1. Lesson 8
Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians
MEDICAL TECHNOLOGISTS, GENERAL INFORMATION
The practice of modern medicine would be impossible without the tests performed in the clinical
laboratory. A medical team of pathologists, specialists, technologists, and technicians works
together to determine the presence, extent, or absence of disease and to provide data needed to
evaluate the effectiveness of treatment.
Physicians order laboratory work for a wide variety of reasons:
Test results may be used to establish values against which future measurements can be compared;
To monitor treatment, as with tests for drug levels in the blood that can indicate whether a patient
is adhering to a prescribed drug regimen;
To reassure patients that a disease is absent or under control; or
To assess the status of a patient's health, as with cholesterol measurements.
Although physicians depend on laboratory results, they do not ordinarily perform the tests
themselves. That is the job of clinical laboratory personnel.
Clinical laboratory testing plays a crucial role in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of
disease. Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians, also known as medical technologists
and technicians, perform most of these tests.
Clinical laboratory personnel examine and analyze body fluids, tissues, and cells. They look for
bacteria, parasites, or other microorganism; analyze the chemical content of fluids; match blood
for transfusions, and test for drug levels in the blood to show how a patient is responding to
treatment. They prepare specimens for examination, count cells, and look for abnormal cells.
They use automated equipment and instruments that perform a number of tests simultaneously, as
well as microscopes, cell counters, and other kinds of sophisticated laboratory equipment to
perform tests. Then they analyze the results and relay them to physicians.
The complexity of tests performed, the level of judgment needed, and the amount of
responsibility workers assume depend largely on the amount of education and experience they
Medical technologists generally have a bachelor's degree in medical technology or in one of the
life sciences, or have a combination of formal training and work experience. They perform
complex chemical, biological, hematological, immunologic, microscopic, and bacteriological
tests. Technologists microscopically examine blood, tissue, and other body substances; make
cultures of body fluid or tissue samples to determine the presence of bacteria, fungi, parasites, or
2. other microorganism; analyze samples for chemical content or reaction; and determine blood
glucose or cholesterol levels. They type and cross-match blood samples for transfusions.
They may evaluate the effects a patient's condition has on test results, develop and modify
procedures, and establish and monitor programs to insure the accuracy of tests. Some medical
technologists supervise medical laboratory technicians.
Technologists in small laboratories perform many types of tests, while those in specialty
laboratories or large laboratories generally specialize. Technologists who prepare specimens and
analyze the chemical and hormonal contents of body fluids are clinical chemistry technologists.
Those who examine and identify bacteria and other microorganism are known as microbiology
technologist. Blood bank technologists collect, type, and prepare blood and its components for
transfusions; immunology technologists examine elements and responses of the human immune
system to foreign bodies. Cytotechnologists, who have specialized training, prepare slides of
body cells and microscopically examine these cells for abnormalities which may signal the
beginning of a cancerous growth.
Medical laboratory technicians generally have an associate degree from a community or junior
college, or a diploma or certificate from a vocational or technical school. They perform routine
tests and laboratory procedures. Technicians may prepare specimens and operate automatic
analyzers or they may perform manual tests following detailed instructions. Like technologists,
they may work in several areas of the clinical laboratory or specialize in just one. Histology
technicians cut and stain tissue specimens for microscopic examination by pathologists and
phlebotomists draw and test blood. They usually work under the supervision of medical
technologists or laboratory managers.
Hours and other working conditions vary according to the size and type of employment setting.
In large hospitals or in independent laboratories that operate continuously, personnel usually
work the day, evening, or night shift, and may work weekends and holidays. Laboratory
personnel in small facilities may work on rotating shifts rather than on a regular shift. In some
facilities, laboratory personnel are on call (available in case of an emergency) several nights a
week or on weekends.
Clinical laboratory personnel are trained to work with infectious specimens. With proper
methods of infection control and sterilization are followed, few hazards exist.
Laboratories generally are well lighted and clean; however, specimens, solutions, and reagents
used in the laboratory sometimes produce odors. Laboratory workers may spend a great deal of
time on their feet.
Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians hold about 268,000 jobs. More than one-half
work in hospitals. Most others work in medical laboratories and offices and clinics of physicians.
Some work in blood banks, research and testing laboratories, and in the Federal government in
such agencies as the Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals and the U.S. Public Health Service.
TRAINING, OTHER QUALIFICATIONS, AND ADVANCEMENT
The usual requirement for an entry-level position as a medical technologist is a bachelor's degree
with a major in medical technology or in one of the life sciences. Universities and hospitals offer
3. medical technology programs. It is possible to qualify through a combination of on-the-job and
specialized training. Bachelors' degree programs in medical technology include courses in
chemistry, biological sciences, microbiology, and mathematics, and specialized courses devoted
to knowledge and skills used in the clinical laboratory. Many programs offer or require courses
in management, business, and computer applications.
Masters' degrees in medical technology and related clinical laboratory sciences provide training
for specialized areas of laboratory work or teaching, administration, or research. Two
universities offer doctorates in clinical laboratory technology.
Medical laboratory technician training is offered in community and junior colleges, hospitals,
vocational and technical schools, and in the Armed Forces. A few technicians learn on-the-job.
Community and junior college programs last two years and lead to an associate degree. Others
are shorter and lead to a certificate in medical laboratory technology.
Nationally recognized accrediting agencies in the allied health field include the American
Medical Association's Committee on Allied Health Education and Accreditation (CAHEA), and
the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). CAHEA accredits more than 800
programs that provide education for medical technologists, cytotechnologists, histologic
technicians, specialists in blood bank technology, and medical laboratory technicians. ABHES
accredit training programs for medical laboratory technicians.
Licensor and certification are methods of assuring the skill and competence of workers. Licensor
refers to the process by which a government agency authorizes individuals to engage in a given
occupation and use a particular job title. Some States require laboratory personnel to be licensed
or registered. Information on licensor is available from State departments of health, boards of
occupation licensing, or occupational information coordinating committees.
Certification is a voluntary process by which a non-governmental organization such as a
professional society or certifying agency grants recognition to an individual whose professional
competence meets prescribed standards. Widely accepted by employers in the health industry,
certification is a prerequisite for most jobs and often is necessary for advancement. Agencies that
certify medical laboratory technologists and technicians include the Board of Registry of the
American Society of Clinical Pathologists, the American Medical Technologists, the National
Certification Agency for Medical Laboratory Personnel, and the Credentialing Commission of the
International Society for Clinical Laboratory Technology. These agencies have different
requirements for certification and different organizational sponsors.
