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Nuclear medicine technologist

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Summary of occupation

Nuclear medicine technologists treat diseases and diagnose health conditions using radioactive materials and diagnostic equipment. They prepare radioactive materials for injection and administer them to patients via injection, ingestion or inhalation, liaise with patients to explain the procedures, and undertake examinations. Whilst the examination is taking place they analyse tracers using diagnostic imaging equipment and computers. They also treat diseases using radioactive materials, and test equipment and tracers to ensure they are working properly.

ANZSCO description: Performs or assists in performing diagnostic examinations using radionuclides and radiopharmaceuticals, and administers radionuclides and radiopharmaceuticals for therapeutic purposes under the direction of specialist Medical Practitioners. Registration or licensing is required.
Alternative names:
Specialisations: Bone Mineral Densitometry Technician, Nuclear Medicine Programmer, Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Technician, Ultrasound Technologist
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A nuclear medicine technologist needs:

  • an interest in the science of medicine
  • a desire to help people
  • technical aptitude
  • analytical skills and the ability to interpret information
  • planning and organisational skills
  • the ability to undertake detailed and precise work
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Working conditions

Nuclear medicine technologists work in hospitals, medical laboratories and the radiology departments of diagnostic facilities, usually located in cities and large regional centres. They usually work regular hours, but may be on call in the case of emergencies. They are regularly in contact with radioactive materials, and therefore need to follow strict safety procedures. They work with patients, other radiology professionals, and a range of medical professionals such as doctors and nursing staff.

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Salary details

Nuclear medicine technologists, classified under medical imaging professionals, can expect to earn between $1 500 and $1 999 per week ($78 000 and $103 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a nuclear medicine technologist develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Nuclear medicine technologists work with radiopharmaceuticals and other biological tracers and diagnostic equipment like gamma cameras, ultrasound, positron emission tomography and bone mineral densitometry equipment. They also use laboratory equipment to prepare radiopharmaceuticals, and safety equipment like radiation monitoring equipment.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a qualified nuclear medicine technologist, you have to complete a degree in medical radiation science with a major in nuclear medicine.

There are currently no courses in nuclear medicine available in Western Australia. You can complete degree courses at universities interstate.

Charles Sturt University offers a four year Bachelor of Medical Radiation Science (Nuclear Medicine). The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology offers a three year Bachelor of Applied Science (Medical Radiations). The University of Newcastle offers a three year Bachelor of Medical Radiation Science (Nuclear Medicine).

Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

Graduates must be registered with the Medical Radiation Practice Board of Australia to practise in any state or territory in Australia.

In Western Australia, you must obtain a licence to operate radiation equipment from the Radiological Council. Contact the Council for more information. 

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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Nuclear medicine technologists treat diseases and diagnose health conditions using radioactive materials and diagnostic equipment.

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