Innovators Guide



Nuclear Medicine Technologist Job Outlook

Faster than average job growth is projected. However, keen competition is expected for most positions.

Employment change. Employment of 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.

Technological innovations may increase the diagnostic uses of nuclear medicine. New nuclear medical imaging technologies, including PET and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), are expected to be used increasingly. Cost considerations will affect the speed with which these new applications of nuclear medicine grow. Healthcare facilities contemplating these procedures will have to consider equipment costs, reimbursement policies, and the number of potential users. Although these new imaging technologies will be used more often, they will likely replace older technologies, not supplement them. Thus, only a small amount of job growth will stem from the adoption of new technologies.

Job prospects. In spite of growth in nuclear medicine, the number of openings into the occupation each year will be relatively low. Job competition will be keen because the supply of properly trained nuclear medicine technologists is expected to exceed the number of job openings for technologists. Technologists who have training in multiple diagnostic methods, such as radiologic technology and diagnostic medical sonography, or in nuclear cardiology, should have the best prospects.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition

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