Clinical laboratory personnel need analytical judgment and the ability to work under pressure.
Close attention to detail is essential because small differences or change in test substances or
numerical readouts can be crucial for patient care. Manual dexterity and normal color vision are
highly desirable. With the widespread use of automated laboratory equipment, computer skills
are important. In addition, technologists are expected to be good at problem solving and to have
strong interpersonal and communication skills.
Technologists may advance to supervisory positions in laboratory work or become chief medical
technologists or laboratory managers in hospitals. Graduate education in medical technology,
one of the biological sciences, chemistry, management, or educations usually speeds
advancement. A doctorate is needed to become a laboratory director. Technicians may become
technologists through additional education and experience.
4. As in most occupations, replacement needs will be the main source of job openings. Employment
of clinical laboratory workers is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations
through the year 2010 creating additional job openings. The rapidly growing older population
will spur demand, since older people generally have more medical problems. Technological
changes will have two opposite effects on employment. New, more powerful diagnostic tests will
encourage more testing and spur employment. However, advances in laboratory automation and
simpler tests, which make it possible for each worker to perform more tests, should slow growth.
Research and development efforts are targeted at simplifying routine testing procedures so that
non-laboratory personnel--physicians and patients in particular--can perform tests now done in
laboratories. Also, robots may prepare specimens, a job now done by technologists and
Fastest growth is expected in independent medical laboratories, as hospitals continue to send
them a greater share of their testing. Rapid growth is expected in offices and clinics of
physicians. Slower growth is expected in hospitals.
Median annual earnings of clinical laboratory technologists and technicians are about $33,000.
The middle 50 percent earn between $24,970 and $39,810. The lowest 10 percent earn less than
$19,380 and the highest 10 percent earn more than $48,290 a year. Median annual earnings in
the industries employing the largest numbers of medical and clinical laboratory technologists are
Offices and clinics of medical doctors $40,300
Federal government 39,600
Medical and dental laboratories 35,600
Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of medical and clinical
laboratory technicians are about:
Offices and clinics of medical doctors 25,500
Medical and dental laboratories 24,800
Health and allied services not elsewhere classified 22,400
In what ways do Clinical Laboratory Technicians play a role in medicine?
Generally, what degree do Medical Technologists hold?
What degree to Medical Laboratory Technicians have?
How many jobs do Clinical Laboratory Technicians hold in the United States?
5. Under what agency is the accrediting of Medical Technologists?
What are the special qualities needed to become a Medical Laboratory Technician?
What will be the main source of future Medical Laboratory Technician openings?
Where do most Medical Technologists find jobs?
What are the median annual earnings of Medical Laboratory Technicians?
6. OTHER RELATED OCCUPATIONS
Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians analyze body fluids, tissue, and other substances
using a variety of tests. Similar or related procedures are performed by analytical, water
purification, and other chemists; science technicians; crime laboratory analysts; food testers; and
veterinary laboratory technicians.
Career and certification information is available from:
American Society of Clinical Pathologists, Board of Registry, P.O. Box 12277, Chicago, IL
American Medical Technologists, 710 Higgins Rd., Park Ridge, IL 60068
American Society of Cytopathology, 400 W. 9th
St., Suite 201, Wilmington, DE 19801
International Society for Clinical Laboratory Technology, 917 Locust St., Suite 1100, St. Louis,
American Association of Blood Banks, 8101 Glenbrook Rd., Bethesda, MD 20814-2749
For a list of accredited and approved educational programs for clinical laboratory personnel, write
to: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences, 8410 W. Brn Mawr Ave.,
Suite 670, Chicago, IL 60631
For a list of training programs for medical and clinical laboratory technicians accredited by the
Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools, write to: Accrediting Bureau of Health
Education Schools, 803 West Broad St., Suite 730, Falls Church, VA 22046
Perhaps the most familiar use of the x-ray is the diagnosis of broken bones. However, medical
uses of radiation go far beyond that. Radiation is used not only to produce images of the interior
of the body, but to treat cancer as well. At the same time, the use of imaging techniques that do
not involve x-rays such as ultrasound and magnetic resonance scans is growing rapidly. The term
diagnostic imaging embraces these procedures as well as the familiar x-ray.
Radiographers produce x-ray diagnostic pictures of parts of the human body for use in diagnosing
medical problems. They prepare patients for radiological examinations by explaining the
procedure, removing articles such as jewelry, through which x-rays cannot pass, and positioning
patients so that the correct parts of the body can be radiographed. To prevent unnecessary
radiation exposure, technologists surround the exposed area with radiation protection devices
such as lead shields, or limit the size of the x-ray beam. Radiographers position radiographic
7. equipment at the correct angle and height over the appropriate area of a patient's body. Using
instruments similar to a measuring tape, technologists may measure the thickness of the section to
be radiographed and set controls on the machine to produce radiographs of the appropriate
density, detail, and contrast. They place the x-ray film under the part of the patient's body to be
examined and make the exposure. They then remove the film and develop it.
Experienced radiographers may perform more complex imaging tests. For fluoroscopy,
radiographers prepare a solution of contrast medium for the patient to drink, allowing the
radiologist, a physician who interprets x-rays, to see soft tissues in the body. Some radiographers
operate computed tomography scanners to produce cross-sectional views of patients and may be
called CT technologists. Others operate machines using giant magnets and radio waves rather
than radiation to create an image and may be called magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Radiation therapy technologists, also known as radiation therapists, prepare cancer patients for
treatment and administer prescribed doses of ionizing radiation to specific body parts. They
operate many kinds of equipment, including high-energy linear accelerators with electron
capabilities. They position patients under the equipment with absolute accuracy in order to
expose affected body parts to treatment while protecting the rest of the body from radiation.
They check the patient's reactions for radiation side effects such as nausea, hair loss, and skin
irritation. They give instructions and explanations to patients who are likely to be very ill and
may be dying. Radiation therapists, in contrast to other radiological technologists, are likely to
see the same patient a number of times during the course of treatment.
Sonographers, also known as ultrasound technologists, use high-frequency sound waves and send
them into areas of the patient's body to view internal structures. The equipment can collect
reflected echoes to form the images of these structures. The image is viewed on a screen and may
be recorded on a printout strip or photographed for interpretation and diagnosis by physicians.
