Nuclear Medicine Technology

Nuclear medicine is an exciting health care field that uses advanced scientific methods to scan and create images of the human body. Technologists are experts in not only taking but helping to analyze these scans to help physicians arrive at a diagnosis and a treatment. Let us help you prepare for this dynamic field.

The Nuclear Medicine Technology program offers an accredited curriculum leading to a Bachelor of Science degree. The mission of the Nuclear Medicine Technology program is to prepare individuals with the clinical and didactic experience necessary for successful entry into the Nuclear Medicine Technology profession.

The goal of the Nuclear Medicine Technology program is to enable the student to confidently possess the knowledge and skills necessary to safely perform a wide variety of clinical procedures. Students will also be able to effectively communicate with patients with competent skills in: radiopharmaceutical dosage, calculation and administration, the operation of imaging devices, and operation of radiation detection monitoring devices.

Nuclear Medicine Technology is a medical specialty that uses safe, micro-quantities of radioactive pharmaceuticals for diagnosis, management, treatment and prevention of many serious diseases. Nuclear Medicine Technology imaging techniques provide information about both the function and structure of every organ in the body, often identifying organ abnormalities very early in the progression of a disease. This early detection allows a disease to be treated early in its course, when there may be a more positive prognosis.

The student choosing Nuclear Medicine Technology as a career should have a strong interest in the natural sciences, mathematics, and computer technology as well as the desire for close patient contact, direct interaction with physicians and other health care professionals. Immediately upon graduation, a student is eligible to apply for national certification/registration examinations given by the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB) or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

As a highly-specialized member of the health care profession, graduates from this degree program have several vocational options, including but not limited to, Nuclear Medicine Technology (hospitals, clinics, research laboratories, regulatory agencies), entry into medical or graduate schools and careers in education or administration in the specialty.

Faculty include mathematicians, physicists, technologists, physicians, radiopharmacists, radiation physicists, each with a special focus and integrated perspective.

The Nuclear Medicine Technology major requires the student to complete 120 credit hours for graduation. This includes 45 hours of residency, 36 advanced hours (junior/community college courses will not satisfy), 36 of the last 45 hours from UIW, 45 clock hours community service and computer literacy (test or course credit).

To fulfill the requirements for this degree program, the student must complete undergraduate coursework, including the university core curriculum and the following major specific requirements:

  1. Mathematics Requirement - 6 hours of coursework that includes:

    MATH 1311 Precalculus 
    MATH 2303 Introduction to Probability and Statistics

  2. Ethics Requirement - 3 hours of coursework that includes one of the following:

    PHIL 3333 Applied Ethics, PHIL 3332 Ethics, or RELS 1360 Christian Ethics

  3. Nuclear Medicine Core Requirement - 55 hours of coursework that includes:

    NMED 2420 Patient Care Technologies
    NMED 3210 Health Assessment and Communication for the Nuclear Medicine Technologist
    NMED 3305 Application of Radionuclides
    NMED 3310 Pathophysiology for Nuclear Medicine Technologist
    NMED 3320 Medical Radiation Safety
    NMED 4310 Introduction to Nuclear Medicine
    NMED 4312 Molecular Imaging and the Physics of Medical Imaging 
    NMED 4322 Radiopharmacy, Radiochemistry, and Radioimmunoassay
    NMED 4331 Instrumentation
    NMED 4341 Radiation Biology/Biophysics 
    NMED 4361 Nuclear Medicine Registry Review 
    NMED 4510 Nuclear Cardiology 
    NMED 4545 Principles of PET and PET/CT 
    NMED 4604 Clinical Nuclear Medicine I
    NMED 4606 Clinical Nuclear Medicine II

  4. Biology Core Requirement - 8 hours of coursework that includes:

    BIOL 2321/2121 Anatomy and Physiology I with Lab
    BIOL 2322/2122 Anatomy and Physiology II with Lab

  5. Chemistry Core Requirement - hours of coursework that includes:

    CHEM 1301 Chemical Principles I 
    CHEM 1302 Chemical Principles II 
    CHEM 1203 General Chemistry Lab

  6. Physics Core Requirement - hours of coursework that includes:

    PHYS 1301/1101 General Physics I with Lab
    PHYS 1302/1102 General Physics II with Lab

A minimum grade of C is required in all nuclear medicine courses. In general, satisfactory completion of courses in one semester is required prior to enrolling in subsequent semesters. Failure to make a minimum grade of C in any required nuclear medicine course will prevent the student from progressing in the program. Students who fail one or more courses in the program must make application to the nuclear medicine program to continue. The student’s overall academic achievement will be considered in the decision to be retained or to be placed on enforced withdrawal from the nuclear medicine program.

