Nuclear Medicine Technologist Schools

“Most [nuclear medicine technology] studies take a long time because we image processes instead of structures. I think of the difference between other modalities like CT, X-ray, or MRI as the difference between taking photos and a video. Since most physiological processes occur over minutes, hours, and sometimes days, our imaging has to follow the same timeline.”

Michelle Pelescak, MS, MBA, CNMT, Senior Certified Nuclear Medicine Technologist, St. Agnes Hospital (Baltimore, Maryland)

Becoming a nuclear medicine technologist (NMT) is a unique career for people with technical precision and supportive and pleasant bedside manners. This job leverages a savviness with cutting-edge medical equipment and medicine to treat patients undergoing radiology and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).

Using equipment such as computed tomography (CT) machines, radiation-sensitive cameras, and dosage meters, NMTs prepare medications and support patients as they go through procedures that require absolute stillness to get accurate imaging results. NMTs help patients of all ages get the care they need to be comfortable during their procedures to assist physicians in ruling out or confirming injuries and potentially life-threatening illnesses.

While an associate of applied science degree (AAS) can get a person started in the field, most nuclear medicine technologists continue on to get a bachelor of science (BS) degree. Certificate programs are also available for those with AAS and BS degrees in a related field.

For example, high-profile schools such as Johns Hopkins University offer an 18-month nuclear medicine technologist certificate program for AAS degree holders. Vanderbilt University offers a 52-week certificate for students who have three years of university radiologic coursework or a bachelor’s degree. Many on-campus and online programs offer AAS, BS, and certification options to those with related medical technology experience or credentials, which are detailed below.

Successful NMTs are good with people and have a drive to learn about the workings of the human body continually. In addition to critical thinking skills and grace under pressure, a nuclear medicine technologist must memorize key facts, diagnoses, and data, and synthesize and apply them to correctly administer radiologic tests and analyze results.

Read on to learn more about nuclear medicine technology careers and schools offering reputable and accredited on-campus, hybrid, and online programs.

Meet the Expert: Michelle Pelescak, MS, MBA, CNMT

Michelle Pelescak

Michelle Pelescak is an accomplished senior certified nuclear medicine technologist at St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. She holds an MBA and a master’s of science in biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University.

Pelescak has proven herself a skilled professional in healthcare and global affairs. She has a demonstrated history of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Her career trajectory, which includes roles in translation and language consultancy, showcases her adaptability and prowess in navigating the cross-disciplinary fields with medical technology. What is something most people don’t know about nuclear medicine technology?

Pelescak: Most [nuclear medicine technology] studies take a long time because we image processes instead of structures. I think of the difference between other modalities like CT, X-ray, or MRI as the difference between taking photos and a video. Since most physiological processes occur over minutes, hours, and sometimes days, our imaging has to follow the same timeline. This aspect surprises many patients. What advice would you give someone just starting as a nuclear medicine tech?

Pelescak: Acquiring technical knowledge and skills is challenging but not difficult. What will make the difference in your career is empathy and people skills. When you genuinely enjoy interpersonal interactions, you will enjoy your job and it will become self-rewarding and self-fulfilling.

Nuclear Medicine Technologist fast facts
Projected Jobs Created100
Projected Job Growth0 percent
Average Salary$95,080
Low Salary$69,300
High Salary$123,910
Entry-Level EDU Associate's Degree
Sourced from BLS 2023

Degree & Certification Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology

To begin a career as a nuclear medicine technologist, students must earn, at minimum, an associate of applied science (AAS) degree. Many NMTs may also go on to earn bachelor’s degrees to further their career prospects. CareerOneStop (2024), a resource sponsored by the US Department of Labor, shows that the vast majority of NMTs hold a bachelor’s degree (52 percent), associate’s degree (20 percent), or another type of degree or certification.

Following is a sampling of reputable universities that offer on-campus nuclear medicine technology programs.

