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Career and Education Opportunities for Nuclear Medical Technologists in Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for nuclear medical technologists. There are currently 390 jobs for nuclear medical technologists in Alabama and this is projected to grow by 25% to 490 jobs by 2016. This is better than the national trend for nuclear medical technologists, which sees this job pool growing by about 16.3% over the next eight years. In general, nuclear medical technologists prepare, administer, and measure radioactive isotopes in therapeutic, diagnostic, and tracer studies utilizing a variety of radioisotope equipment.

Income for nuclear medical technologists is about $27 per hour or $56,190 per year on average in Alabama. Nationally, their income is about $32 hourly or $66,660 yearly. Compared with people working in the overall category of Radiology, people working as nuclear medical technologists in Alabama earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Radiology nationally. Jobs in this field include: isotope technician, supervisor nuclear medicine, and nuclear cardiology technologist.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Birmingham where you can study to be a nuclear medical technologist, among fifteen schools of higher education total in the Birmingham area. The most common level of education for nuclear medical technologists is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree. You can expect to spend about two years training to become a nuclear medical technologist if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Nuclear Medical Technologist

Nuclear Medical Technologist video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, nuclear medical technologists prepare, administer, and measure radioactive isotopes in therapeutic, diagnostic, and tracer studies utilizing a variety of radioisotope equipment. They also prepare stock solutions of radioactive materials and calculate doses to be administered by radiologists.

Nuclear medical technologists dispose of radioactive materials and store radiopharmaceuticals, following radiation safety procedures. They also explain test procedures and safety precautions to patients and furnish them with assistance during test procedures. Equally important, nuclear medical technologists have to perform quality control checks on laboratory apparatus and cameras. They are often called upon to maintain and calibrate radioisotope and laboratory apparatus. They are expected to produce computer-generated or film images for interpretation by physicians. Finally, nuclear medical technologists gather data on patients' illnesses and medical history to guide the choice of diagnostic processes for therapy.

Every day, nuclear medical technologists are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for nuclear medical technologists to measure glandular activity, blood volume, red cell survival, and radioactivity of patient, using scanners, Geiger counters, scintillometers, and other laboratory apparatus. They are often called upon to train and supervise student or subordinate nuclear medicine technologists. They also detect and map radiopharmaceuticals in patients' bodies, using cameras to produce photographic or computer images. They are sometimes expected to design treatment processes for nuclear medicine treatment programs. Somewhat less frequently, nuclear medical technologists are also expected to add radioactive substances to biological specimens.

Nuclear medical technologists sometimes are asked to gather data on patients' illnesses and medical history to guide the choice of diagnostic processes for therapy. They also have to be able to record and process results of procedures and calculate, measure and record radiation dosages or radiopharmaceuticals received, used and disposed, using computers and following physicians' prescriptions. And finally, they sometimes have to calculate, measure and record radiation dosages or radiopharmaceuticals received, used and disposed, using computers and following physicians' prescriptions.

Like many other jobs, nuclear medical technologists must be reliable and believe in cooperation and coordination.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Birmingham include:

  • Medical Laboratory Technician. Perform routine medical laboratory tests for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. May work under the supervision of a medical technologist.
  • Optometrist. Diagnose, manage, and treat conditions and diseases of the human eye and visual system. Examine eyes and visual system, diagnose problems or impairments, prescribe corrective lenses, and provide treatment. May prescribe therapeutic drugs to treat specific eye conditions.
  • Pharmacist. Compound and dispense medications following prescriptions issued by physicians, dentists, or other authorized medical practitioners.
  • Physician Assistant. Provide healthcare services typically performed by a physician, under the supervision of a physician. Conduct complete physicals, provide treatment, and counsel patients. May, in some cases, prescribe medication. Must graduate from an accredited educational program for physician assistants.
  • Radiation Therapist. Provide radiation therapy to patients as prescribed by a radiologist according to established practices and standards. Duties may include reviewing prescription and diagnosis; acting as liaison with physician and supportive care personnel; preparing equipment, such as immobilization, treatment, and protection devices; and maintaining records, reports, and files. May assist in dosimetry procedures and tumor localization.
  • Radiological Technician. Maintain and use equipment and supplies necessary to demonstrate portions of the human body on x-ray film or fluoroscopic screen for diagnostic purposes.
  • Radiology Technologist. Take x-rays and Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT or CT) scans or administer nonradioactive materials into patient's blood stream for diagnostic purposes. Includes technologists who specialize in other modalities, such as computed tomography, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Nuclear Medical Technologist Training

University of Alabama at Birmingham - Birmingham, AL

University of Alabama at Birmingham, Administration Bldg Suite 1070, Birmingham, AL 35294-0110. University of Alabama at Birmingham is a large university located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 16,149 students and an admission rate of 85%. University of Alabama at Birmingham has a bachelor's degree program in Nuclear Medical Technology/Technologist which graduated eleven students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Biomedical Electronics Technician: Biomedical electronics technicians are expected to obtain knowledge of the principles of modern biomedical techniques, the proper procedure in the care, handling and maintenance of biomedical equipment and to display an attitude/behavior expected of an electronics technician who works in a hospital or healthcare environment.

For more information, see the ETA International website.

Nuclear Cardiology Technologist: Professional certification is a vital component of a successful career.

For more information, see the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama photo by Eric_in_SF

Birmingham is located in Jefferson County, Alabama. It has a population of over 228,798, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Birmingham, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Birmingham cost $187,300 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, one hundred thirty-two new homes were built in Birmingham, down from two hundred thirty-two the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Birmingham are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 24 minutes. More than 18.5% of Birmingham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Birmingham is 12.5%, which is greater than Alabama's average of 10.7%.

The percentage of Birmingham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Williams Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Westminister Presbyterian Church and West End Methodist Church are all churches located in Birmingham. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Birmingham is home to the Mineral Park Municipal Golf Course and the Cooper Green Golf Course as well as Avondale Mills Park and Smithfield Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Acipco Shopping Center, Altadena Square Shopping Center and Parkway East Huffman Shopping Center. Visitors to Birmingham can choose from Marriott Hotel Birmingham, Rime Garden Extended Stay Suites and Studioplus for temporary stays in the area.