Sonographers explain the procedure, record additional medical history, and then position the
patient for testing. Viewing the screen as the scan takes place, sonographers look for subtle
differences between healthy and pathological areas, and judge if the images are satisfactory for
diagnostic purposes. Sonographers may specialize in neurosonography (the brain), vascular
(blood flows), echocardiography (the heart), abdominal (the liver, kidneys, spleen, and pancreas),
obstetrics/gynecology (the female reproductive system and fetus), and ophthalmology (the eye).
Radiological technologists follow precisely physicians' instructions and regulations concerning
use of radiation to insure that they, patients and co-workers, are protected from overexposure. In
addition to preparing patients and operating equipment, radiological technologists keep patient
records and adjust and maintain equipment. They may prepare work schedules, evaluate
equipment purchases, or manage a radiology department.
Most full-time radiological technologists work about 40 hours a week; they may have evening
and weekend or on-call hours. Technologists are on their feet for long periods and may lift or
turn disabled patients. They work at radiological machines but may do some procedures at
patients' bedsides. Some radiological technologists travel to patients in large vans equipped with
sophisticated diagnostic equipment. Radiation therapists are prone to emotional burnout since
they regularly treat extremely ill and dying patients on a daily basis. Although potential radiation
hazards exist in this occupation, they have been minimized by the use of lead aprons, gloves, and
other shielding devices, as well as by instruments that measure radiation exposure. Technologists
8. wear badges that measure radiation levels in the radiation area, and detailed records are kept on
their cumulative lifetime dose.
Radiological technologists hold about 170,000 jobs. Most technologists are radiographers. Some
are sonographers and radiation therapists. About one in five radiological technologists work part-
time. About 75 percent work in the hospital setting. The rest are in physicians' offices and
clinics, including diagnostic imaging centers.
TRAINING, OTHER QUALIFICATIONS, AND ADVANCEMENT
Preparation for this profession is offered in hospitals, colleges and universities, vocational-
technical institutes, and the Armed Forces. Hospitals, which employ most radiological
technologists, prefer to hire those with formal training. Formal training is offered in radiography,
radiation therapy, and diagnostic medical sonography (ultrasound). Programs range in length
from one to four years and lead to a certificate, associate degree, or bachelor's degree. Two-year
programs are most prevalent.
Some one-year certificate programs are for individuals from other health occupations such as
medical technologists and registered nurses who want to change fields or experienced
radiographers who want to specialize in radiation therapy technology or sonography. A
bachelor's or master's degree in one of the radiological technologies is desirable for supervisory,
administrative, or teaching positions.
The Committee on Allied Health Education and Accreditation (CAHEA) accredits most formal
training programs for this field. CAHEA accredited 687 radiography programs, 120 radiation
therapy programs, and 52 diagnostic medical sonography programs in 1998.
Radiography programs require, at a minimum, a high school diploma or the equivalent. High
school courses in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology are helpful. The programs
provide both classroom and clinical instruction in anatomy and physiology, patient care
procedures, radiation physics, radiation protection, principles of imaging, medical terminology,
positioning of patients, medical ethics, radiobiology, and pathology.
For training programs in radiation therapy and diagnostic medical sonography, applicants with a
background in science, or experience in one of the health professions, generally are preferred.
Some programs consider applicants with liberal arts backgrounds, however, as well as high
school graduates with courses in math and science.
Radiographers and radiation therapists are covered by provisions of the Consumer-Patient
Radiation Health and Safety Act of 1981, which aims to protect the public from the hazards of
unnecessary exposure to medical and dental radiation by ensuring operators of radiological
equipment, are properly trained. The Act requires the Federal government to set standards that
the States, in turn, may use for accrediting training programs and certifying individuals who
engage in medical or dental radiography.
About 26 States require radiographers to be licensed, and 23 require radiation therapists to be
licensed. Puerto Rico requires a license for the practice of either specialty. One State, Utah,
licenses diagnostic medical sonographers.
9. Voluntary registration is offered by the American Registry of Radiological Technologists
(ARRT) in both radiography and radiation therapy. The American Registry of Diagnostic
Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) certifies the competence of sonographers. To become
registered, technologists must be graduates of a CAHEA-accredited program or meet other
prerequisites and have passed an examination. Many employers prefer to hire registered
With experience and additional training, staff technologists may become specialists, performing
CT scanning, ultrasound, angiography, and magnetic resonance imaging. Experienced
technologists may be promoted to supervisor, chief radiological technologist, and, ultimately,
department administrator or director. Depending on the institution, courses or a master's degree
in business or health administration may be necessary for the director's position. Some
technologists progress by becoming instructors or directors in radiological technology programs;
others take jobs as sales representatives or instructors with equipment manufacturers.
With additional education available at major cancer centers, radiation therapy technologists can
specialize as medical radiation dosimetrists. Dosimetrists work with health physicists and
oncologists, physicians who specialize in the study and treatment of tumors, to develop treatment
Employment for radiological technologists is expected to grow much faster than the average for
all occupations through 2010, as the health care industries grow, and because of the vast clinical
potential of diagnostic imaging and therapeutic technology. Current as well as new uses of
imaging equipment are virtually certain to sharply increase demand for radiological technologists.
Technology will continue to evolve. New generations of diagnostic imaging equipment are
expected to give even better information to physicians and be used more widely. Since
ultrasound is non-invasive, it is less risky and uncomfortable for the patient then exploratory
Radiation therapy will continue to be used alone or in combination with surgery or chemotherapy,
to treat cancer. More treatment of cancer is anticipated due to the aging of the population,
educational efforts aimed at early detection, and improved ability to detect malignancies through
radiological procedures such as mammography.
Although physicians are enthusiastic about the clinical benefits of new technologies, the extent to
which they are adopted depends largely on cost and reimbursement considerations. Some
promising new technologies may not come into widespread use because they are too expensive
and third-party payers may not be willing to pay for their use. But on the whole, it appears that
radiological procedures will be used more widely.
Hospitals will remain the principal employers of radiological technologists. However,
employment is expected to grow most rapidly in offices and clinics of physicians, including
diagnostic imaging centers. Health facilities such as these are expected to grow very rapidly
through 2010 due to the strong shift toward outpatient care, encouraged by third-party payers and
made possible by technological advances that permit more procedures to be performed outside
the hospital. Some jobs will come from the need to replace technologists who leave the
The median annual earnings for radiological technologists who work year-round and full-time are
about $28,000. The middle 50 percent earn between $22,932 and $33,748 a week; 10 percent
earn less than $19,708 a week; and 10 percent earn more than $40,456.