On-Campus Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology

Johns Hopkins University – As a top-ranked school for biomedical fields by the U.S. News and World Report, Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland, is one of the finest institutions for studying nuclear medicine technology. The 18-month program leads to certification as an NMT and computed tomography (CT) specialist. Students of this program also have some of the most prestigious clinical experiences at hospitals like the Johns Hopkins Hospital and the University of Maryland Medical Center.

To apply to this program, students must have a minimum of an associate degree, be a US citizen or permanent resident, and submit a professional statement of 200 words expressing why they are interested in this career. Graduates from this program have a 100 percent exam pass rate on the ARRT and NMTCB and a 100 percent job placement rate. This program meets the requirements for professional licensure in the state of Maryland.

  • Location: Baltimore, MD
  • Duration: 18 months
  • Accreditation: Joint Review Committee on Education Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology (JRCNMT)

Oregon Institute of Technology – At the Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls, Oregon, students can pursue a bachelor of science (BS) degree in nuclear medicine technology. The required courses in this program far exceed the minimums set forth by the certification by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification. Courses include computed tomography, MRI lab in a CT/MRI simulator lab, and cross-sectional anatomy.

To give students working experience in their degree program, 11-month externships are available in several western and southern states. Graduates from this program are eligible to sit for the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (AART) board exams, and 91 percent are employed after graduation, while 6 percent continue their education.

  • Location: Klamath Falls, OR
  • Duration: Four years
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

University of Iowa – Located in Iowa City, Iowa, the University of Iowa has a stellar reputation for offering students the best technology and training in the medical field. This highly competitive program admits only eight students every year who can demonstrate coursework in chemistry, anatomy and physiology, intermediate-level algebra, and medical terminology.

This four-year NMT program is student-centered as it requires them to complete the majority of an associate’s degree before being accepted. This means that, upon graduation, graduates are potentially eligible for two fields of employment. This program boasts a 95 percent job and grad school placement rate.

  • Location: Iowa City, IA
  • Duration: Four years
  • Accreditation: Joint Review Committee on Education Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology (JRCNMT)

Vanderbilt University – Located in Nashville, Tennessee, Vanderbilt consistently ranks as a top university by the US News and World Report. This 12-month program is highly intensive and prepares students to be nationally certified and specialize in pediatric nuclear medicine and in vitro procedures.

Some students in this program are finishing their fourth year of the bachelor of science at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee, and Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Students who have completed three years of pre-radiologic technology work or have a bachelor’s degree in a related science field are also eligible to apply. Upon graduation from this program, students earn 1,350 hours of experience and are eligible to sit for national board certification exams.

  • Location: Nashville, TN
  • Duration: One year
  • Accreditation: Joint Review Committee on Education Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology (JRCNMT)

