Nuclear medicine technologists receive a license in California from the Department of Public Health. Unlike most licenses, the qualifications are kind of ambiguous. But I will give as many highlights as possible in this article.
The Department prefers that you are nationally certified in nuclear medicine technology. If you take a test to get national certification, then you don’t have to take the California state exam.
The Department looks to see if you are certified by ARRT or NMTCB. These were the only two listed certification agencies at the time of this post, in July of 2016. More could be added later. So check the application form to see if there are any additions.
ARRT is the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. They have a Primary Pathway in Nuclear Medicine Technology. This requires an educational program and degree. And you must also meet didactic and clinical competency requirements. You must also be of good moral character, so a background check is required. And ARRT also has a nuclear medicine technology exam. Note that you must have completed your educational program in the past 3 years.
NMTCB is the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board. You get certified through this outfit by taking a CNMT exam, which provides the designation of Certified Nuclear Medicine Technologist. Starting on January 1, 2017, you must first graduate from a school before taking the exam. And the school’s program must be accredited by either the Joint Review Committee on Educational Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology or the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists. You can find links listing these accredited programs by using the page below. Although they are accepted now, programs at an accredited college or university will not be accepted after January 1, 2017, unless they are also accredited by one of the 2 organizations listed above. The second page below will give you exam application instructions.
California’s application process also requires you to document various kinds of education, lab experience, clinical experience, and equipment used. An accredited program likely will give you the clinical experience and training necessary to get a nuclear medicine technologist license in California. However, I would check with the school first to make sure the program provides sufficient clinical training and opportunities (practicums and the like) to qualify for a California license.
As of the time of this post, there is a $180 application fee, and it is nonrefundable. That is another reason it may be better to get nationally certified first and then apply for your license. Otherwise, you must apply first and then take the state exam.