A nuclear medicine radiologist uses radioactive substances and medications to determine what is wrong with his or her patients and treat them. To become a nuclear medicine radiologist, you will need a medical degree, as radiologists are medical doctors. Then, you will have to complete on-the-job training, which is referred to as a residency, to gain skill and experience as a doctor as well as with diagnostic radiology in particular. You will also need specialized training in nuclear medicine to pursue this career. Most jurisdiction will also require you to obtain licensing as a medical doctor.
A medical degree is required when you want to become a nuclear medicine radiologist. To earn it, you will usually have to complete four years of college and then four years of medical school. Your time in medical school will include instruction in the concepts required for becoming a doctor in general, though you will likely learn some about radiology and nuclear medicine as well. In most places, medical school includes time learning in a classroom, practice in laboratories, and hands-on contact with patients under the supervision of instructors.
You'll also have to complete a residency. Residency training prepares you to become a radiologist and diagnose and treat patients on your own. During a residency training program, you will typically evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients under the supervision of more experienced doctors. Over time, you will need less and less supervision until you eventually get to the point that you can see and treat patients on your own. Residency training will likely prepare you to provide a range of medical care and diagnose many conditions, but you can usually choose radiology as your focus.
You will most likely also require training in your nuclear medicine specialty. This usually involves another year or two of training in a nuclear medicine residency or fellowship. The exact length of time you have to train to become a nuclear medicine radiologist, however, may vary based on the jurisdiction in which you will work.
A professional license is also required when you want to practice as a doctor. The procedure for seeking licensure, however, is usually the same as that required for doctors of general medicine. You will usually have to prove your education and training and then pass a rigorous examination or series of exams. Depending on where you live, you may also seek certification after you become a nuclear medicine radiologist by gaining experience in this field and passing further testing.