List of Nuclear Medicine Technologist Schools

Filter by state :
School City State Website GRADS ('21)
University of Oklahoma-Health Sciences Center Oklahoma City Oklahoma 49
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse La Crosse Wisconsin 24
Houston Community College Houston Texas 17
GateWay Community College Phoenix Arizona 17
Community College of Allegheny County Pittsburgh Pennsylvania 17
University of Cincinnati-Main Campus Cincinnati Ohio 15
Molloy College Rockville Centre New York 15
Oregon Institute of Technology Klamath Falls Oregon 15
Weber State University Ogden Utah 14
University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham Alabama 12
MCPHS University Boston Massachusetts 12
Hillsborough Community College Tampa Florida 12
Triton College River Grove Illinois 11
Broward College Fort Lauderdale Florida 11
Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science Rochester Minnesota 11
Tarrant County College District Fort Worth Texas 10
Robert Morris University Moon Township Pennsylvania 10
Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences Lancaster Pennsylvania 10
Saint Louis University Saint Louis Missouri 9
The University of Findlay Findlay Ohio 9
Old Dominion University Norfolk Virginia 9
Midlands Technical College West Columbia South Carolina 9
Miami Dade College Miami Florida 9
Amarillo College Amarillo Texas 9
Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute Hudson North Carolina 8
Forsyth Technical Community College Winston-Salem North Carolina 8
University of Iowa Iowa City Iowa 8
Loma Linda University Loma Linda California 7
Manhattan College Riverdale New York 7
Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis Indianapolis Indiana 7
Delgado Community College New Orleans Louisiana 7
AdventHealth University Orlando Florida 7
Rowan College of South Jersey Gloucester Campus Sewell New Jersey 7
Baptist Health College Little Rock Little Rock Arkansas 6
Bellevue College Bellevue Washington 6
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College Cincinnati Ohio 6
University of Puerto Rico-Medical Sciences San Juan Puerto Rico 6
University of the Incarnate Word San Antonio Texas 6
Rhode Island College Providence Rhode Island 6
Delaware Technical Community College-Terry Dover Delaware 6
Galveston College Galveston Texas 6
Gateway Community College New Haven Connecticut 6
Baptist Health Sciences University Memphis Tennessee 5
University of Mississippi University Mississippi 5
Oakland University Rochester Hills Michigan 5
Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale Florida 5
University at Buffalo Buffalo New York 5
York College of Pennsylvania York Pennsylvania 4
Prince George's Community College Largo Maryland 4
Cuyahoga Community College District Cleveland Ohio 4
Salem State University Salem Massachusetts 3
University of Kansas Lawrence Kansas 3
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Edinboro Pennsylvania 3
University of Cincinnati-Blue Ash College Blue Ash Ohio 2
Cedar Crest College Allentown Pennsylvania 2
College of DuPage Glen Ellyn Illinois 2
Saint Cloud State University Saint Cloud Minnesota 2
Columbia State Community College Columbia Tennessee 2
Benedictine University Lisle Illinois 1
University of Central Arkansas Conway Arkansas 1
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota Winona Minnesota 1
West Virginia University Hospital Departments of Rad Tech and Nutrition Morgantown West Virginia 1
'20-'21 School Data from IPEDS (Sourced in September, 2023)

Hybrid & Online Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology

While there are no entry-level nuclear technologist programs that can be completed entirely online due to the essentially clinical nature of the discipline, there are some options available for students seeking the flexibility and convenience of an online program. Following is a selection of these online programs:

Lakeshore Technical College—Located in Cleveland, Wisconsin, Lakeshore Technical College (LTC) offers a 62-credit online associate’s degree in nuclear technology. This program is not specific to nuclear medicine but rather provides an overview of working with nuclear materials in many settings.

This online program could be a stepping stone to a nuclear medicine program for those who want to pursue that career. Didactic courses can be completed online via video conferencing and laboratory courses can be completed remotely. New courses begin each fall semester.

  • Location: Cleveland, WI
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Loma Linda University – Located in Loma Linda, California, Loma Linda University (LLU) offers a hybrid bachelor of science in nuclear medicine technology. The program is expected to take students between 24 and 27 months to complete. Of the 126 credits required to complete the program, 26 credits are offered as online classes, while the rest require on-campus attendance. Courses include writing for healthcare professionals, principles of nuclear medicine, and radiopharmacy.

The LLU program has been accredited by the JRCNMT and has also been approved by the California Department of Public Health, Radiologic Health Branch, which requires a minimum of 1,000 clinical hours in nuclear medicine. By comparison, this program includes 1,550 clinical hours and more than 250 clinical hours in CT procedures and patient care.

  • Location: Loma Linda, CA
  • Duration: 24 to 27 months
  • Accreditation: Joint Review Committee on Education Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology (JRCNMT)

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences – Located in Boston, the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) offers an accelerated bachelor of science in nuclear medicine technology. Courses in the first two years of this three-year program are offered in-person, while students complete coursework in the final year entirely online. Courses include the biology of organisms, anatomy and physiology, and nuclear cardiology.