According to a University of Texas Medical Branch national survey of hospitals and medical
centers, the median annual salary for radiation technologists, based on a 40-hour week and
excluding shift or area differentials, is $26,615. The average minimum salary is $21,250 and the
average maximum is $32,553. For radiation therapy technologists the median is $34,278 and for
ultrasound technologists, $32,219.
What are some of the uses for radiation technology?
What is the job description for most Radiological Technologists?
What do Radiation Therapy Technicians do?
How many hours a week do most Radiological Technologists work?
In what type of institution are most Radiological Technologists trained?
What are the program requirements for entrance into a professional Radiological Technology
Under what type of Consumer Protection Act are Radiological Technicians covered?
11. What additional training can be received by those who have Radiological Technology
How are job opportunities for Radiological Technicians expected to grow?
In what types of facilities do most Radiological Technicians work?
What are the median annual earnings for Radiological Technicians who work full-time?
12. RELATED OCCUPATIONS
Radiological technologists operate sophisticated equipment to help physicians, dentists, and other
health practitioners diagnose and treat patients. Workers in related occupations include nuclear
medicine technologists, cardiovascular technologists and technicians, perfusionists, respiratory
therapists, clinical laboratory technologists, and electroencephalographic technologists.
EEG and EKG Technologists and Technicians
Electroencephalography is a procedure that measures the electrical activity of the brain. An
instrument called the electroencephalograph records this activity and produces a written tracing
of the brain's electrical impulses. This record of brain waves, an electroencephalogram (EEG),
can be taken while patients are at rest or asleep, while they are subjected to stimuli such as loud
sounds and blinking lights, or during periods of exaggerated breathing.
The resting EEG is a basic diagnostic tool in the area of neurology. Neurologists use
electroencephalograms to help diagnose the extent of injury for patients suspected of having brain
tumors, strokes, metabolic thoracic disorders, or epilepsy; to measure the effects of infectious
disease on the brain; and to determine whether individuals with mental or behavioral problems
have an organic impairment such as Alzheimer's disease. Surgeons use them to monitor the
patient's condition during major surgery. EEGs are standard in intensive care units as well, since
absence of electrical activity in the brain is a basis for determining that a patient is clinically
dead, or is used to assess the prospects for recovery of patients in a coma.
More sophisticated equipment is used for special EEG procedures, including ambulatory
monitoring, evoked potential studies, sleep studies, and brain wave mapping. Tests such as these
improve the physician's ability to detect the underlying reasons for a wide variety of troubling
conditions. Ambulatory monitor is used to check the activity to the brain over a 2-hour period.
Sometimes, in case where patients experience dizzy spells or sudden blackouts, brain waves may
appear perfectly normal until the onset of symptoms. By monitoring such patients for an
extended period of time, there is a better chance of detecting abnormal brain wave patterns.
Evoked potential studies are used to aid in the evaluation of the visual, auditory, and other
sensory systems of the body, and in the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Sleep studies have
proven valuable in the treatment of sleep disorders, impotence, and, in some cases, hypertension.
Brain waves involve the use of computer-generated images of brain function; it is simply an
enhancement of the EEG, in which a color-coded picture or map shows the intensity of brain
waves in different areas of the brain.
The people who operate electroencephalographs are called EEG technologists or technicians.
The titles are used interchangeably and do not necessarily denote different skill levels. With the
13. introduction of additional tests and machines that measure the electrical activity of the brain, a
new job title is coming into use; neuralradiologic technologists. It may be years, however, before
another term replaces AEEG technologists in standard usage.
Not only are job titles changing with the development of new ways of monitoring and evaluating
the functioning of the nervous system, but job duties and skill levels are changing as well.
Proficiency in operating basic EEG equipment is becoming little more than the entry-level skill
for jobs in this field; additional training is necessary for personnel who perform special EEG
Before EEG technologists produce electroencephalograms, they take a short medical history and
help the patient relax. Then they apply electrodes to designated spots on the patient's head and
body and make sure that the instruments are working correctly. The technologist chooses the
most appropriate combination of instrument controls and electrodes to produce the kind of record
needed. Technologists must recognize and correct any artifacts that appear (an artifact is an
electrical or mechanical wave that comes from somewhere other than the brain, such as eye
movement or interference from electrical sources). Mechanical problems with the
electroencephalograph are reported to the supervisor, so the machine can be repaired promptly.
The first step in conducting a special procedure EEG is essentially the same as that for a resting
EEG--attaching electrodes to the patient's body. However, electrodes for a resting EEG are
secured at various places on the scalp, whereas a special procedures EEG may require that
electrodes be secured on the chest, arm, leg, or spinal column as well, to record activity from both
the central and peripheral nervous systems.
In the procedure known as ambulatory monitoring, activity of the heart as well as the brain may
be monitored while the patient carries out normal activities over a 2-hour period. Once the
monitoring time has elapsed, the technologist removes the small recorder fastened to the patient's
side and feeds the recorded information into a special machine that transforms the digital
recordings into hard copy (paper) EEG tapes. The technologist reviews the tapes, a process that
can take several hours, selecting sections for the physician to examine. In order to determine
which sections merit attention from the physician, the technologist must be able to distinguish
between normal and abnormal brain wave patterns. Whereas ambulatory EEGs measure general
brain wave activity, evoked potential testing uses a special machine to measure sensory and
physical response to specific stimuli. After the electrodes have been attached properly, the
technologist sets the machine for the type and intensity of the stimulus. If there is no reaction,
progressively stronger stimuli are applied until the patient reacts. Once there is a reaction, the
sensation level is noted. Additional stimuli are applied until the technologist decides an adequate
reading has been taken. The technologist may spend anywhere from one to four hours with the
patient when an evoked potential test is being run.
Increasingly, technologists are called upon to set up and monitor EEGs and evoked potential tests
in the operating room. Surgical monitoring requires that technologists be well versed in
anesthesia and its effect on brain waves, so that they can alert the surgical team when readings
from the EEG instrument suggest an abnormal reaction.
Sleep studies and brain wave mappings are examples of other diagnostic procedures administered
by specialized EEG personnel. Sleep studies require technologists to be competent in monitoring
respiration and heart activity in addition to brain wave activity. Technologists must know the
various stages of sleep, the average length of each stage, and the characteristic fluctuating of the
neurological and cardiopulmonary systems during each stage. When all the necessary readings
have been taken, the technologist coordinates readings from the various organ systems, separating
14. them according to the various stages of sleep, and relays them to the physician. Brain wave
mapping requires the technologist to decide which sections of the EEG should be transformed
into color-coded pictures of brain wave frequency and intensity, for examination by a physician.
