A mammographer is a trained technician who operates specially designed machines that will examine the human breast for signs of breast cancer. To become a mammographer, you will need to complete at least a two-year degree program in radiology, and you will need to complete all other regional or national requirements regarding radiology and mammography. Once you complete the two-year degree, or sometimes even during your degree education, you will need to take specific training courses for mammography in order to become a mammographer. You will need to complete and pass a certification exam, but before you can register for this exam, you will need to perform mammograms.
You will likely perform mammograms under the direct supervision of an experienced mammographer to gain the experience necessary to become a mammographer yourself. This requirement may be met as part of a degree program, or an internship may be set up after the degree program ends. Two-year and four-year degree options are available; while only a two-year degree is usually necessary, a four-year degree may improve your chances of securing employment. Your education is likely to focus primarily on radiology, though you may need to complete pathology courses, physiology courses, and courses that focus on medical terminology.
It will be necessary for you to research the different licensing requirements for you to become a mammographer in your region or country. The requirements may differ, even by institution, but in general, you will need to get licensed to perform mammograms. Be sure to research re-certification rules as well. It may be necessary for you to become re-certified periodically after you become a mammographer, and you may need to take part in professional development courses and training to stay up to date on new technology and techniques.
After you become a mammographer, you will need to improve your skills in communications, as you will be dealing directly with patients for much of your work day. It may help to take a communications course, or seek out some advice regarding patient interaction. You will also spend most of your day standing up, so it helps to be in good physical condition. If possible, try to talk to a person who currently holds the position you are trying to obtain yourself to find out what a day in the life on the job is like. This will give you a more accurate determination as to whether it is the right career for you.