PET Technologist Career Guide


Positron emission tomography is a technique used in nuclear medicine for displaying a three-dimensional image of processes that occur in the body. This technique involves detection of gamma rays which are transmitted into the body. The rays are then detected with special equipment and methods such as a positron releasing radionuclide tracer. To become a PET technologist, you will have to undergo formal education along with training. This will allow you to understand the principles of positron emission tomography. After education, you can seek work experience which will be helpful in entering the medical industry.

Job Duties

PET Technologists are highly skilled professionals and have lots of responsibilities on their shoulders. Their foremost duty is to perform body scanning to check for areas showing signs of abnormality. Sophisticated technology is used for a process in which rays are emitted from a source to enter the body. The images constructed are three dimensional, which means they might be made with the help of a CT X-ray scan. It is a procedure performed simultaneously with the help of advanced machinery.

To check different areas in the body, radioactive drugs are given to patients and are then monitored by machines to evaluate their reaction internally. These drugs emit radiation which is detected by scanners. PET Technologists keep a record of the changes witnessed inside the body owing to these radioactive substances. After performing these tasks, they hand over the findings to physicians who in turn check the patient’s condition with the help of these recorded images. The duties of a PET Technologist also include conducting patient history taking and answering all relevant queries before the procedure.

PET Technologists also keep a track of safety measures to protect patients while performing scans. The reason to be careful or considering safety measures is that patients and operators are constantly exposed to rays. To safeguard, PET Technologists have to make sure that the equipment is in a proper working condition. To avoid any mishaps, these specialists examine and inspect machines carefully. Furthermore, they make use of protective clothing during the entire process.

Career Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were around 21,200 people employed as a nuclear medicine technologist, estimated in 2011. TPET Technologists work in surgical and medical hospitals, the office of physicians, and medical and diagnostic laboratories.


PET Technologists on average earn around $65,000 per year, as anticipated in 2012 (

Education Requirements

To be employed in this field, one should have at least a degree at the associate’s level in nuclear medicine technology. A bachelor’s degree is also an option for some students who want to enter this industry. Along with this, a certificate might also be required in nuclear medicine technology which is usually achieved in a period of 1 year.

Almost all programs in this field require clinical experience under the guidance of a licensed supervisor. Some courses taught during education are physics, anatomy and radioactive drugs. Other than this, licensure is obligatory in some states. One can be certified either in positron emission tomography (PET) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

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