2420 Patient Care Technologies
Focuses on the development of clinical skills necessary for safe clinical practice.  Emphasis is placed on critical thinking, delegation, standard precautions and communication skills related to the patient’s medical condition. Includes a clinical practicum. Prerequisite: Admission to the major (Fall)

3210 Health Assessment and Communication for the Nuclear Medicine Technologist
Focus on theory and skills of health assessment including health history and physical examination. Therapeutic communication skills includes age appropriate and culture considerations as well as communicating with specific groups of people such as emotionally or terminally ill. Select principles to be applied in simulated laboratory. Prerequisite: Admission to the major (Fall)

3305 Application of Radionuclides 
This course is an in-depth study of the current use of radiopharmaceuticals for diagnostic imaging of organ visualization/function, evaluation of results, pathology and therapy for all major organ systems. Prerequisites: NMED 2420, 3210, 3310, 3320, 4322, 4510, 4545, 4331, 4341 (Fall)

3310 Pathophysiology for Nuclear Medicine Technologist
This is an introductory course examining disease process and pathophysiology of the systems for the Nuclear Medicine Technologist.  Emphasis is placed on common diseases of adults and disorders most relevant to nuclear medicine. The student will develop a basic understanding of the disease process, treatment modalities and how these relate to diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in nuclear medicine. Prerequisites BIOL 2321/2121 and 2322/2122 and CHEM 1301/1101 and 1302/1102 (Spring)

3320 Medical Radiation Safety
This course studies patient care and the regulations required by federal and state agencies. Safe handling, storage and disposal of radioactive materials, internal radiation dosimetry and the use of radiation monitoring instruments. Prerequisites: Admission to the major with completion of biology, chemistry, physics and math (Fall)

4310 Introduction to Nuclear Medicine
An introduction to the field of nuclear medicine. The student will develop computer skills useful to nuclear medicine technologists and develop beginning research skills using the Internet. Students will develop a beginning understanding of nuclear medicine procedures and discuss ethical issues in nuclear medicine. No prerequisite (Fall)

4312 Molecular Imaging and the Physics of Medical Imaging 
Explored in this course are the interaction of matter with x-rays, x-ray and gamma ray production, film processing, and molecular imaging technologies as well as the basic principles underlying the imaging methods of x-ray, CT, SPECT, MRI and ultrasound. Prerequisites: Admission to the major with completion of biology, chemistry, physics, math and computer requirements (Spring)

4322 Radiopharmacy, Radiochemistry, and Radioimmunoassay
This course examines radionuclide production, mechanisms of radionuclide localization the use and preparation of radiopharmaceuticals for diagnostic and therapeutic applications, quality control of radiopharmaceuticals and governmental regulations. Prerequisites: NMED 3301 or concurrent enrollment (Fall)

4331 Instrumentation
A didactic course designed to provide the student with the theoretical principles as well as the application of instrumentation and radiation detection equipment used for procedures in nuclear medicine and CT. This course will focus on the theory and lab application of the Quality Control procedures specific to each instrument, the lab application of imaging parameters, patient positioning and the views acquired during imaging. (Spring)

4341 Radiation Biology/Biophysics
This course is a comprehensive study of the effects of radiation in the body, resulting from radiation interactions. Other areas of focus are genetics, radiosensitivity, radioactive tracers in biological research and chemical/pharmacological modifiers. Prerequisites: Admission to the major with completion of biology, chemistry, physics, math and computer requirements (Spring)