Technologists must know how to recognize changes in the patient's neurological, cardiac, and
respiratory status. To react properly in an emergency, they must understand the kinds of medical
emergencies that can occur while they are taking the EEG. For example, if a patient suffers an
epileptic seizure in the EEG laboratory, the technologist must be prepared to take the proper
Besides conducting EEGs, technologists may have supervisory or administrative responsibilities.
They may manage the EEG laboratory, arrange work schedules, keep records, schedule
appointments, order supplies, establish correct treatment procedures, and provide instruction in
In some hospitals, job duties are not confined to electroencephalography. EEG technologists may
perform EKGs and other kinds of procedures as well. To acquire the requisite skills,
technologists are cross-trained to handle several different machines. As new trends in hospital
staffing, the cross-training of multi competent technicians are seen as a way of holding down
EEG technologists usually work in clean, well-lighted surroundings, and spend about half of their
time on their feet. A lot of bending is necessary as they may work with patients who are unruly
or very ill and require assistance. A 5-day, 40-hour week with some overtime is normal, although
some hospitals require EEG technologists to be on call after hours and on weekends and holidays.
These employees generally work during the day, but those involved in sleep studies may work
evenings and nights.
Electroencephalographic technologists hold nearly 7,000 jobs. Most jobs are in hospitals, but
other health care settings are gaining in importance. EEG technologists work in neurology
laboratories, offices of neurologists and neurosurgeons, group medical practices, HMOs, urgent
care centers and clinics, and psychiatric facilities. Most technologists work full-time.
TRAINING, OTHER QUALIFICATION, AND ADVANCEMENTS
EEG technologists generally learn their skills on-the-job, although some complete formal training
programs. Applicants for trainee positions in hospitals need a high school diploma, as a rule.
Often, EEG trainees transfer to the neurology department from other jobs in the hospital, such as
a laboratory aide or licensed practical nurse.
Formal training is offered at the post-secondary level by hospitals, medical centers, community
colleges, vocational-technical institutes, and colleges and universities. In 1998, the Committee
on Allied Health Education and Accreditation had approved 36 formal training programs for EEG
personnel. Programs usually last from one to two years and include laboratory experience as well
as classroom instruction in anatomy, neuroanatomy, physiology, neurophysiology, clinical and
15. internal medicine, psychiatry, and electronics and instrumentation. Graduates receive associate
degrees or certificates.
Credentials for EEG personnel are available through the American Board of Registration of
Electroencephalographic Technologists, which awards the title Registered EEG Technologist to
qualified applicants. This board accredits technologists in the sub specialty of evoked potential as
Registered Evoked Potential Technologist. Although not generally required for entry-level jobs,
registration indicates professional competence, and may be necessary for supervisory or teaching
Persons who want to enter this field should have manual dexterity, good vision, aptitude for
working with electronic equipment, and the ability to work with patients as well as with other
EEG personnel in large hospitals can advance to chief EEG technologist and take on increased
responsibilities in laboratory management and in teaching basic techniques to new personnel or
students from EEG training programs. A physician--an electroencephalographer, neurologist, or
neurosurgeon, generally supervises chief EEG technologists.
Employment of EEG technologists is expected to grow much faster than the average for all
occupations through the year 2010, chiefly because of increasing application of the EEG and
related neuro-diagnostic tests, and the willingness of health insurers and other third-party payers
to cover such examinations. Nonetheless, most job openings will result from the need to replace
workers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force entirely. Continued acceptance
of the value of the EEG is expected to sustain demand for workers who perform these tests.
Moreover, further advances in clinical neurophysiology are a virtual certainty, and these are
likely to spur demand by expanding the uses of neuro-diagnostic testing.
The rate at which this field expands will be governed by the willingness of third-party payers to
pay for neurological testing. EEG laboratories, which offer outpatient as well as in patient
testing, have become revenue centers for hospitals, as outpatient centers are currently fully
reimbursed. Some hospitals have expanded their EEG laboratories, adding space and hiring
additional personnel. Non-hospital providers have responded to incentives in the reimbursement
system as well, expanding the range of EEG procedures they offer and creating more jobs for
Because job growth through the year 2010 is expected to be very rapid in outpatient settings,
including offices of neurologists, medical group practices, and HMOs, opportunities are likely to
be especially favorable in those settings. Opportunities for individuals who have a background in
EEG technology will be excellent. Hospitals and other employers prefer to hire individuals with
some formal preparation.
Starting salaries of EEG technologists employed by hospitals, medical schools, and medical
centers averaged $18,664, according to a survey by the University of Texas Medical Branch.
Starting salaries for registered EEG technologists are $1,000 to $2,000 higher. Salaries for
experienced EEG technologists ranged as high as $25,000 a year. Positions such as EEG
laboratory supervisor, special procedures instructor, or EEG training program director generally
command higher salaries. EEG technologists in hospitals receive the same benefits as other
16. hospital personnel, including paid vacations, sick leave, health insurance, and pensions. Some
institutions provide tuition assistance, uniforms, parking, childcare, and other employee benefits.
Related occupations in supervised health care activities are audiometrist, electrocardiograph
technician, clinical laboratory technician, occupational therapy assistant, surgical technician,
physical therapy aide, and psychiatric aide.
Local hospitals can supply information about employment opportunities. For general information
about a career in electroencephalography as well as a list of accredited training programs, contact:
American Society of Electroencephalographic Technologists, Inc., 6th
at Quint, Carroll, IA 51401.
EKG Technologists and Technicians
Electrocardiograms (EKGs) are graphic tracings of heartbeats recorded by an instrument called an
electrocardiograph. These tracings indicate the electrical impulses transmitted by the heart
muscle during and between heartbeats. EKG technicians operate the electrocardiograph to
produce the tracings for review by a physician. Physicians order electrocardiograms to help
diagnose certain forms of heart disease, monitor the effect of drug therapy, and analyze changes
in the condition of a patient's heart over a period of time. The test is done before most kinds of
surgery, including outpatient's surgical procedures. Some physicians use electrocardiograms as a
routine diagnostic procedure for persons who have reached a certain age. In many fields,
electrocardiograms are required as part of preemployment physical examinations.
