Employment of nuclear medicine technologists is expected to grow by 19 percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations. However, because it is a small occupation, the growth will result in only about 4,100 new jobs over the 10-year period.
Nuclear medicine technologists work mostly with adult patients, although procedures may be performed on children. A larger aging population should lead to the need to diagnose and treat medical conditions that require imaging, such as heart disease. Nuclear medicine technologists will be needed to administer radioactive drugs and maintain the imaging equipment required for diagnosis.
Overall employment growth is expected to be driven by rapidly growing industries, including physicians' offices and diagnostic laboratories, which employed about 31 percent of nuclear medicine technologists in 2010.
Nuclear medicine technologists can improve their job prospects by getting a specialty certification. A technologist can earn a certification in positron emission tomography (PET), nuclear cardiology (NCT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computed tomography (CT). The Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB) offers NCT and PET certification exams. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) offers the CT and MRI certification exams.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition