Mammography courses are part of the curriculum for a bachelor's degree program in radiological science. While coursework is offered online, lab requirements and clinical experience mean the degree program cannot be completed totally through distance education. Students who already are registered radiological technicians may earn some credits in recognition of their training and experience.
Students in a radiological science bachelor's degree program study imaging techniques, positioning, equipment operation and radiation protection. They take courses in anatomy, medical terminology and pathophysiology. A course in mammography is part of the program. These programs also include externships in which students get hands-on experience. General education courses such as social studies, English composition and algebra are required, too.
Students should make sure that any program they are considering is licensed by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JCERT). Most states mandate that radiological technicians, including mammographers, be licensed or certified. Requirements generally include graduation from an accredited program and passing a certification exam.
Bachelor of Science in Radiological Science
A Bachelor of Science in Radiological Science degree program gives students the knowledge and practical skills necessary to enter a career in the medical field in a variety of occupations involving radiological science. Radiological technicians are responsible for taking and developing x-rays to be used for diagnosing internal medical problems. They are skilled in the operation of x-ray equipment and maintaining patient files. Mammographers are technicians who specialize in using imaging procedures to diagnose breast cancer. The goal of a bachelor's degree program is to prepare students for a specific career path in radiological science or graduate studies.
Program Information and Requirements
Typically, it takes students four years to complete the requirements of a bachelor's degree program. For students unable to relocate for school or who are currently employed, an online degree program is a viable option.
Online program participants will need at minimum access to a computer with high-speed Internet and an e-mail account. Schools may have their own specifications concerning Web browsers, software or other systems requirements. Instructors may combine textbooks with modern teaching technologies, including the use of a course management tool such as Blackboard Vista and online presentations, to create a virtual classroom.
A bachelor's degree program in radiological science is comprised of general educational requirements as well as courses designed specifically for the major. Courses are intended to prepare students for a specialized career field.
Basics of Mammography
This course trains technicians in the practices and principles of performing superior mammography examinations. Students receive a brief history of breast cancer and the evolution of detection technology. They may also learn about how to educate patients and receive instruction on mammography-related topics such as troubleshooting, positioning patients and instrumentation.
Health Care and Statistics
This is a non-mathematical course in statistics for radiological science majors intended to show how techniques and data structures can be relevant to patient care. Some special topics of interest include using statistics to understand clinical data, procedure selection, central tendency and variability, probability, data association and prediction, analysis of variance and evaluation of diagnostic procedures.
Students study the reaction to radiation as seen in biological molecules, living systems and organisms, with an emphasis on analyzing and recording biological response. Acute and long-term effects of exposure and the use of radiation in medical diagnosis are topics of focus.
A 2015 report by the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted a 9% growth in employment for radiologic technologists from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). In May of 2015 the BLS reported an annual median salary of $56,670 for these highly specialized technicians. According to the BLS, in 2014 about 59% of all radiological technologists worked in hospitals.
In additional to formal education, most states require technicians to be licensed, noted the BLS. Licensing requirements differ by state, so prospective radiological technicians should check with their state board of health. A bachelor's degree is considered the terminal degree in radiological science. However, a master's degree in business or health administration might be helpful for advancement to department administrator or department director.
Students who are interested in mammography can pursue undergraduate degrees in radiological science, the coursework for which can be completed online. Students will have to complete an externship or clinical experience to learn the necessary hands-on skills needed to be successful in this field.