Students receive real-world, risk-free training in mock radiopharmacy lab.
PITTSBURGH-The Community College of Allegheny County is the only
institution between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg that offers an
accredited Nuclear Medicine Technology Associate of Science Degree
program, providing students with a unique opportunity to enter a
well-paying field with two years or less of affordable training.
Offered at Allegheny Campus, the program boasts a new mock
radiopharmacy lab where students gain valuable hands-on experience
in the classroom. Students are well-prepared to become nuclear
medicine technologists, whose responsibilities include the
administration of radiopharmaceuticals (medicine that is attached
to a small quantity of radioactive material) and operation of the
The new lab has four stations where students practice preparing
radiopharmaceuticals, performing quality control, drawing doses and
doing venipunctures (the process of obtaining intravenous access on
a patient) prior to attending clinical rotations. Purchased with
funds from a Carl. D. Perkins Career and Technical Education grant,
the equipment includes tabletop lead shields, lead syringe
carriers, lead vial shields, lead syringe holders, quality control
supplies, shipping containers, venipuncture training arms,
venipuncture supplies and an injection chair.
According to Lori Duke, professor and program director, students
are able to hone their skills without any risk in the
radiation-free lab before they ever leave the classroom. Duke also
uses the lab to demonstrate techniques on the equipment during
"The mock equipment setting gives students extensive
hands-on practice so they can perfect their technique without
radiation exposure before going to clinical rotations and
administering radiopharmaceuticals to patients," said Duke.
"They can learn to handle the radiopharmaceuticals speedily and
efficiently, which maximizes safety and reduces their radiation
The job outlook for graduates is bright-according to the U.S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of nuclear medicine
technologists is projected to grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026,
faster than the average for all occupations. Also of note,
experienced professionals may earn more than $75,000-the median
annual wage for nuclear medicine technologists was $76,820 in May
2018 (starting salaries are lower). In fact, in a CNBC report dated
Jan. 26, 2019, the occupation is included in a list of 15 jobs that
pay more than $75,000 that can be obtained without the time and
cost required for a bachelor's degree.
In addition to the Nuclear Medicine Technology Associate Degree
program, CCAC offers a Nuclear Medicine Technology Certificate for
students with bachelor's degrees in science and for certified
professionals working in the fields of radiology, nursing or
radiation therapy. Students in the Nuclear Medicine Technology
programs at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Edinboro
University spend their final year at CCAC to simultaneously earn
their certificate and bachelor's degree.
Graduates also have the opportunity to complete a certificate in
Computed Assisted Tomography (CT) or Magnetic Resonance Imaging
(MRI), which only takes an additional six months. Having this
specialty makes technologists even more marketable in the region
For more information about CCAC's Nuclear Medicine Technology
Associate of Science Degree and Certificate programs, visit ccac.edu or contact Professor
Lori Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org.