Since the equipment is mobile, EKG technicians can record electrocardiograms in a doctor's
office, in a hospital heart station (cardiology department), or at the patient's bedside. After
explaining the procedure to the patient, the technician attaches 10 electrodes to the chest, arms,
and legs of the patient. Normally, the technician applies a gel between the electrodes and the
patient's skin to facilitate the passage of the electrical impulses. By manipulating switches on the
electrocardiograph and positioning the electrodes across the chest, the technician obtains a
recording of the heart's electrical action. A stylus or ink pen records the tracings on graph paper.
The test is usually performed while the patient is reading or while exercising. The technician
must know the anatomy of the chest and heart to select the exact locations for the chest
electrodes. Electrodes placed in the wrong location result in an inaccurate reading.
After the recording is completed, the technician prepares the electrocardiogram for analysis by a
physician, usually a cardiologist (heart specialist). The most advanced EKG equipment employs
a computer to analyze the tracing, and the technician may need to enter information into the
console using a keyboard. Technicians must be able to recognize and correct any technical errors
such as crossed leads, incorrect lead placement, or electrical interference that prevent an accurate
reading. They must call the doctor's attention to any significant deviations from the average
normally recorded by the technique used. Physicians then review the recordings and study these
and other deviations identified.
Some EKG technicians schedule appointments, type doctors' interpretations, maintain patients'
EKG files, care for equipment, and perform or assist in more specialized cardiac testing.
17. Cardiology is one of the most rapidly developing fields in medicine today, and new procedures
for diagnosing and treating heart and circulatory problems are being introduced all the time.
These have raised skill requirements and created new occupations in the areas of cardiovascular
and cardiopulmonary technology. For example, recognition of the value of monitoring heart
action while the patient is normally active has led to widespread use of 2-hour ambulatory
monitoring, also called Holter monitoring, after the physician who developed the equipment, and
exercises stress tests that record the EKG during physical activity. Technicians who perform
these tests need special training. EKG technicians perform a relatively simple task and do not
have skills to assist in the newer cardiac procedures unless they complete additional training.
Technicians generally work a 5-day, 40-hour week that may include Saturdays and Sundays.
Those in hospitals and private clinics may work evening hours. Much time is spent walking and
standing. The work can become hectic.
Electrocardiography technicians hold about 8,000 jobs. Most EKG Technicians work in
cardiology departments of large hospitals. Others work part-time in small hospitals where
workloads are not great enough to require full-time technicians. Some EKG technicians have
jobs in cardiologists' offices, cardiac rehabilitation centers, HMOs, or clinics.
TRAINING, OTHER QUALIFICATIONS, AND ADVANCEMENT
EKG technicians are trained on-the-job or as apart of other professional training. Training is
usually conducted by an EKG supervisor or a cardiologist and lasts no more than four to six
weeks for the basic resting EKG. Training for specialized EKG testing is much more extensive,
usually 12 to 24 months, and involves in-depth study of cardiovascular anatomy and physiology.
Applicants for trainee positions generally must be high school graduates. High school courses
recommended for students interested in this field include health, biology, and typing. Familiarity
with medical terminology can be acquired in classes on human anatomy, physiology, or medical
terminology and by studying a medical dictionary. Applicants for EKG training must be reliable
and have mechanical aptitude, ability to follow detailed instructions, and presence of mind in
emergencies. A pleasant, relaxed manner for putting patients at their ease is an asset.
Opportunities for advancement are good for technicians who become proficient in more complex
procedures. Increasingly, experienced EKG technicians are being trained to perform or assist
with a wide range of cardiac tests, enabling them to advance to positions as monitor technicians,
Holter monitor technicians, stress testing technicians, or echocardiography technicians.
Individuals with the requisite experience and training may eventually be upgraded to jobs as
noninvasive or invasive cardiovascular technicians. Promotion to supervisory positions is
possible, too. Employers generally encourage and may provide training to technicians to help
them become competent in various procedures.
Employment of EKG technicians is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all
occupations through the year 2010 due to anticipated growth in cardiology. Demand for EKG
technicians is not likely to keep pace with growth in the number of cardiac tests and procedures
18. performed, however. Nor will job growth be as rapid as in the more highly skilled cardiology
occupations--a consequence of productivity gains associated with new EKG equipment and
efforts to streamline hospital staffing. Most job openings, therefore, will result from the need to
replace technicians who transfer to other jobs or leave the labor force all together.
Use of the EKG as a standard test in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease is expected to
continue, but advances in technology and computerization of hospital departments will
substantially raise EKG technicians' productivity. An EKG that used to take 15 minutes can now
be performed in five minutes, thanks to new EKG equipment that records readings more quickly
and relieves the technician from having to mount three separate graphs on a backboard for the
physician to read. In addition, computerization has cut back dramatically on paperwork. Rather
than spending time on clerical duties, technicians can use their time administering EKGs.
Employment of EKG technicians will be further constrained by hospitals' efforts to cut labor
costs. The equipment used for a resting EKG is so simple that the necessary skills can be
mastered quickly. Many hospitals are cutting back on EKG personnel by training registered
nurses, respiratory therapists, and others to perform EKG procedures during off hours. Thus,
some hospitals whose EKG departments formerly operated on a 24-hour basis have cut to eight or
12-hour coverage; emergency EKGs are handled by other hospital personnel. If this trend
persists, it will dampen demand for EKG technicians in hospitals.
An increasing number of jobs will be in cardiologists' offices, cardiology clinics, HMOs, and
other outpatient settings. Facilities such as these are expected to experience very rapid growth
through the year 2010. Nonetheless, hospitals are likely to remain the dominant employer of
Because entry requirements are minimal, the pool of prospective job seekers is very large. In
some communities, individuals seeking positions as EKG technicians may find that employers
prefer applicants with previous EKG experience or formal training including armed forces
training. Individuals with training in Holter monitoring or stress testing in addition to basic
EKGs may enjoy more favorable job prospects than those without these additional skills.
EKG technicians employed in hospitals, medical schools, and medical centers earn starting
salaries of about $16,900. EKG technicians who perform more sophisticated tests are paid more
than those who perform only basic ones. Some experienced EKG technicians earn as much as
$24,800 a year. EKG technicians in hospitals receive the same fringe benefits as other hospital
personnel, including health insurance, pension benefits, vacations, and sick leave. Some
institutions provide tuition assistance, uniforms, and other benefits.
What is electroencephalography?
In what areas of medicine is the resting EEG a basic diagnostic tool?
19. What kinds of conditions might require an EEG?
What types of jobs might an EEG Technician do in a hospital?
How many jobs do EEG Technicians hold?
How does an EEG Technician learn their skills?
How is employment of EEG Technicians expected to grow?
What factors affect the rate of employment for EEG Technicians?
