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Become A Mammography Technician

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Working As A Mammography Technician

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Getting Information
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Repetitive

  • $81,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Mammography Technician Do

Radiologic technologists, also known as radiographers, perform diagnostic imaging examinations, such as x rays, on patients. MRI technologists operate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners to create diagnostic images. 

Duties

Radiologic and MRI technologists typically do the following:

  • Adjust and maintain imaging equipment
  • Precisely follow orders from physicians on what areas of the body to image
  • Prepare patients for procedures, including taking a medical history and answering questions about the procedure
  • Protect the patient by shielding exposed areas that do not need to be imaged
  • Position the patient and the equipment in order to get the correct image
  • Operate the computerized equipment to take the images
  • Work with physicians to evaluate the images and to determine whether additional images need to be taken
  • Keep detailed patient records

Healthcare professionals use many types of equipment to diagnose patients. Radiologic technologists specialize in x-ray and computed tomography (CT) imaging. Some radiologic technologists prepare a mixture for the patient to drink that allows soft tissue to be viewed on the images that the radiologist reviews.

Radiologic technologists might also specialize in mammography. Mammographers use low-dose x-ray systems to produce images of the breast. Technologists may be certified in multiple specialties.

MRI technologists specialize in magnetic resonance imaging scanners. They inject patients with contrast dyes so that the images will show up on the scanner. The scanners use magnetic fields in combination with the contrast agent to produce images that a physician can use to diagnose medical problems.

Healthcare professionals who specialize in other diagnostic equipment include nuclear medicine technologists and diagnostic medical sonographers, and cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including vascular technologists.

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How To Become A Mammography Technician

Radiologic technologists and MRI technologists typically need an associate’s degree. Many MRI technologists start out as radiologic technologists and specialize later in their career. Radiologic technologists must be licensed or certified in most states. Few states license MRI technologists. Employers typically require or prefer prospective technologists to be certified even if the state does not require it.

Education

An associate’s degree is the most common educational requirement for radiologic and MRI technologists. There also are postsecondary education programs that lead to graduate certificates or bachelor’s degrees. Education programs typically include both classroom study and clinical work. Coursework includes anatomy, pathology, patient care, radiation physics and protection, and image evaluation.

The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) accredits programs in radiography. Completing an accredited program is required for licensure in some states.

High school students who are interested in radiologic or MRI technology should take courses that focus on math and science, such as anatomy, biology, chemistry, physiology, and physics. 

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

MRI technologists typically have less than 5 years of work experience as radiologic technologists.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Radiologic technologists must be licensed or certified in most states. Few states license MRI technologists. Requirements vary by state.

To become licensed, technologists must usually graduate from an accredited program, and pass a certification exam from the state or obtain a certification from a certifying body. Certifications for radiologic technologists are available from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Certifications for MRI technologists are available from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) and from the American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists (ARMRIT). For specific licensure requirements for radiologic technologists and MRI technologists, contact the state’s health board.

Employers typically require or prefer prospective technologists to be certified even if the state does not require it.

Important Qualities

Detail oriented. Radiologic and MRI technologists must follow exact instructions to get the images needed for diagnoses.

Interpersonal skills. Radiologic and MRI technologists work closely with patients who may be in extreme pain or mentally stressed. Technologists must be able to put the patient at ease to get usable images.

Math skills. Radiologic and MRI technologists may need to calculate and mix the right doses of chemicals used in imaging procedures.

Physical stamina. Radiologic and MRI technologists often work on their feet for long periods during their shift and they must be able to lift and move patients who need assistance.

Technical skills. Radiologic and MRI technologists must understand how to operate complex machinery.

