This apprenticeship has been retired

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Overview of the role

Operating specialist equipment used to screen people for breast cancer.

Mammography associate

Reference Number: ST0583

Details of standard

Occupational Profile

Mammography Associates work within the breast imaging workforce undertaking routine two-view mammography (x-ray images of breasts). You will work in a multi-disciplinary team within a hospital or in a community setting (e.g. mobile breast screening units, medical centres), undertaking mammography of individuals as part of a breast screening programme.  You will also be able to undertake routine mammography on individuals with symptoms of breast disease. You will have a good understanding of breast anatomy, physiology and pathology, including clinical signs and symptoms of breast cancer, and be able to apply knowledge of ionising radiation regulations.  You will be technically skilled in operating specialised mammography equipment and be responsible for monitoring equipment function and performance.  You will have responsibility for producing mammography images of consistently high quality to meet rigorous NHS Breast Screening Programme (NHSBSP) standards. You will have excellent interpersonal skills and provide high quality care for individuals attending for mammography.  You will work under the supervision of a radiographer.

Responsibilities and duties of the role

Mammography Associates will be required to:

  • prepare individuals, equipment and work environments for clinical mammography
  • operate specialised mammography equipment safely and within standard operating procedures
  • reassure, advise and support individuals using effective interpersonal and communication skills
  • produce high quality mammography images
  • maintain comprehensive and accurate records
  • use information management systems effectively
  • promote and maintain professional practice
  • evaluate own technical performance and suggest improvement strategies
  • perform and document routine regulatory quality control tests on all mammographic equipment
  • monitor equipment performance and report exceptional results
  • work as part of the multi-disciplinary breast care team
  • maintain health and safety in the workplace


Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the end-point assessment.  For those with an education, health and care plan, or a legacy statement, the apprenticeships English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3 and British Sign Language qualification are an alternative to English qualifications for whom this is their primary language.




Typically 12 months

Review date: 

After 3 years


Mammography Associates must:

  • Treat individuals with dignity, respecting their beliefs, culture, values and preferences
  • Adopt an empathic approach and demonstrate discretion
  • Demonstrate courage to challenge areas of concern
  • Be adaptable and responsive to changing service needs


Mammography Associates must:

  • Be caring and compassionate, honest, conscientious and committed to delivering a high quality experience to individuals attending for mammography


What you will be able to do:

What you will know and understand:

Clinical Mammography

1.1   Positively identify individuals attending for mammography

1.2   Prepare equipment and environments appropriately for mammography

1.3   Prepare individuals appropriately for mammography

1.4   Employ effective positioning and immobilisation to achieve images of high quality

1.5   Operate mammography equipment safely and effectively within protocol

1.6   Refer to an appropriate member of the multi-disciplinary breast care team where required

1.7   Assess the technical quality of images produced

1.8   Process and store images

1.9   Advise individuals of the results process and give any necessary additional information within the scope of your responsibility

1.10 Maintain comprehensive and accurate records of the procedure


1.1   Normal breast anatomy, physiology and pathology

1.2   Principles of informed consent and the actions to take if consent is withdrawn

1.3   NHSBSP standards and quality assurance process

1.4   The role of other imaging and treatment modalities

1.5   The types of external abnormalities of the breasts that need to be observed and recorded

1.6   Effective positioning and immobilisation

1.7   Adaptation of technique to optimise image quality

1.8   Standards for assessing the technical quality of images

1.9   When it is necessary to refer to an appropriate member of the multi-disciplinary breast care team, including the supervisory radiographer

1.10 How to advise individuals of the results process and give additional information within the scope of your responsibility

1.11 Systems for image processing, storage and retrieval

Mammography Science

2.1   Maintain the radiation safety of all individuals in the working environment in line with current legislation

2.2   Work in accordance with ionising radiation regulations

2.3   Use information management systems effectively

2.4   Safely operate mammography equipment


2.1    How radiation is produced and its interaction with matter

2.2    The radiobiological effects of radiation - short and long term risks

2.3    Radiation protection of self and others

2.4    The relationship between anatomy, pathophysiology and the imaging process

2.5    The application of ionising radiation regulations

2.6    The basic design, function and operation of mammography image acquisition and display equipment

Quality Assurance

3.1   Participate in mammography quality control

3.2   Adhere to NHSBSP standards of performance

3.1    The principles and methods of quality control and quality assurance in mammography

3.2    The relevant national standards and local guidelines for quality assurance

Professional Practice

4.1   Practise safely within relevant legal, ethical, professional and local frameworks and protocols

4.2   Work individually, collaboratively and in partnership to deliver person-centred care

4.3   Manage self and own work effectively

4.4   Apply effective interpersonal and communication skills to engage with individuals

4.5   Demonstrate accountability, recognising and responding appropriately to strengths and limitations in own knowledge, skills and attributes

4.6   Ensure own actions promote equality and diversity

4.7   Comply with legal, professional and local requirements for the delivery of clinical mammography

4.8   Make use of supervision and pastoral care

4.9   Make use of reflective practice to engage in continuing professional development

4.10      Engage in effective health promotion


4.1    The relevant legal, ethical, professional and local frameworks and protocols in the mammography context

4.2    Principles of person-centred care

4.3    How to meet the care needs of individuals and their accompanying companions with sensitivity and respect

4.4    Principles of effective interpersonal and communication skills

4.5    How to exercise personal responsibility and work within defined parameters of practice, legislation and local policies

4.6    How to operate within your own scope of practice

4.7    The responsibilities and professional values of a mammography practitioner

4.8    The importance of personal health, resilience and wellbeing

4.9    The value of appropriately-timed health promotion interventions

4.10      Principles of audit and research
Team Working 5.1   Work effectively within the multi-disciplinary breast care team
5.2        Promote a positive, safe and effective working environment
5.1    The role and function of the multi-disciplinary breast care team
5.2        Principles of effective team-working 
Health and Safety 6.1   Demonstrate proficiency in basic life-support techniques, infection control, safe moving and handling and other mandatory training requirements
6.2        Safeguard individuals in accordance with legal and organisational requirements
6.1    Basic life support techniques

6.2    Principles of infection control, safe moving and handling, and other mandatory training requirements

6.3    How to maintain health and safety in the workplace

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Status: Retired
Level: 4
Reference: ST0583
Version: 1.1
Date updated: 01/02/2024
Approved for delivery: 22 August 2018
Route: Health and science
Minimum duration to gateway : 12 months (this does not include EPA period)
Maximum funding: £5000
LARS Code: 340
EQA Provider: Ofqual
Employers involved in creating the standard: Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, St George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, King's College Hospital, Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, The Jarvis Breast Centre, Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Maidstone and Tunbridge Well NHS Trust, University of Salford

Version log

Version Change detail Earliest start date Latest start date Latest end date
1.2 Occupational standard, end-point assessment plan and funding band revised 01/02/2024 Not set Not set
1.1 End-point assessment plan revised. 26/10/2020 31/01/2024 Not set
1.0 Retired 22/08/2018 25/10/2020 Not set

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