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Career and Education Opportunities for Nuclear Medical Technologists in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Nuclear medical technologist career and educational opportunities abound in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There are currently 1,200 working nuclear medical technologists in Pennsylvania; this should grow 12% to about 1,350 working nuclear medical technologists in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for nuclear medical technologists are expected to grow by about 16.3%. In general, nuclear medical technologists prepare, administer, and measure radioactive isotopes in therapeutic, diagnostic, and tracer studies utilizing a variety of radioisotope equipment.

A person working as a nuclear medical technologist can expect to earn about $28 hourly or $58,810 annually on average in Pennsylvania and about $32 hourly or $66,660 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for nuclear medical technologists are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Radiology in Pennsylvania and not quite as good as general Radiology category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: certified nuclear medicine technologist , nuclear cardiology technologist, and staff nuclear medicine technologist.

There are eighty-three schools of higher education in the Pittsburgh area, including three within twenty-five miles of Pittsburgh where you can get a degree to start your career as a nuclear medical technologist. Given that the most common education level for nuclear medical technologists is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, you can expect to spend about two years studying to be 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 Pittsburgh include:

  • Dental Hygienist. Clean teeth and examine oral areas, head, and neck for signs of oral disease. May educate patients on oral hygiene, take and develop X-rays, or apply fluoride or sealants.
  • 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.
  • 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

Community College of Allegheny County - Pittsburgh, PA

Community College of Allegheny County, 800 Allegheny Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15233-1895. Community College of Allegheny County is a large college located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 19,366 students. Community College of Allegheny County has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Nuclear Medical Technology/Technologist which graduated ten and twenty-one students respectively in 2008.

Wheeling Jesuit University - Wheeling, WV

Wheeling Jesuit University, 316 Washington Ave, Wheeling, WV 26003. Wheeling Jesuit University is a small university located in Wheeling, West Virginia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,304 students and an admission rate of 66%. Wheeling Jesuit University has a bachelor's degree program in Nuclear Medical Technology/Technologist which graduated nineteen students in 2008.

Robert Morris University - Moon Township, PA

Robert Morris University, 6001 University Boulevard, Moon Township, PA 15108-1189. Robert Morris University is a small university located in Moon Township, Pennsylvania. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,767 students and an admission rate of 75%. Robert Morris University has a bachelor's degree program in Nuclear Medical Technology/Technologist.

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: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania photo by Conk 9

Pittsburgh is located in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. It has a population of over 310,037, which has shrunk by 7.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Pittsburgh, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Pittsburgh cost $196,700 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, one hundred eighty-five new homes were built in Pittsburgh, up from one hundred seventeen the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Pittsburgh are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 26.2% of Pittsburgh residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 12.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Pittsburgh is 7.8%, which is less than Pennsylvania's average of 8.4%.

The percentage of Pittsburgh residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 71.8%, is more than both the national and state average. Saint Pauls Cathedral, Saint Patrick Roman Cathlic Church and Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church are some of the churches located in Pittsburgh. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Methodist Church.

Pittsburgh is home to the Mount Washington Overlook and the Golden Triangle as well as Magee Playground and Kennard Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Shadyside Shopping Center and Allegheny Center Mall. Visitors to Pittsburgh can choose from Best Western University Center, Avalon Motel and Four Points By Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport for temporary stays in the area.