Guide to Nuclear Medicine Technologist Online Programs

Explore accredited, partially online nuclear medicine programs that can lead to an in-demand, high-paying healthcare career helping patients through radiopharmaceuticals.

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Last Updated: 09/21/2021
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As a highly specialized career that also allows you to work directly with patients, nuclear medicine technologists administer radiopharmaceuticals to help doctors diagnose and heal diseases. They may also be involved in emergency efforts during a nuclear disaster and support researchers in the development of new imagery or therapy. The faster-than-average job outlook of 5% and median pay of almost $80,000 adds to the attractiveness of this career.

And while being nuclear medicine technologist is a very a hands-on career, some of the college coursework you need to complete to become one can now be taken online. This guide gives a comprehensive look at online nuclear medicine technologist programs that combine remote coursework with in-person clinical training. You’ll find information on top schools, program content, cost and financial aid, certification, accreditation, and more. Keep reading to discover how to get started earning a nuclear medicine technologist degree or certificate online from one of the best programs available.

Nuclear Medicine Technologist Online School Spotlights

Three of the best nuclear medicine technologist programs currently available at least partially online are spotlighted below to show you what to expect in terms of accreditation, affordability, and flexibility. These programs give you a good idea of what to look for in a quality program as you choose one that’s right for you, and all of them are accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology (JRCNMT).

Midlands Technical College

Midlands Technical College’s Academic Certificate in Nuclear Medicine Technology features coursework and hands-on training that qualifies graduates to sit for both the ARRT and CNMT exams to become certified nuclear medicine technologists. Some courses are completed 100% online in addition to general education prerequisites that may also be completed online. Most classes and all labs, however, are in-person in the Health Sciences Building on MTC’s Airport Campus in West Columbia, South Carolina. Students must also complete in-person training at clinical sites in and around the Columbia metropolitan area. The one-year program begins each fall semester and ends with the following summer semester.

As an advanced certificate program, acceptance is limited to applicants meeting substantial admissions criteria including a bachelor’s or associate’s degree with satisfactory completion of all MTC AAS in General Technology/Health Care coursework. Other admissions requirements include attending a program information session, performing two clinical observations, and completing a formal program interview. Cost for this 39-credit hour program is about $6,942 not including equipment and fees. Scholarships and other financial aid opportunities are available.

Chattanooga State Community College

Chattanooga State Community College offers two options for students seeking to become licensed and certified nuclear medicine technologists, starting with its AAS in Nuclear Medicine Technology degree. The full-time, 44-credit hour program consists of one year of general education courses followed by one year of major-specific online didactic coursework, on-campus labs (typically once per month), and in-person training at an approved clinical practice site. Current estimated cost of the AAS program is $11,179 for Tennessee residents and $15,274 for out-of-state residents.

CSCC’s Nuclear Medicine Technology Certificate program is designed for current radiation technologists, medical technologists, nurses, and others in similar fields with national certification and who hold associate’s (or higher) degrees. The one-year, 40-credit hour program consists of the same courses, labs, and clinical training requirements as the second year of the AAS degree program. Estimated cost of the certificate program is $9,334 for Tennessee residents and $13,226 for out-of-state residents.

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences offers both bachelor’s degree and certificate programs in nuclear medicine technology that feature substantial online components. The bachelor’s degree is primarily for students in the Boston area and available in two study formats.

The Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Medicine Technology – Accelerated program is for college students with little or no previous college-level coursework. The three-year, 121-credit hour program begins each fall with the general education and general science course requirements standard to most healthcare-related bachelor’s programs. Beginning in the summer of year two and continuing through year three, students complete a curriculum combining major-subject didactic coursework presented in a synchronous online format with clinical experiences attended in-person at facilities in the student’s local area.

MCPHS’s BS in Nuclear Medicine Technology – Fast Track program is for bachelor’s degree holders and transfer students who have completed the bulk of their general education requirements before starting the program. The 60-credit hour, four-semester (summer, fall, spring, summer) curriculum essentially follows the same course of study as that of the accelerated program beginning in the summer of its second year.

MCPHS also offers an Advanced Certificate in Nuclear Medicine Technology designed for students residing in specific regions of New England and who hold associate degrees in medical imaging or bachelor’s degrees in any major. The 50-credit hour program is also four semesters long (summer, fall, spring, summer) and mostly follows the same course of study as the fast-track bachelor’s program.

Types of Online Nuclear Medicine Programs

Nuclear medicine technology programs are available from colleges and universities throughout the U.S. Most are campus-based, though a few offer some or all of their didactic course fully or partially online. Both associate and bachelor’s degrees and professional certificates are offered, and each is designed to accommodate students at different points along their academic and career paths.

