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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

  • $81,326

    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 jobs

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Mammography Technician Career Paths

Mammography Technician
Ultrasound Technologist Instructor Case Manager
Career Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Office Manager/Technician Project Manager Associate Director
Career Services Director
9 Yearsyrs
Office Manager/Technician Optician Center Manager
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Mammographer PRN Nursing Director
Director Of Clinical Operations
13 Yearsyrs
Clinical Applications Specialist Application Specialist Laboratory Supervisor
Director Of Laboratory Services
11 Yearsyrs
Mammographer MRI Technologist Staff Technologist
Director Of Radiology
11 Yearsyrs
MRI Technologist Lead Technician Operations Manager
Division Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Lead Technician Operations Manager Property Manager
Facilities Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Lead Quality Control Technician Travel Technologist Nuclear Medicine Technologist
Imaging Services Director
10 Yearsyrs
Ultrasound Technologist Technical Director Laboratory Director
Medical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Clinical Applications Specialist Clinical Specialist Medical Science Liaison
Medical Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Quality Control Technician Technician Registered Nurse
Nursing Director
9 Yearsyrs
CT Technologist MRI Technologist Lead Technician
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
MRI Technologist Application Specialist Business Analyst
Quality Assurance Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Quality Control Technician Quality Assurance Technician Quality Assurance Manager
Quality Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Lead Technician Service Manager General Manager
Regional Director
9 Yearsyrs
CT Technologist Lead Technician Service Manager
Service Director
9 Yearsyrs
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Mammography Technician Demographics

Gender

Female

93.6%

Male

4.9%

Unknown

1.5%
Ethnicity

White

80.3%

Hispanic or Latino

10.8%

Asian

7.0%

Unknown

1.4%

Black or African American

0.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

52.2%

Cantonese

17.4%

Mandarin

8.7%

Chinese

4.3%

Vietnamese

4.3%

French

4.3%

Greek

4.3%

Korean

4.3%
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Mammography Technician Education

Schools

Bergen Community College

7.5%

Long Beach City College

7.5%

Southwestern Illinois College

6.5%

Weber State University

6.5%

Sinclair Community College

5.4%

Ferris State University

5.4%

Broward College

5.4%

Essex County College

5.4%

University of Saint Francis

4.3%

Oregon Institute of Technology

4.3%

Moorpark College

4.3%

Volunteer State Community College

4.3%

Nassau Community College

4.3%

Delgado Community College

4.3%

Houston Community College

4.3%

College of DuPage

4.3%

Triton College

4.3%

Pasadena City College

4.3%

Mansfield University of Pennsylvania

4.3%

Loma Linda University

3.2%
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Majors

Medical Technician

47.9%

Nuclear And Industrial Radiologic Technologies

17.3%

Business

5.8%

Military Technology

5.1%

Health Sciences And Services

3.4%

Health Care Administration

2.8%

Management

2.3%

Education

1.7%

Military Applied Sciences

1.5%

Clinical Psychology

1.5%

General Studies

1.5%

Public Health

1.3%

Elementary Education

1.3%

Medical Assisting Services

1.1%

Communication

1.1%

Psychology

0.9%

Computer Information Systems

0.9%

Nursing

0.9%

Medicine

0.8%

Biology

0.8%
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Degrees

Associate

42.2%

Other

19.8%

Bachelors

19.3%

Certificate

10.0%

Masters

6.3%

Diploma

1.3%

License

0.5%

Doctorate

0.5%
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Top Skills for A Mammography Technician

AssistRadiologistStereotacticBreastBiopsiesBoneDensityExamsRadiologicTechnologistBreastNeedleLocalizationsMqsaDirectPatientCareHologicSeleniaACRDigitalMammographyBreastUltrasoundBoneDensitometryMammographyTechnologistDexaFluoroscopicProceduresRadiographyQc/QaMammographyEquipmentMammographyDepartmentTomosynthesis

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Top Mammography Technician Skills

  1. Assist Radiologist
  2. Stereotactic Breast Biopsies
  3. Bone Density Exams
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provide appropriate shielding to assure radiation protection, assist Radiologist/Technologist with procedures to help expedite patient flow.
  • Performed General Mammography Procedures and Stereotactic Breast Biopsies, in accordance with department protocols.
  • Perform all Bone Density exams.
  • Provided instruction for students, radiologic technologists, and others as required or requested.
  • Performed all mammography exams, both screening and diagnostic imaging, along with assisting with breast needle localizations.

Top Mammography Technician Employers