4361 Nuclear Medicine Registry Review
A didactic course taken during the final semester of the senior year to review core competencies, clinical procedures, pathology, radiation safety, instrumentation and radiopharmacy in preparation for the national registry/certification exams. Prerequisites: NMED 4604

4510 Nuclear Cardiology
The course is designed to teach the student the in depth understanding of Nuclear Cardiology. The student will understand the anatomy and physiology, stress protocols, MUGA and First Pass Studies, basic EKG interpretation, cardiac medications, laboratory values, correlation of noninvasive and invasive diagnostic procedures. The course will consist of didactic and clinical rotation associated with Nuclear Cardiology. The course will be held on and off campus. Prerequisites: NMED 2420, 3210, 3310, 3320, and 4322 (Spring)

4545 Principles of PET and PET/CT
This course offers an emphasis on the applications of PET and CT imaging which include cross-sectional anatomy, myocardial perfusion and viability, tumor localization, cancer staging, therapy planning, and response to therapy by  providing an in-depth investigation of the principles as well as benefits and limitations of Positron Emitting Tomography (PET) and PET/CT (Computed Tomography) imaging and image fusion. Topics include: cross sectional anatomy, image acquisition, detector components and design, image fusion, radionuclide tracer production, tracer localization and their applications, patient preparation and case review. Prerequisites: NMED 2420, 3210, 3310, 3320 4322 (Spring)

4604 Clinical Nuclear Medicine I
A clinical course taken during the senior year. This course is an introduction to the nuclear medicine department, its operation and the duties of a Nuclear Medicine technologist. During the clinical practicum the student will assist in performing various diagnostic procedures and computer utilization. Prerequisites: NMED 2420, 3210, 3310, 3305, 3320, 4310, 4331, 4545, 4510, 4311, 4322, and 4341 as well as immunization requirements and a criminal background check.

4606 Clinical Nuclear Medicine II
Continuation of the clinical practicum, taken during the final semester of the senior year. This practicum allows the students to enhance their training by performing (with supervision) advanced nuclear medicine procedures. This course also examines health physics by studying radiation exposure rate, radiation contamination, safe handling and storage techniques, and monitoring equipment as well as all aspects of a Nuclear Pharmacy, such as preparation and quality control testing of radiopharmaceuticals, performing assays, low level lab procedures and operation of special equipment. Prerequisites: NMED 4604

Reasons for students not completing the NMED program were varied and included change of
major, academic performance, personal and/or financial reasons.

Program Completion Rate
  Number Initially Enrolled Number of Graduates Graduation Rate %
2016 9 9 100%
2015 10 9 90
2014 0 0 0
2013 14 12 86
2012 15 14 93
2011 14 14 100
2010 14 14 100
2009 15 15 100
2008 10 10 100
2007 12 10 83.3
2006 13 12 92
2005 13 11 84

Average Graduation Rate- 93.48

There are two national certification exams for Nuclear Medicine Technologist. One is offered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) and the other is offered by the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB). One month prior to graduation students apply for a temporary Medical Radiologic Technologist license, required by the state of Texas for state licensure. Upon graduation all students completing the NMED program are eligible to take both exams within one year of graduation to maintain state licensure.

National Board Results
  Number of First Time Examinees Mean Scaled Score % Pass Rate
ARRT 6 82.7 83
NMTCB 2 413 100
ARRT 4 80.5 75
NMTCB 2 78.5 100
ARRT 9 82  100%
ARRT 10  77 60
 NMTCB 2  77 100
ARRT 12 75 77.5
NMTCB 1 77 100
ARRT 12 81 87
NMTCB 1 76 100
ARRT 14 79.6 86
NMTCB 2 80 100
ARRT 12 81 75
NMTCB 1 81 100
ARRT 17 80.9 76
NMTCB 1 79 100
ARRT 8 83.9 88
NMTCB 0 0 0
ARRT 18 79.2 72
NMTCB 10 74.9 60
ARRT 18 79.8 78
NMTCB 9 76.22 67
ARRT 17 77.3 65
NMTCB 8 78 87
NMTCB 1 76 100
ARRT 9 84 89
NMTCB 6 78.33 83