What are the starting salaries of EEG Technicians?
What is the purpose of an EKG?
How are EKG electrodes placed on the body?
Why is cardiology the fastest growing area of medicine today?
What is the employment outlook for EKG Technicians?
What are the starting average earnings for EKG technicians?
20. Workers in other occupations requiring operation of diagnostic or therapeutic equipment include
audiometrists, electroencephalographic (EEG) technologists and technicians, radiological
technologists, clinical laboratory technologists and technicians, cardiovascular technologists,
cardiopulmonary technologists, and electroneuro-diagnostic technicians.
Local hospitals can supply information about employment opportunities. For a list of training
programs in cardiovascular technology, contact: American Society of Cardiologic Technicians,
55 E. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60604
Nuclear Medicine Technologists
Nuclear medicine is the branch of radiology that uses radionuclitides, unstable atoms that emit
radiation spontaneously, in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Just as the field of radiology
had its beginnings when Wilhelm Roentgen discovered X-ray, the seed for nuclear medicine was
planted almost a century ago when Marie Curie discovered radium. However, it was not until
after World War II and the discovery of ways to produce artificial radionuclides that doctors
began to recognize the medical uses of these elements. When a radionuclide is injected into a
patient or taken orally, radioactivity can be detected and monitored from outside to assess the
characteristics or functioning of those tissues or organs in which it settles. Abnormal areas show
up as higher or lower concentrations of radioactivity than normal.
Nuclitides capable of producing useful information about thyroid function are among the first
medical uses discovered. Since then, diagnostic applications of nuclear medicine have expanded
dramatically, with images of bones, brain, liver, or heart function emerging as particularly
important. Nuclear medicine today commands a place alongside other highly valued diagnostic
disciplines. As is generally the case in medical diagnostics, specially trained technologists
perform the tests and procedures ordered by physicians, who, in turn, interpret the results.
Nuclear medicine technologists are trained to assume responsibility for the proper use of
nuculearpharmaceuticals (radioactive drugs) in a variety of functional areas. They may conduct
laboratory studies, do research, or develop and administer procedures for purchasing, using, and
disposing of radioactive nuclides. Implementing safety procedures required by the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission is another important role. Technologists generally work directly with
patients performing nuclear medicine procedures that are used to diagnose and treat disease.
Nuclear medicine technologists, like radiological technologists, operate diagnostic imaging
equipment. However, the equipment used in these two specialties relies on different principles,
and job duties reflect this. Radiological technologists create an image by shooting a beam of
radiation through the patient. In nuclear medicine, the technologist prepares a radioactive
substance (radiopharmaceutical) for the patient to take, administers it, and then operates a camera
that uses the radiation given off by the patient to create an image.
21. Preparing the radioactive substance that the patient takes before the image is taken is a task that
requires laboratory skills as well as strict adherence to safety precautions, inasmuch as the
technologist is handling potentially dangerous radioactive materials.
Prior to the examination, the technologist explains the test procedure and tries to relieve any
anxiety the patient may be experiencing. The amount and type of radiopharmaceutical that is
used depends on the particular test being performed. The nuclear medicine technologist first
calculates and prepares the correct dosage and then administers it to the patient by mouth,
injection, or other means. Afterward, the technologist observes the patient carefully to make sure
that is no unanticipated reaction.
Once the nuclide has had time to enter the system, the technologist is ready to perform the
imaging procedure. The technologist positions the patient and then starts the Computer Assisted
Tomography scanner, as these instruments are popularly called, which takes pictures of the
radioisotopes as they pass through to localize in different parts of the patient's body. Once the
scan has been completed, the technologist carefully examines the quality of the image for any
additional information to give the physician. Some studies, such as cardiac function studies, are
then processed by the technologist with the aid of a computer. Information obtained through the
nuclear medicine procedure is used by the patient's doctor in arriving at a diagnosis.
In some facilities, nuclear medicine technologists perform imaging procedures in other sub
specialties of radiology. Technologists may spend part of the day in the ultrasound or diagnostic
radiology departments, performing ultrasound scans, fluoroscopy, or routine x-rays. The amount
of time spent on a non nuclear medicine procedure depends on the size of the facility, the amount
of specialization, and the organization policy within the institution. The job of the nuclear
medicine technologist encompasses more than diagnostic imaging. Because nuclear medicine is
effective in certain laboratory tests, technologists must be proficient in clinical laboratory
procedures. In one type of test, a small quantity of a radiopharmaceutical is administered to a
patient and then body specimens such as blood or urine are collected and measured for
radioactivity level. In other words, laboratory testing replaces the image as the means of
assessing the behavior of the radioactive substance inside the body. In another kind of test,
radioactive substances are added to blood or serum in a test tube to determine levels of hormones
or therapeutic drug content.
Other job responsibilities include ensuring that all workers in the nuclear medicine laboratory
carefully follow radiation safety procedures and that complete and accurate records are kept.
This includes patient medical records, patient procedures performed, and amounts and types of
radionuclides received, used, and disposed of.
Nuclear medicine technologists generally work a 40-hour week. This may include evening or
weekend hours in hospital departments that operate on an extended schedule. In addition,
technologists in hospitals are required to perform on-call duty on a rotation basis. Depending on
the size of the nuclear medicine department and number of technologists employed, the frequency
of required on-call duty varies. The number of times a technologist is actually called into the
hospital while on call depends on the size and case mix of the hospital. Opportunities for
weekend, part-time, and shift work are also available.
Technologists are on their feet much of the day, and may be required to lift or turn disabled
patients. Physical stamina, therefore, is important. There are potential radiation hazards in this
22. field; however, these hazards have been reduced by the use of safety devices such as instruments
that measure radiation exposure, shielded syringes, gloves, and other protective devices. Because
of the presence of radiation and radioactive materials, technologists wear special badges that
measure radiation levels while they are in the radiation area. The badge measurement rarely
approaches or exceeds established safety levels because of safety programs and built-in safety
Nuclear medicine technologists hold 10,000 jobs. About eight out of 10 are in hospital jobs. The
rest are located in medical laboratories, physicians' offices, and outpatient clinics and imaging
centers. The Federal government employs about 300 nuclear medicine technologists.