To apply, students must submit a common application as well as an internal application to MCPHS, official transcripts with algebra, biology, chemistry, English, and social sciences, letters of recommendation, an essay, and SAT or ACT scores.

  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Duration: Three years
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)

Pitt Community College – Located in Winterville, North Carolina, Pitt Community College (PCC) offers an online associate of applied science (AAS) degree in nuclear medicine technology. This 68-credit program prepares graduates for entry-level positions in nuclear medicine technology. Skills covered include using radioactive materials and the operation of imaging and counting instrumentation. Except for the clinical practice rotations, all courses are offered online.

Courses include procedures for nuclear medicine, radiology, and algebra/trigonometry. Graduates from this program are eligible to apply for certification exams and registration with the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

  • Location: Winterville, NC
  • Duration: Three years
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Because there is a heavy emphasis on clinical training in nuclear medicine technology, it is impossible to offer an entirely online program. However, due to student demand and the Covid-19 pandemic, an increasing number of programs offer flexibility in terms of classroom work that can be completed via a combination of in-person and distance learning (also known as hybrid learning).

Check program websites and course catalogs to see which schools qualify.


School City State Website GRADS ('21)
Pitt Community College Winterville North Carolina 37
Chattanooga State Community College Chattanooga Tennessee 20
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Little Rock Arkansas 14
Ferris State University Big Rapids Michigan 13
MCPHS University Boston Massachusetts 12
Augusta University Augusta Georgia 10
Santa Fe College Gainesville Florida 7
'20-'21 School Data from IPEDS (Sourced in September, 2023)

Core & Elective Courses in Nuclear Medicine Technology

While course requirements may vary from school to school, most nuclear medicine technology (NMT) degree programs have the same basic structure. Some programs, such as the one at the Mayo Clinic, require students to have completed a bachelor of science degree prior to enrolling, which will mean completing basic courses such as chemistry as a prerequisite.

For others, core courses such as biology, chemistry, and a math component will be included in the program. In a BS program, students may also be able to choose elective courses in a broad range of subjects in addition to the nuclear medicine requirements.

Here is an overview of the typical course structure of an accredited NMT program:

  • Positron Emission Tomography – This course covers all elements of PET, including tomography composition, scintillation crystallization, and time-of-flight imaging. Students are also taught how to use PET imaging agents and data analytics.
  • Nuclear chemistry and physics – Students learn why certain nuclides are radioactive, and discuss radiation interactions and decay models. They also discover the crucial differences between nuclear and physiological imaging.
  • Radiopharmacy – In this course, students identify the most common nuclear medicine pharmaceuticals and how they interact with patients, in addition to how to prepare and dose these medicines.
  • Radiation biology – Students explore how to identify safe and unsafe levels of radiation, as well as symptoms of radiation exposure. Courses may also discuss how cells respond to radiation and how to protect patients from overexposure.
  • Clinical procedures – In this class, students get a strong background in the various purposes and processes of radiation imaging. Clinical procedures covered generally include hematology, immunology, blood volume determination, bone densitometry, and nuclear neurology.
  • Clinical Internship/Practicum – Students work under a board-certified radiologist to complete the clinical requirement: 1,300 supervised hours. Twenty competencies are required, including cystogram, ductogram, tube injections, and barium enema. It is during this portion of the degree program that students can choose elective courses to specialize in health information management or pre-medical studies.

Accreditation of Nuclear Medicine Technology Programs

All nuclear medicine degree programs are generally approved by the Joint Review Committee on Educational Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology (JRCNMT). The JRCNMT is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as the only organization qualified to evaluate nuclear medicine programs.

The JRCNMT provides a thorough evaluation of each college that it endorses, including several onsite visits, a curriculum review, and educator interviews. Representatives from the major radiologic fields—American College of Radiology (ACR), the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT), the Association of Educators in Imaging and Radiologic Sciences (AEIRS), Association of Medical Imaging Management (AHRA), and the American Association of Medical Dosimetrists (AAMD)—also may independently evaluate the college’s program to ensure it meets national standards.

