What Skills Are Taught in Mammography Training Courses ?

Mammography training courses provide a comprehensive overview of the knowledge and skills necessary to perform cancer screenings on breast tissue. Though these courses vary, most require students to have a baseline understanding of ultrasound and X-ray technologies. Read on to learn more about mammography training courses. Schools offering Cardiovascular Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Mammography Technologist Career Information

Mammography is a field of radiography that utilizes special equipment and low-dose X-rays to create images of breast tissue for cancer screenings. A growing awareness of the benefits of early detection of breast cancer has created an increased need for mammography specialists. Jobs for all types of radiology technologists, including mammography technologists, are expected to grow 12% between 2016 and 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This is a faster rate than the growth for all occupations.

Important Information About This Occupation

Median Salary (2018) $59,520 (for radiologic and MRI technologists)
Entry-level Education Associate's degree
Key Skills Detail oriented, interpersonal skills, math skills, physical stamina, technical skills
Work Environment Hospital, out-patient care center, medical laboratories

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Skills Taught in a Mammography Training Course

A base knowledge of radiography is generally assumed at the start of nearly all specialized mammography training courses, which may be hosted within associate, bachelor's or master's degree programs for radiology. At the graduate level, or for courses offered as part of a specialized practicum, a certain amount of experience with radiology may also be required.

Mammography training courses vary in length, but generally cover breast-specific topics in anatomy, positioning, quality control and imaging issues. Students learn patient positioning as well as how to use low-dose X-ray systems to create a comprehensive image of breast tissue. They also undertake training to handle screening situations with efficiency and professionalism. Mammogram analysis lessons help students differentiate between images for diagnostic purposes. Mammography training courses require students to gain skills through hands-on clinical practice of:

  • Needle localizations
  • Breast MRI
  • Stereotactic procedures
  • Ductography
  • Implant imaging
  • Breast ultrasound

Licensure

Most states require state-issued certification for radiology technicians. Most mammography training courses are designed to help graduates earn certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). This license requires candidates to perform a variety of radiological procedures efficiently. Starting in 2016, applicants must complete 16 hours of formal education. They must also have 40 hours of documented, supervised mammography training with a qualified instructor. Additional stipulations for mammography licensure include these tasks:

  • Perform 100 mammograms (25 supervised by a registered ARRT professional).
  • Participate in all aspects of mammography system quality control tests.
  • Evaluate 20 mammograms with a radiologist.
  • Partake in at least four special interventional examinations (e.g. needle localizations).

After initial certification, mammography professionals must maintain the credential through continuing education coursework every two years. They must also agree to comply with the ARRT rules and regulations as well as the code of ethics. Every ten years, the ARRT expects registered technicians to complete continuing qualifications requirement.

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