A number of variables are involved in medical imaging training. It typically involves the completion of at least a certificate program, and can involve getting an associate's degree or even a bachelor's or medical degree. These programs are usually offered at community colleges and universities and sometimes require that the student take pre-requisite classes before he can enter into the medical imaging training program.
The pre-requisite classes needed for some medical imaging training programs include algebra, chemistry, and biology. These classes are generally only required when medical imaging training involves an associate's degree or higher level of education. Branches of medical imaging include radiology, nuclear medicine, and endoscopy. In addition, medical thermography is also emerging as a popular method of diagnosing certain medical conditions. Thermography uses heat patterns to evaluate and diagnose abnormal areas of tissue.
Ultrasound medical imaging training prepares the student to administer abdominal and other ultrasounds, and ultrasounds of the heart, otherwise known as an echocardiogram. In addition to providing medical imaging training, institutions also provide training in anatomy and physiology so that the student will be able to identify parts of the human body and know how they work.
Doctors who are interested in medical imaging training complete residencies in radiology. The radiologist not only interprets x-rays, but certain types of radiologists called interventional radiologists also perform a variety of medical procedures. These procedures include angiography or balloon angioplasty, placement of tubes into the bile duct system and kidney tube placement. X-rays and ultrasound are typically used during the interventional radiography procedure, so not only does the radiologist need to understand how to perform the procedure, he needs to know how to interpret imaging studies.
A nuclear medicine technician learns about procedures that typically use substances called contrast dyes. These procedures include gallium scans, which uses gallium to search for abnormalities in the body, and cardiac perfusion scans. The nuclear medical technologist not only needs to know how to perform the tests, but also need to know how to take care of the patient before, during, and after the examination. Also, certain substances used in nuclear medicine can cause allergic reactions, which the tech needs to be aware of.
Most medical imaging training takes place at a hospital, but the classroom instruction is generally offered at the college. For the new student, training is generally performed on a mannequin. As the training progresses, however, the student will work with real patients, in real-life situations. It is important to note the instructor is always present to supervise.