What Is a Nuclear Medicine Technologist? Overview, Education, Jobs

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Explore what a nuclear medicine technologist does, job opportunities, required education and certification needed for an entry-level position.

[Featured image] A nuclear medicine technologist reviews a brain scan with a doctor.

A nuclear medicine technologist works with patients scheduled for medical imaging tests. Also known as an NMT, the job requires a degree as a minimum requirement. As a nuclear medicine technologist, you’ll work with various imaging equipment and administer radiopharmaceuticals to patients that show the tissues and organs needed for the scan. Learn more about what an NMT does, required education, job outlook and salary, and how to start this career.

What is a nuclear medicine technologist?

A nuclear medicine technologist is a specially trained health care professional who works directly with patients needing medical imaging tests. As an NMT, you assist nuclear medicine physicians with nuclear medicine technology. 

Nuclear medicine technology is a medical process that uses imaging equipment to diagnose and treat a patient. Examples of imaging procedures are positron emission tomography (PET) and electrocardiogram (ECG).

You might also be called an isotope or radioisotope technologist because you work with radioactive and radioisotope equipment. You also give radiopharmaceuticals to patients before an imaging procedure, then use a specialised camera to create images where the radiopharmaceuticals show within the tissues and organs of the patient. 

What do nuclear medicine technologists do day-to-day?

A nuclear medical technologist typically works with patients scheduled for imaging procedures or who need radiation treatment for a disease such as cancer. As a nuclear medicine technologist, you’ll prepare and administer the correct radiopharmaceutical dosage to the patient. Using imaging equipment, you’ll scan the areas of the body that the patient’s health care provider requested.

When a patient arrives for their appointment, you’ll explain the procedure and answer any questions they have. Some patients might be fearful or nervous, and some might be in pain, so you’ll want to be calming and reassuring. The position also requires you to maintain the imaging equipment and ensure it’s operating safely.

How do I become a nuclear medicine technologist?

To pursue a nuclear medicine technologist career, you’ll need a strong interest in physics and chemistry and to have passed all class 10 subjects, with class 11 physics, chemistry, biology, and maths, to meet the requirements to study for a degree in nuclear medicine technology.

Educational requirements

A Bachelor of Science (BSc) in nuclear medical technology is the minimum requirement to qualify as a nuclear medicine technologist. Modules typically include physics, chemistry, anatomy, and studying radioactive drugs. Clinical experience under the supervision of a nuclear medicine professional may also be required.

Can I study to become a nuclear medicine technician online?

You can study to become a nuclear medicine technologist online; however, the clinical portion of your studies needs to be completed in person. 

Taking some of the required courses from a reputable university allows you to fit the programme into your work and personal life.

How long does it take to become a nuclear medicine technologist?

To become a nuclear medicine technologist, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree, which generally takes three to five years to complete. The time can be shortened or lengthened depending on how many credit hours you take each semester and whether you attend full or part-time.

What jobs can you get as a nuclear medicine technologist?

When you’ve completed a degree in nuclear medicine technology, you’ll qualify for work in hospitals and imaging clinics, or you could choose to work for a doctor in a private practice.

Government and teaching hospitals offer other opportunities, and medical laboratories also need nuclear medicine technologists.

Job Outlook

Nuclear medicine technologists are in demand, and this is one of the fastest-growing fields worldwide. Retirements and aging populations will require nuclear medicine technologists, making it a good career choice.


According to Glassdoor, as a nuclear medicine technologist, you can anticipate earning an average base salary of ₹50,000 per month. This can increase to ₹6,00,000 depending on experience, location, and employer [1]. 

Jobs related to nuclear medical technology are available with the proper education and certification. The positions are in health care settings and require working one-on-one with patients under the supervision of a physician or other diagnostic professional.

Some options to consider are: 

  • Diagnostic medical sonographer: A career as a diagnostic medical sonographer requires a two-year diploma. As a sonographer, you work with patients to take digital images using special equipment.

  • Neurodiagnostic technologist: The neurodiagnostic technologist performs tests on the brain and nervous system. The job doesn’t require a degree; however, certification is available after completing a two-year programme.

  • Radiologic technologist: Radiologic technologists take X-rays to be interpreted by physicians. The position requires a relevant degree and sometimes a postgraduate qualification.

  • Radiation therapist: A radiation therapist works with cancer patients and others who need radiation therapy. You work as a member of an oncology team to administer treatment and monitor patients for side effects.

  • Cardiovascular technologist: The cardiovascular technologist works with EKG equipment to monitor heart and lung function. You may perform other tasks as needed, such as lung capacity testing.

Ready to start an NMT career? 

If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a nuclear medicine technologist, check out degree courses and compare modules and reputation before deciding. 

To explore nuclear medicine, consider taking the Life, Health, and Radiation course offered through the University of Sydney on Coursera. 

Article sources

  1. Glassdoor. “Nuclear Medicine Technologist Salaries, https://www.glassdoor.co.in/Salaries/nuclear-medicine-technologist-salary-SRCH_KO0,29.htm.” Accessed March 15, 2024.

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