With Mammography Technologists being on the front line of screening both women and men for breast cancer and other medical conditions, completing all required mammography training programs is an important requirement. A Mammography Technologist uses x-ray systems to take pictures of the breast, assists physicians in reviewing the results of these crucially important x-rays, and keeps a record of the procedure in the patient’s file.
In order to hold a career as a Mammography Technologist, you must acquire extensive training in order to adequately use this type of imaging equipment. For a basic job in mammography, all applicants will require formal training that is recognized by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT), but the required training often goes far beyond this.
We’re going to take a look at mammography training programs and requirements in this extensive guide, so you can know exactly what may be ahead of you in a career as a Mammography Technologist.
Formal Mammography Training Programs Recognized by the ARRT
First and foremost, applicants seeking formal training in the field of mammography must enroll in a mammography school’s associate’s degree or certificate programs that have been recognized and approved by the ARRT. In the case of both an associate’s degree and certificate, it is required that curriculum-based internships and clinic work is completed, where students may work with mammography equipment and begin to work with patients.
Associate of Applied Science in Radiologic Technology
In the case of an associate’s degree, students will gain their initial mammography training and structured education requirements by studying relevant topics to mammography technology, with supervised clinical work being a requirement of all programs. Courses in this program may include:
- Applied Radiography
- Radiation Protection
- Radiation Physics
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging
- Essentials of Human Anatomy & Physiology
Post-Associate Mammography Certificate Program
In the case of a post-associate mammography program, students have already completed the requirements needed to become radiologic technologists. The majority of these programs only last one semester and include classroom instruction and clinical training.
Students expand on their knowledge of radiology and mammography in these programs, learning how to evaluate pathology reports, gaining a thorough knowledge of breast anatomy, and learning how to position machinery. Topics covered in a post-associate mammography certificate program will include:
- Breast Anatomy and Physiology
- Positioning and Compression
- Breast MRI
- Imaging of Patients with Breast Implants
Licenses and Certifications
Once applicants have fulfilled all requirements of their educational programs, they will be required to gain professional post-primary certification through the ARRT. Applicants must pass the ARRT exam to gain their professional certification, which covers topics such as patient care, image evaluation and procedures, anatomy, and instrumentation. In order to sustain the ARRT certification, 24 hours of continuing education classes are required to be completed by the applicant every two years.
There are a wide range of options available for the 24 hours of continuing education classes required to sustain a professional certification. Workshops, seminars, teleconferences, and online courses are available which discuss new types of x-ray images, screening techniques, and computer-based mammography reports.
In addition to an associate’s degree and post-associate mammography certificate program, Mammography Technologists can seek further education by earning a bachelor’s degree in radiologic science or technology. One of the many benefits of furthering your education by way of a degree, is that most baccalaureate degree programs accept transfer credits from an associate’s degree program in radiology technology. By obtaining a bachelor’s degree, Mammography Technologists may also become eligible for management or supervisory positions.
Mammography Training Programs and Employment as a Mammography Technologist
Becoming employed as a Mammography Technologist is the final goal of participating in any mammography training programs and requirements. Employers will have required their applicants to have completed all of the necessary steps above, including performing the minimum 25 mammography examinations under supervision, as well as holding professional certification from the AART.
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