TRAINING, OTHER QUALIFICATIONS, AND ADVANCEMENT
Technologists used to be trained on-the-job, but this is no longer the case. Most employers prefer
to hire individuals who have completed formal training programs. Such programs are available at
the post secondary level in hospitals, medical centers, colleges and universities, and the armed
forces. Programs vary in a number of respects: length of training, prerequisites, class size, and
cost. Programs range in length from one to four years and lead to a certificate, associate degree,
or bachelor's degree. One-year certificates and two-year associate programs are most prevalent,
Certificate programs in nuclear medicine technology enroll individuals from a variety of
backgrounds. These programs are designed for individuals who already have some post
secondary education--whether in radiological technology, another allied health profession, or
another health or science-related area. Among those attracted to certificate programs are
radiological technologists and ultrasound technologists who seek to enhance their skills, as well
as medical technologists, registered nurses, respiratory therapists, and other health professionals
who wish to change fields or specialize. Individuals with three to four years of college education
may choose certificate training as a means of preparing for a career in nuclear medicine
technology. The second major route of entry into nuclear medicine technology is through
completion of a two-year associate degree program.
Among the topics covered in programs that prepare nuclear medicine technologists are physical
sciences, the biological effects of radiation exposure, protection, radiopharmaceuticals and their
use on patients, and imaging techniques. Programs that grant academic degrees (associates or
bachelor's) have additional requirements.
The Committee on Allied Health Education and Accreditation (CAHEA) accredits most formal
training programs in this field. There are about 150 CAHEA accredited programs in nuclear
Nuclear medicine technologists are among the occupations covered by the Consumer Patient
Radiation Health and Safety Act of 1981, which aims to protect the public from the hazards of
unnecessary exposure to medical and dental radiation by making sure that personnel involved in
administering radioactive drugs or operating radiological equipment are properly trained. The
Act requires the Federal government to set standards that the States, in turn, may use for
accrediting training programs or certifying individuals who use radioactive elements or radiation
in medicine or dentistry.
23. Procedures for acquiring professional credentials in nuclear medicine technology include
licensor--required by law in seven states and Puerto Rico--and certification or registration, which
is voluntary. Registration or certification is available from the American Registry of
Radiological Technologists (ARRT) and from the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification
Board (NMTCM). Credentials from either of these accrediting bodies qualify applicants for
employment in the hospital setting.
Many jobs are open only to registered or registry-eligible technologists. Hospitals generally
require CAHEA accredited training plus credentials in nuclear medicine technology. Medical
group practices and outpatient clinics are more likely to hire technologists without formal
Career lines in this field are short. Advancement usually involves promotion to a supervisory
position, such as chief technologist or department administrator or manager. Specialization in a
clinical area such as cardiology diagnostics or computer analysis offers another route for
advancement. Some technologists progress by becoming instructors or directors in nuclear
medicine technology programs, a step that usually requires an associate or bachelor's degree in
nuclear medicine technology. Some technologists leave the occupation to take jobs as sales or
training representatives with health industry equipment manufacturing firms, positions that build
upon their background and experience.
Employment of nuclear medicine technologists is expected to grow about as fast as the average
for all occupations through the year 2010. Most job openings will come from the need to replace
experienced technologists who leave the field. Conflicting forces will shape the job outlook. On
the one hand, employment growth is likely to be constrained by competition from less invasive
imaging method--computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in
particular. Developments in diagnostic imaging technology are occurring at a dramatic pace, and
it is likely that some of the tests that emerge by the year 2010 will replace procedures currently
performed by nuclear medicine technologists.
At the same time, advances in medical diagnostics could spur use of nuclear medicine procedures.
The use of radiopharmaceuticals in combination with monoclonal antibodies is just one
illustration of the enormous diagnostic potential of nuclear medicine. Monoclonal antibodies
have affinity for tumors. When radioactively marked, they are easily followed by scanning
equipment as they gather around otherwise invisible parts of the body. They can be used to
detect cancer at far earlier stages than is customary today, and without resorting to surgery.
Another illustration is the use of nuclear medicine diagnostics in cardiology. Using radionuclides
injected into the bloodstream, nuclear medicine technologists can measure the percentage of the
patient's blood pumped by each contraction of the heart. This procedure performed at rest and
during stress examines the heart's ability to meet the body's needs. In some patients, such a test
eliminates the need for cardiac catheterization, a costly and at times, risky procedure.
In the years ahead, job opportunities for nuclear medicine technologists in offices of physicians,
medical laboratories, and outpatient imaging centers are expected to expand substantially.
Hospitals, however, will continue to be the major employers of these workers through the year
2010. Hospitals, under considerable pressure to keep costs under control, are trying to reduce the
number of tests per patient and to discourage procedures that mean revenue losses. Together with
competition from other imaging methods, this thrust could curtail expansion of nuclear medicine
testing, although it is not at all certain that this will be the case.
24. In any event, the dominance of the hospital sector in the employment of technologists means that
job prospects will be better in some localities than in others, depending on conditions in the
hospital industry. In communities that experience hospital closures or mergers, for example, the
number of openings for trained nuclear medicine technologists could decline precipitously.
Employment opportunities for trained nuclear medicine technologists vary regionally.
Competition appears to be fairly keen in large metropolitan areas, while hospitals and other
employers are actively recruiting technologists in rural areas.
Starting salaries for nuclear medicine technologists employed in hospitals, medical schools, and
medical centers averaged $25,300 a year, according to a survey by the University of Texas
Medical Branch. Experienced technologists averaged $29,600. According to a survey by the
Society of Nuclear Medicine, staff technologists averaged $25,000 a year. Chief technologists
earn average salaries of $36,000 a year. The average salary of nuclear medicine technologists
employed by the Federal government is $29,000 a year.
What are radionuclides?
How are they used in nuclear medicine?
What are Nuclear Medicine Technologists trained to do?
How do Nuclear Medicine Technologists use computers to do their work?
What are some safety procedures used by Nuclear Medicine Technologists?
Where do most Nuclear Medicine Technologists work?
In the United States, who accredits Nuclear Technology programs?
25. What at the steps necessary to become a Nuclear Medicine Technologist?
What is the job market like for Nuclear Medicine Technologists?
What are the starting salaries for Nuclear Medicine Technologists?
Nuclear medicine technologists operate sophisticated equipment to help physicians and other
health practitioners diagnose and treat patients. Workers in related occupations include
radiological technologists, ultrasound technologists, cardiology technologists, electrocardiograph
technicians, electroencephalographic technologists, clinical laboratory technologists,
perfusionists, and respiratory therapists.
Additional information on a career as a nuclear medicine technologist is available from:
American Society of Radiological Technicians, 55 E. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60604; and the
National Committee on Health Certifying Agencies, 1101 30th
St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20007