Career Outlook

Although this is a high-paying job in a growing field, the BLS shows the number of positions created between 2022 and 2032 is only around 100 (BLS 2023). The BLS projects that growth in this occupation will continue to increase by 0 percent, which is as fast as the national average. As the Baby Boomer population ages over the next decade and more Americans get access to health insurance through the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA), there will likely be an increase in these types of diagnostic services.

While job creation will be limited, pay for these jobs will likely be competitive. The BLS (May 2023) found the following salary information about the 16,560 nuclear medicine technologists nationwide:

  • Average salary: $95,080
  • 10th percentile: $69,300
  • 25th percentile: $80,050
  • 50th percentile (median): $92,500
  • 75th percentile: $104,540
  • 90th percentile: $123,910

Nuclear medicine technologists are employed throughout the US with the majority of jobs clustering in states with larger populations.

As with other medical professions, education plays a major role in how easy it is to land one of these hard-to-find nuclear medicine technology jobs. Students who only have an associate degree may find it difficult to compete with those who have gone on to gain additional certification. Specialty certifications like positron emission technology (PET) and nuclear cardiology (NCT) can increase the likelihood of employment and higher salary (BLS 2023).

Career Facts Nuclear Medicine Technologist
Related CareersDiagnostic Medical Sonographer, MRI Technologist, Neurodiagnostic Technologist, Radiation Therapist, Radiologic Technologist, Surgical Technologist
Common Job TitlesNuclear Medicine Technologist (NMT)
Technology & EquipmentRadiation Detectors, Liquid Scintillation Counters, CT or CAT Calibration Devices, Medical Radiation Dosimeters
Sourced from BLS 2024

Licensing & Certification of Nuclear Medicine Technologists

There are two certification bodies for nuclear medicine technologists: the American Registry of Radiologic Technicians (ARRT) and the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB).

To qualify to take ARRT and NMTCB exams, graduates must first complete a nuclear medicine degree or appropriate coursework at a school endorsed by the ARRT, the NMTCB, or the Joint Review Committee on Educational Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology (JRCNMT), or the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (CAMRT). Job applicants may be required to show their education level in core subjects such as clinical procedures, nuclear instrumentation, and radiation biology.

In addition to professional certification, some states require additional state-level exams to meet certification standards. For example, the California Department of Public Health Radiologic Health Branch allows those applicants who have graduated from JRCNMT-accredited programs and passed the ARRT radiography examination or are currently certified ARRT registrants to earn a fluoroscopy permit without taking the state-level exam.

Finally, being fully licensed as an NMT without significant hours of experience is impossible. For example, candidates applying for the MRI certification with ARRT must show a minimum of 125 MRI repetitions that meet specific safety requirements. Many colleges provide the required hours of clinical experience that will qualify graduates to be certified. Graduates must also produce a letter from their university program director (or supervising radiologist) verifying their experiences with core competencies such as in vitro tests, imaging studies, radioactive administration, and blood withdrawal.

The JRCNMT keeps an updated list of accredited programs in nuclear medicine technology for prospective students to research and for nuclear medicine patients and employers to verify credentials.

For more information about licensing and certification, please see our Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Guide.

Rachel Drummond, MEd
Rachel Drummond, MEd Writer

Rachel Drummond has contributed insightful articles to since 2019, where she offers valuable advice and guidance for those pursuing careers in the healthcare field, combining her passion for education with her understanding of the critical role that healthcare professionals play in promoting physical and mental well-being.

Rachel is a writer, educator, and coach from Oregon. She has a master’s degree in education (MEd) and has over 15 years of experience teaching English, public speaking, and mindfulness to international audiences in the United States, Japan, and Spain. She writes about the mind-body benefits of contemplative movement practices like yoga on her blog, inviting people to prioritize their unique version of well-being and empowering everyone to live healthier and more balanced lives.