Thermography in medicine is a diagnostic technique used to study blood flow and detect tumors, according to WordNet. The technique requires the use of a thermograph that records the heat that different parts of the body produce. Outside of the medical field, thermography also can be useful in fields such as building diagnostics, commercial electrical work and even law enforcement, according to the Infrared Training Center in Massachusetts. According to SimplyHired.com, salaries for thermography jobs average $38,000, at the time of publication. Training programs teach students how to effectively use the equipment they need.

Thermography Defined

Thermography is also called infrared imaging or thermal imaging. Professionals in the field of clinical thermography analyze skin surface temperatures to detect normal or abnormal physiology. They do this by comparing a person’s temperatures against the normal values of the distribution of heat in various regions of the body as researched at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, according to the International Academy of Clinical Thermology. These professionals typically use infrared cameras or even liquid crystal plates for diagnosing a variety of disorders such as breast cancer, vascular and nervous system disorders. Thermographers in other fields also use infrared training in the building sciences industry to detect water or energy leaks, according to Alpine Building Inspection Inc. in Colorado. Training programs provide students with the technical skills they need to work in various aspects of the thermography field.

Training Requirements

To work as a clinical thermographic technician, individuals should be certified by organizations such as the International Academy of Clinical Thermology or the American Academy of Medical Infrared Imaging. These individuals must be licensed to diagnose. Those who are interested in the complex area of breast thermography must also complete advanced postgraduate training specifically addressing this area of the body. Courses for medical thermographers and professionals in other industries, such as environmental studies, are available at multiple institutions. The Infraspection Institute in New Jersey is the only provider of comprehensive online training courses. Courses should meet the American Society for Nondestructive Testing training requirements.

Level One Certification

The first level of infrared training certification teaches students how to use infrared cameras correctly to gather data. Students learn how to calculate accurate, repeatable temperature measurements, according to the Academy of Infrared Training in Washington. Students also learn about topics such as distance to target, emissivity and reflected ambient. Programs may additionally teach how thermal imaging applies to forensic investigations and building sciences. Programs allow students to practice both in class and in the field.

Level Two Certification

Students in the second level of thermography training learn to develop new inspection procedures and use infrared trending or software programs. They also work to improve their measurement skills for accuracy and diagnosis. This program covers topics such as thermal analysis, advanced theory, equipment operations, error sources, equipment calibration, quantitative report generation and even marketing.

Level Three Certification

Level three programs prepare students to actually initiate and manage an infrared thermographic program. This involves directing other thermographers to provide written procedures and purchase adequate equipment. Courses also cover current industry standards and specifications, thermography as legal documentation and Occupational Safety and Health Administration safety standards.