Associate Degrees

An associate degree in nuclear medicine technology provides students with no prior education or certification in radiology or any closely related technologist field the quickest route to licensure and professional certification. Associate degree programs usually require two years of study consisting of a year of general education courses followed by a year of nuclear medicine-specific coursework and hands-on training. Admission typically requires a high school diploma or GED and, in some cases, completion of a small number of prerequisite science and healthcare-related college-level courses.

Examples of Accredited Schools with this Nuclear Medicine Technologist Program

Bachelor’s Degrees

An online nuclear medicine technology bachelor’s degree is a great choice for individuals seeking to become certified nuclear medicine technologists while also planning for career advancement into leadership positions in the healthcare field. These programs typically include general education and major-specific courses that are taken fully online or in hybrid formats. As with all other online nuclear medicine programs, students must participate in hands-on training at clinical sites in the school’s or student’s local area. Additionally, students may have the option of standard (four-year) or accelerated (two-year to three-year) courses of study, depending on the amount and type of previously completed transferable college-level coursework.

Examples of Accredited Schools with this Nuclear Medicine Technologist Program

Certificate Programs

Nuclear medicine technology certificates are for current healthcare professionals seeking the specialized education and training needed to become certified nuclear medicine technologists. Admissions requirements vary among programs but most include an associate or bachelor’s degree and current certification (or certification eligibility) in a radiologic or medical imaging field. Curriculums consist strictly of the didactic coursework and in-person clinical training required for eligibility for licensure and/or certification and registration as a nuclear medicine technologist. Program lengths of one year are common.

Examples of Accredited Schools with this Nuclear Medicine Technologist Program

What You’ll Learn in a Nuclear Medicine Technologist Program Online

Nuclear medicine technologists prepare and give doses of radiopharmaceuticals (radioactive drugs) to patients and operate sophisticated equipment that creates images used in the diagnosis and treatment of a range of illnesses and diseases. Online nuclear medicine programs provide students with the education and training needed to carry out those duties in a consistent, responsible, safe, and effective manner. As a nuclear medicine technology student, expect to attain the following professional goals:

  • Clinical Competency

Demonstrated proficiency of the full range of entry-level nuclear medicine technology clinical knowledge and skills, including a comprehensive understanding of the physical principles associated with nuclear medicine technology, the preparation of radiopharmaceuticals, the operation of nuclear medicine equipment, and established safety practices.

  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

Competent critical thinking and problem-solving skills as demonstrated in the ability to utilize facts and data and to practice knowledge in assessing problems and finding solutions related to nuclear medicine imaging procedures.

  • Communication Skills

Demonstrated oral and written communication skills appropriate to professional nuclear medicine technologist practice when interacting with patients and their families as well as professional colleagues in the nuclear medicine department.

  • Professional and Ethical Practice

The recognition of established professional and ethical principles, and commitment to their practice at all times when carrying out all nuclear medicine technologist duties and responsibilities.

  • Lifelong Learning

Commitment to lifelong learning and the maintenance and improvement of nuclear medicine technologist skills as demonstrated through participation in continuing education programs and other profession-related activities.

Common Courses in Online Nuclear Medicine Programs

Clinical Procedures

Courses covering clinical procedures give a comprehensive survey of the anatomical, biological, and physiological aspects of imaging procedures employed in nuclear medicine clinical practice. Specific topics covered over a series of courses under the clinical procedure title include nuclear cardiology, lung imaging, skeletal imaging, liver and hepatobiliary imaging, renal imaging, infection and tumor imaging, endocrinology, and non-imaging procedures.

Instrumentation

Instrumentation courses survey the various types of nuclear medicine instrumentation starting with a discussion of radiation detection theory and its application to imaging equipment. Instrumentation types covered include scintillation cameras, PET/CT and SPECT imaging systems, pulse-height analyzers, Geiger counters, and dose calibrators. Additional topics include safe practices, quality assurance, and equipment methodology.

Nuclear Medicine Physics

Nuclear medicine physics studies the basic principles of radiation physics as they apply to nuclear medicine technology practice with an emphasis on radioactivity, radiation detection, physiologic imaging, and radiation safety. Students develop a solid understanding of radioactive decay, including the equations related to the decay of radioactivity, and the ability to compare and contrast nuclear medicine and physiologic imaging.

Radiopharmacology

Through the use of lab demonstrations and exercises, students learn basic theory concerning radiopharmacy and radiopharmacology and the production and use of radiopharmaceuticals in nuclear medicine practice. Specific topics include radionuclide production, radiation safety, dosage forms, operation of equipment, and quality control procedures along with a review of applicable laws and regulations.

Internship/Practicum/Clinical Training

Due to the nature of nuclear medicine technology practice as well as the specific requirements for ARRT and NMTCB certification and registration, all nuclear medicine technologists programs include substantial hands-on training with nuclear medicine equipment that must be completed in-person at program-affiliated clinical facilities in either the school’s or student’s local area. Clinical training requirements may be titled in program curriculums as practicums, internships, or simply as clinical practice experiences.

