerned with the use of small amounts of radioactive material for diagnostic, therapeutic, and research purposes. It is a vigorous, dynamic field that has grown phenomenally over the years and is expected to continue to grow in the future.Nuclear Medicine procedures use radioactive materials to:
Organ imaging in patients requires the intravenous, oral administration, or inhalation of radioactive materials (called radiopharmaceuticals). When administered, these radiopharmaceuticals localize in a specific organ or organ system of the body. Instruments called scintillation cameras can then detect the radiation emitted by the radiopharmaceutical concentrated in the organ and produce an image of the organ on a computer screen or photographic film. These images provide a way of studying the structure and measuring the function of that organ, as well as a way of identifying tumors, areas of infection, or other disorders. Imaging procedures provide information that can assist the physician in diagnosing diseases. The patient experiences little or no discomfort and the radiation dose is small.Radioactive analyses of biologic specimens provide great accuracy and sensitivity. Blood, urine, or other specimens collected from the patient may be combined with radioactive materials to measure the level of various components in the sample such as hormones, drugs, or other chemical substances. Sample collection is simple, and because the radioactive material is added to the specimen outside the body, the patient is not exposed to radiation.Therapeutic doses of radioactive materials can be administered to patients to treat a specific disease. Although not used as frequently as diagnostic nuclear medicine procedures, treatment of disease with radiopharmaceuticals is a valuable contribution to patient care.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics occupational outlook for nuclear medicine technologists is expected to increase by 16 percent from 2008 to 2018, faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will arise from technological advancement, the development of new nuclear medicine treatments, and an increase in the number of middle-aged and elderly persons, who are the primary users of diagnostic and treatment procedures.For statistics on salary expectations and additional information on a career in Nuclear Medicine Technology visit the Bureau of Labor and Statistics website.
The Nuclear Medicine Technology Program takes great care in its pursuit to select and educate top quality technologists. The items below provide verification of our commitment to this pursuit.
Program graduates sit for at least one of two (or both, if they wish) national certification examinations. Both the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB) and the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) provide certification for graduates of accredited nuclear medicine technology programs. Since 1990, the program has maintained a 100% first attempt pass rate on the ARRT and a 99% pass rate on the NMCTB. Below are the average scores of the graduates from the past 5 years. A scaled score of 75 is the minimum passing scores for both exams.
Additional information on University of Iowa performance metrics such as loan default rates, median borrowing, etc. are available at http://financialaid.uiowa.edu/receivingfunds/notification/performancemetrics and http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?q=university+of+iowa&s=all&id=153658.
Copyright © 2015 The University of Iowa. All Rights Reserved.