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Mammography Technician Career Paths

Mammography Technician
CT Technologist Staff Technologist Radiologic Technician
Senior Radiologic Technologist
5 Yearsyrs
CT Technologist Staff Technologist X-Ray Technician
Lead CT Technologist
7 Yearsyrs
CT Technologist Lead Technician Assistant Manager
Center Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Ultrasound Technologist Ob/Gyn Office Manager
Administrative Director
8 Yearsyrs
Ultrasound Technologist Instructor Research Associate
Laboratory Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Ultrasound Technologist Instructor Group Leader
Quality Assurance Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Lead Technician Technical Supervisor Laboratory Manager
Laboratory Director
9 Yearsyrs
Lead Technician Supervisor Clinical Supervisor
Clinical Operations Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Lead Radiologic Technologist Radiology Supervisor Radiology Manager
Director Of Radiology
10 Yearsyrs
Lead Radiologic Technologist Radiology Supervisor
Radiology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Lead Radiologic Technologist Radiology Supervisor Director Of Radiology
Imaging Services Director
11 Yearsyrs
Clinical Instructor Owner Information Technology Director
Chief Technologist
7 Yearsyrs
Clinical Instructor Clinical Coordinator Utilization Review Nurse
Quality Management Specialist
7 Yearsyrs
Clinical Instructor Staff Pharmacist Radiation Safety Officer
Supervisor Nuclear Medicine
7 Yearsyrs
Imaging Specialist X-Ray Technician Nuclear Medicine Technologist
Senior Nuclear Medicine Technologist
6 Yearsyrs
Imaging Specialist X-Ray Technician
Lead MRI Technologist
8 Yearsyrs
Technician Controls Technician Senior Radiologic Technologist
Radiology Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Mammography Technician?

Mammography Technician Demographics

Gender

Female

81.5%

Unknown

14.3%

Male

4.2%
Ethnicity

White

61.8%

Hispanic or Latino

15.2%

Black or African American

11.9%

Asian

7.6%

Unknown

3.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

51.6%

Cantonese

12.9%

Chinese

9.7%

Mandarin

6.5%

Arabic

6.5%

Vietnamese

3.2%

French

3.2%

Greek

3.2%

Korean

3.2%
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Mammography Technician Education

Schools

Keiser University

7.6%

University of Phoenix

7.6%

Ferris State University

5.7%

Adventist University of Health Sciences

5.7%

Bergen Community College

5.7%

Long Beach City College

5.7%

Nassau Community College

5.1%

Houston Community College

5.1%

College of DuPage

5.1%

Weber State University

5.1%

Oregon Institute of Technology

4.5%

Massasoit Community College

4.5%

Saint Joseph's College, New York

4.5%

New York City College of Technology of the City University of New York

4.5%

Pasadena City College

4.5%

Sinclair Community College

3.8%

Foothill College

3.8%

Midwestern State University

3.8%

Cypress College

3.8%

Triton College

3.8%
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Majors

Medical Technician

46.5%

Nuclear And Industrial Radiologic Technologies

20.1%

Military Technology

5.8%

Business

5.2%

Health Sciences And Services

3.3%

Health Care Administration

2.4%

Management

2.0%

Education

2.0%

Military Applied Sciences

1.8%

Clinical Psychology

1.4%

Nursing

1.4%

Public Health

1.2%

Psychology

1.1%

Medical Assisting Services

1.1%

General Studies

1.0%

Communication

0.8%

Medicine

0.7%

Biology

0.7%

Elementary Education

0.7%

Health Education

0.6%
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Degrees

Associate

46.5%

Bachelors

18.6%

Other

18.1%

Certificate

8.9%

Masters

5.4%

Diploma

1.6%

License

0.5%

Doctorate

0.5%
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Top Skills for A Mammography Technician

  1. Mammographic Procedures
  2. Patient Care
  3. Bone Density
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed All Screening digital mammographic procedures.
  • Provided excellent patient care while performing and explaining various mammography-related procedures.
  • Trained to perform bone density examinations for patient diagnosis for osteoporosis.
  • Work closely with different Radiologists and ensure them an accurate biopsy and maximum productivity.
  • Performed diagnostics, screening mammography and needle localizations, while maintaining quality assurance.

How Would You Rate Working As a Mammography Technician?

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