Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get started in Mammography?
The first thing that is important to know is that you must be a registered x-ray technologist either through the ARRT, or have received licensure to perform x-rays through your state, or you have been certified in general radiography by a certification body approved by the FDA. Second, you will need to complete and document 40 hours of training/education specific to mammography under the supervision of a qualified instructor(s). Third, you must perform a minimum of 25 mammographic examinations under the supervision of a qualified mammography technologist or radiologist. With the exception of the state of California, the 25 supervised mammograms can be completed before taking the ARRT mammography boards and will count for 12.5 hours of the required 40 hours leaving 27.5 hours to be completed in a didactic fashion.
How long do I have to complete both my coursework and 25 supervised mammograms?
Although it is recommended that the coursework and the 25 supervised mammograms be completed within a 2 year timeframe, under MQSA, there is no time limit to complete both the coursework and 25 supervised mammograms.
Do I need to have an “M” to be able to perform mammography?
Under the Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA) you do not need an “M” to perform mammography independently. You need to be a licensed x-ray technologist who has obtained 40 hours of mammography continuing education and performed 25 mammograms in the presence of a qualified mammographer. (Again, the 25 supervised mammograms will count as 12.5 hours toward the 40 required leaving 27.5 hours of didactic needed). However, you should check with your particular state to find out if an “M” is required under your state law. Usually having your “M” is a facility driven issue and you will be more likely to obtain a job in mammography if you have taken the boards and received your “M”.
What will your Initial Training in Mammography course do for me?
Our course serves 2 purposes. First, it meets all the MQSA requirements under U.S. law that need to be included in your initial training requirements, such as so many hours of breast anatomy, physiology, positioning and compression, implant positioning, physics, pathology, QC, etc. Second, our course serves as an ARRT mammography review course. We will cover all the material in our course pertaining to the ARRT and California mammography boards.
Do I need to have completed x-ray school and obtained my RT before taking your Initial Training in Mammography Course?
No, you may attend our course before receiving your R.T. and it will still count toward your initial training in mammography hours once you receive your R.T.
Do I have to be an RT for one year before I can enter mammography?
The ARRT rule used to state that you needed to be an R.T. for one year before applying to sit for their mammography certification exam. That rule no longer exists. Currently, you may enter into mammography directly from x-ray school. The current requirements mandate that you have met the standards defined by MQSA to perform mammography (See answer to question 1) and have performed certain clinical experience requirements that can be found on pages 29 of the ARRT Mammography Certification Handbook.
Will I be able to take the mammography boards as soon as I complete your course?
No. After completing our course, you must perform the clinical experience requirements found on pages 29 of the ARRT Mammography Certification Handbook. Those requirements include, performing a minimum of 100 mammograms, performing a minimum number of quality control tests and procedures, observe, assist or perform a minimum of 4 procedures listed in the handbook, and review at least 10 mammographic examinations with a radiologist.
Once I begin logging the ARRT Mammography Clinical Experience Requirements, how long to I have to complete the clinical experience requirements before applying for the ARRT Mammography Board Exam?
Once you begin documenting the clinical experience requirements, all of the dates in your booklet must be within 24 months of applying for the ARRT Mammography Certification Exam.
How do I find out where I can sit for the mammography boards?
A geographic list of the Pearson Vue Testing Centers is listed in Appendix C of the ARRT Mammography Certification Handbook.
How often are the mammography boards offered?
The ARRT Mammography Boards are offered once a month.
Do I have to take the boards in my state?
No you may sit for the ARRT mammography boards in the Pearson Vue Testing Center closest to you, even if it is located in a different state.
Am I qualified to perform mammography independently before taking my boards?
Yes, as long as you have met the standards defined by the MQSA to perform mammography (See answer to question 1).
How do I obtain the ARRT Mammography Certification Handbook and how much does it cost?
What is the FDA Hotline number if I have any questions regarding MQSA regulations?
The FDA Hotline number is 1-800-838-7715.
How do I keep my Mammography certification active?
Once you have legally become qualified to perform mammography under MQSA regulations, you need to obtain 15 credits in mammography every 3 years and have documentation of performing 200 mammograms every 2 years in order to keep your qualification.
How do I get started in mammography if I am from California?
If you are a resident of California and plan on entering mammography in California, you must observe the following requirements, and in order. First, you must obtain 40 hours of mammography continuing education credits. Second, you must then take the California mammography certification exam and pass it. Third, you must perform 25 supervised mammograms under direct supervision of a qualified mammographer under MQSA regulations. It is important to note that in the state of California, you must not perform your 25 supervised mammograms until you have taken, and passed the California Certification exam. (Unless you are enrolled in an approved x-ray school program).
If I am going to be working in a digital mammography center, do I need to perform my 25 supervised mammograms on a digital unit?
No, if you are going to be performing mammograms on a digital mammography unit, you can obtain your supervised mammograms on either a digital or an analog unit. What is required before you can perform mammograms on a digital mammography unit is that you have obtained 8 hours in digital mammography training (which does not need to be hands on training). Achieving Quality Imaging offers an 8 hour digital mammography seminar that qualifies for your required 8 hours of digital training. It is approved for radiologists and for technologists. Visit our home page for further information.
If I am working in a digital mammography facility, do I need a certain number of continuing education credits in digital mammography on an ongoing basis?
No, MQSA requires that you obtain 15 credits in mammography every three years. This mammography continuing education can be in analog or digital mammography. There is a one time only need for 8 hours of initial digital mammography training before performing mammography on a digital mammography machine. After the initial 8 hours is accomplished, the required 15 credits in mammography every 3 years can be in analog or digital.