Positron Emission Tomography Technologist Education and Career Pathway

By | January 17, 2024
Positron Emission Tomography Technologist Education
To become a positron emission tomography technologist and be successful in your career, you need to complete certain educational requirements.

This post provides detailed information on the positron emission tomography technologist education and career pathway, to help you learn the required training to become a positron emission tomography technologist and the various career opportunities you can explore.

Who is a Positron Emission Tomography Technologist?

A positron emission tomography technologist is a person who performs positron emission tomography (PET) scans to diagnose diseases in the body.

PET scanners are used for medical diagnostic imaging, which uses radioactive tracers that can be injected into the patient’s bloodstream or inhaled through the lungs.

Why Choose Positron Emission Tomography Technologist Career?

There are many reasons why you should choose this career path, including:

  1. You get paid well.

A positron emission tomographer earns an average of $65,000 per year.

The job outlook for a positron emission tomographic technologist is very good. There are currently over 20,000 jobs available nationwide.

2. It’s a great way to make money while helping others.

In addition to earning a high salary, a Positron emission technologist gets to help people with their health problems.

3. You have unlimited opportunities.

With the growth of technology, there are new ways to use your skills.

For example, you could work as a radiologic technician, nuclear medicine technologist, or even a biomedical engineer.

4. You’ll learn a lot about yourself.

As a Positron emission tech, you’ll develop valuable skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, teamwork, leadership, and communication.

These capabilities will be useful to you for the rest of your life.

5. You’ll have a rewarding career.

Many Positron emission technologists enjoy their careers because they are able to help patients improve their quality of life.

They also like working in a fast-paced environment where they can apply their knowledge and skills.

Positron Emission Tomography Technologist Education Requirements

To become a positron emission technologist, you must complete at least four years of college education.

Most schools offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering Technology.

Some schools may require additional training before students can graduate.

If you want to earn a Master of Science degree, you need to take courses in biology, chemistry, physics, math, and computer science.

Positron Emission Tomography Technologist Continuing Education

You must maintain your license by taking continuing education classes every two years.

To renew your license, you must pass a test administered by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Positron Emission Tomography Technologist Certification/License

In order to perform a PET scan, you must obtain a federal license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The NRC requires all PET technologists to hold a current license. The license expires after five years.

However, if you wish to continue performing PET scans, you must re-apply for a license each time it expires.

Positron Emission Tomography Technologist Career Opportunities

Here are various career opportunities open to a positron emission tomography technologist:

  1. Radiologic Technologist

Becoming a radiologic technologist is one of the most popular choices among positron emission technicians. This field offers many exciting challenges and opportunities.

2. Nuclear Medicine Technician

If you’re interested in being part of the medical team that helps diagnose illnesses using radioactive materials, then this is the best choice for you.

3. Biomedical Engineer

A biomedical engineering career allows you to design equipment used in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

4. Aerospace Engineer

An aerospace engineer designs aircrafts, spacecrafts, and satellites.

5. Medical Imaging Specialist

Medical imaging specialists use special tools to examine parts of the body.

Others include:

  • Nuclear Physicist
  • Radiation Therapist
  • Research Chemist
  • Radiation Safety Officer
  • Radiation Protection Manager
  • Radiation Control Inspector
  • Nuclear Medicine Tech
  • Nuclear Medicine Technician.

How to Advance your Positron Emission Tomography Technologist Career

Here are just some of the ways you can advance your career as a positron emission tomography technologist:

  1. Working with a mentor.

Mentors can be friends or family members who work in the same industry as you. They can provide advice on how to get ahead in your career.

2. Taking advantage of professional organizations.

Professional organizations such as the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA), and the American College of Radiology (ACR) help their members stay abreast of current advancements in the profession.

These groups also offer scholarships and grants to support members’ educational needs.

3. Joining a trade association.

Trade associations like the Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM) and the American Academy of Neuroradiology (AANR) provide networking opportunities and promote professional growth.

4. Getting involved in community service activities.

Community involvement can give you valuable experience working with people from diverse backgrounds. It also gives you the chance to develop leadership skills.

5. Volunteering at local schools.

Schools often need volunteers to teach students about careers in medicine and science. You could even volunteer to do research projects.

6. Finding internships.

Internships allow you to gain hands-on experience while earning money. Many companies will pay interns to gain more knowledge about their industry.

How to find a Good Positron Emission Tomography Technologist School

These are some ideas to help you find a good school when looking into becoming a positron emission tomography technologist:

  1. Research the school’s accreditation status.

Accredited schools have been evaluated by independent agencies to ensure they meet certain standards.

2. Look at the school’s curriculum.

The program should prepare you to become a competent practitioner.

3. Check out its reputation.

Ask current students if they would recommend it to others. Also ask former students what they think.

4. Visit the school.

Talk to faculty members and tour the facilities. If possible, visit classes and talk to students.

5. Read reviews online.

Reviews can give you insight into what other students thought of the school.

6. Contact the school directly.

Send them an email asking for information about the admissions process. Don’t forget to call them later for update.

How to be Successful in your Positron Emission Tomography Technologist Career

Consider these ideas to help you succeed in your positron emission tomography technologist career:

  1. Get involved in student government.

Student government is where you can make connections that may lead to future employment.

2. Join clubs.

Clubs can help you learn about different aspects of life and build relationships with peers.

3. Take part in extracurricular activities.

Activities like sports, music, art, and volunteering can help you develop leadership skills and show off your talents.

4. Network.

Make friends with people who work in your field or go to similar schools. They can help you get jobs and advance your career.

5. Stay updated on technology.

Technology changes quickly. Keep yourself informed so you don’t fall behind.

What does a Positron Emission Tomography Technologist Do?

The job duties of a positron emission tomography technologist include:

  1. Collecting data using equipment such as PET scanners.
  2. Analyzing data.
  3. Writing reports.
  4. Communicating with patients and referring physicians.
  5. Working with computers.
  6. Performing administrative tasks.
  7. Other duties as required.

Qualities of a Good Positron Emission Tomography Technologist

The qualities a good positron emission tomography technologist should have include:

  1. Strong communication skills.

The ability to communicate effectively with patients, colleagues, and superiors.

2. Ability to multitask.

You must be able to perform multiple tasks at once without losing focus.

3. Excellent organizational skills.

Organization helps you keep track of important details. It also allows you to prioritize tasks.

4. Must be detailed-oriented.

You need to be meticulous about following through with small details.

5. Must be flexible.

The ability to adjust to changing circumstances is important.

Positron Emission Tomography Technologist Salary

The average Positron Emission Tomography Technologist salary in the United States is $96,750 as of February 25, 2022, according to Salary.com, however the range frequently falls between $82,900 and $111,660.

Positron Emission Tomography Technologist Job Outlook

The nuclear medicine technology area has expanded due to increased demand for PET, and there is a considerable demand for PET specialty-certified technicians.

Nuclear medicine technologists’ employment is expected to expand by 7% between 2019 and 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As the number of middle-aged and older adults grows, so will the need for diagnostic treatments such as nuclear medicine tests.

Furthermore, technological developments will very certainly enhance the diagnostic usage of nuclear medicine.


Positron emission technologists are employed in hospitals, clinics, research facilities, and other healthcare settings.

Their responsibilities include performing procedures, interpreting results, and communicating with patients and their families.

The majority of positron emission technologists work full time, but some may have part-time schedules. 

This post has provided all you need to know about the education to complete to become a positron emission tomography technologist.