FAQs About Online Nuclear Medicine Programs

How much do online nuclear medicine technologist programs cost?

The total cost associated with online nuclear medicine programs varies substantially from program to program, due mainly to type of program (associate degree, bachelor’s degree, or certificate) and whether the school is public or private (private school programs tend to be more expensive). We’ve listed the current tuition prices for three nuclear medicine technologist programs online below to give you an idea of what you might pay.

Augusta University

BS in Nuclear Medicine Technology

Total Credits: 128

$295.47/credit

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

BS in Nuclear Medicine Technology – Fast Track

Total Credits: 60

$1,275/credit

PITT Community College

AAS in Nuclear Medicine Technology

Total Credits: 68

$76/credit

Can I complete my nuclear medicine technologist training 100% online?

While you’ll be completing some or all your didactic coursework online, you’ll still need to attend some classes in person as well due to the hands-on nature of the subject. You’ll also be required to complete in-person training, typically at clinical practice sites in and around the school’s campus or in your local area.

Is financial aid available for online nuclear medicine technologist training programs?

Several financial aid options are typically available to students in online nuclear medicine programs, the most common of which is the student loan. Student loans can come from both public and private sources and sometimes the schools themselves. The most common source of student loans is the federal government. Other popular funding sources for undergrad programs include scholarships and grants, work study, and employer tuition reimbursement programs. Find out more about funding your online nuclear medicine technologist education by visiting EduMed’s financial aid and radiology tech scholarships pages.

Accreditation for Online MRI Tech Training Programs

Accreditation assures that degree and certificate programs and the schools offering them meet standards of academic quality. When it comes to online MRI programs, there are two basic types of accreditation to consider: institutional and programmatic. Institutional accreditation concerns the soundness of postsecondary schools overall and is handled by several independent national and regional accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Institutional accreditation is an absolute must for any MRI tech schools, online or in-person.

Programmatic accreditation vets specific degree and certificate programs themselves. Programmatic accreditation of U.S. MRI programs is overseen by two accrediting organizations: the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) and the American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists (ARMRIT).

Accreditation information for online MRI programs can usually be found on a school’s website. You can also confirm institutional accreditation by visiting the websites of the various accrediting agencies. Current MRI tech programmatic accreditation status can also be found by checking ARMRIT’s approved program list and this JRCERT program search engine.

Employment and Salary Outlook for Nuclear Medicine Technologists

A career in nuclear medicine technology is solid in terms of earning potential and job security. The median annual salary for nuclear medicine technologists in the U.S. is $79,590, nearly twice that for all occupations combined, according to recent (2020) figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Additionally, the lowest 10% of nuclear medicine technologists make $57,830 while the highest 10% make $109,070. As for job outlook, nuclear medicine technologists are slightly ahead of those for all occupations combined with an estimated increase in demand of 5% through 2029.

Nuclear Medicine Technologist Licensing and Certifications

There are currently at least 30 states that license nuclear medicine technologists. Specific licensure requirements vary by state and may require professional certification and registration by either the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (AART) or Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB). Some states accept certification by either body. Regardless of license requirements, many employers prefer to hire nuclear medicine technologists that are AART or NMTCB certified. That’s why you should strongly consider only those nuclear medicine technologist online programs that prepare you for certification and registration eligibility.

For detailed information on licensing and registration requirements by state, visit the SNMMI’s Nuclear Medicine Technologist Requirements by Jurisdiction webpage. Also, confirm your state’s licensing requirements with the proper state agency before enrolling in any online nuclear medicine program.

Online Radiation Therapy Programs

Radiation therapists work as members of oncology teams operating equipment that delivers concentrated radiation treatments to remove or shrink a patient’s tumors. Becoming a certified radiation therapist requires completion of a JRCERT-accredited degree or certificate program, many of which feature some or all of their didactic courses online. All programs include hands-on training at clinical facilities in or around the school’s or student’s local area.

Online Sonography & Ultrasound Tech Schools

Online sonography and ultrasound tech programs prepare graduates for careers operating medical equipment that employs soundwaves to produce images used by doctors to diagnose and treat a variety of illnesses and diseases. Sonography and ultrasound technology bachelor’s and associate degrees and professional certificates combining online didactic coursework and in-person clinical training are available.

Online MRI Tech Programs

MRI technologists operate magnetic resonance imaging scanners that, like sonography and ultrasound equipment, produce images that help diagnose and treat a range of medical conditions. Certificate, bachelor’s degree, and associate degree programs are available that feature fully-online or partially online didactic courses along with hands-on training at clinical practice sites.

Online Resources for Nuclear Medicine Technologist Students and Professionals