MRI Careers: Job Description & Salary Info

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What are the pros and cons of a career in the field of MRI? Get real job descriptions and education requirements to see if a career in MRI technology is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of an MRI Career

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a medical diagnostic procedure used to create images of cross sections of a patient's body. Learn more about this occupation below:

MRI Technologist
Career OverviewMRI technologists conduct diagnostic imaging exams to help physicians determine illnesses and malformations
Education RequirementsAssociate's degree
Program Length2 years
Certification and LicensingLicensure or certification required in most states; voluntary certification available from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT)
Job Outlook for 2012-2022Faster-than-average job growth (24%)*
Mean Annual Salary (2013)$65,960*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

MRI Technologist

As an MRI technologist, you'll operate diagnostic equipment that utilizes radio frequencies and magnetic fields to map an image of a specific area of a patient's body. A physician can use this image to diagnose a medical problem. Along with maintaining and adjusting MRI equipment, you may take a patient's medical history, discuss the procedure with the patient and properly position the person so the MRI machine obtains an accurate image. MRI technologists also consult with radiologists to see if more images are needed, and they document the procedures performed and maintain patient records. Most MRI technologists work in hospitals, while others work in physicians' offices and medical laboratories.

Requirements

Most MRI technologists enter the field with associate's degrees in the discipline, but bachelor's degrees and postsecondary certificate programs in MRI technology are also available. An associate's program in MRI technology includes courses in human anatomy and physiology, MRI equipment, sectional anatomy, pathophysiology and physics. These programs also incorporate clinical practicums that provide you with hands-on training in MRI technology.

Depending on the state in which you work, you may be required to obtain licensure or certification in order to practice as an MRI technologist. This usually entails completion of an accredited postsecondary program and passage of an ARRT certification exam or an exam administered by the state board of health.

Below is a sample of what real employers were looking for in December 2012:

  • A Missouri diagnostic imaging center was seeking an MRI technologist with 2 years of experience who had completed an accredited radiologic technology program. Registration with ARRT or eligibility to register was required.
  • A medical center in California wanted to hire an MRI technologist with an associate's degree in radiologic technology, 3 years of MRI experience, ARRT certification and state radiologic technologist registration.
  • A New York medical center sought an MRI technologist with state licensure and ARRT certification in radiologic technology as well as 1 year of experience.

How to Stand Out

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, you can increase your chances of landing a job if you become certified in several areas. The ARRT offers numerous certifications, and many employers emphasize the need for certification through this organization, even if it is not required by the state. You could, for example, obtain primary certification in magnetic resonance imaging, which requires completion of an accredited MRI program within the past 5 years and passage of an exam. You could also obtain credentials in areas like nuclear medicine technology, radiography, computed tomography and quality management. Certification must be renewed every 2 years by completing continuing education.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Purdue University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS in Nursing
      • Master of Healthcare Admin
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Health Science
      • Bachelors of Science in Nursing - RN to BSN (RN License Required)
      • Bachelor: Healthcare Admin
  • Campus Locations:
    2. College of Health Care Professions

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Limited Medical Radiologic Technologist-Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
    Master's
      • MBA: Health Systems Management
      • MS in Health Care Administration
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Health Sciences: Professional Development & Advanced Patient Care
      • Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science
      • BS in Health Care Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Regent University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Healthcare Management
      • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management
  • Online Programs Available
    5. The George Washington University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSHS Medical Laboratory Sciences
      • MSHS in Immunohematology and Biotechnology
      • MSHS in Molecular Diagnostic Sciences
      • MSHS in Translational Microbiology
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Public Safety Leadership
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science - Medical Assisting Services
    Certificate
      • Diploma: Medical Assisting
  • Online Programs Available
    7. University of the Southwest

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA Healthcare Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Organizational Leadership: Health Care Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Abilene Christian University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA - Healthcare Administration
      • Master of Science in Management - Healthcare Administration
  • Campus and Online Programs
    10. South College

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Health Science with a Concentration in Radiography
      • Bachelor of Science in Health Science with a Concentration in Diagnostic Medical Sonography
      • Bachelor of Science in Health Science with a Concentration in Magnetic Resonance Imaging
      • Bachelor of Science in Health Science with a Concentration in Computed Tomography
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science in Radiography
      • Associate of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography
      • Associate of Science in Health Science
    Certificate
      • Certificate in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
      • Certificate in Computed Tomography (CT)

Featured Schools

Purdue University Global

  • MS in Nursing
  • Master of Healthcare Admin
  • Bachelor: Health Science
  • Bachelors of Science in Nursing - RN to BSN (RN License Required)

Which subject are you interested in?

College of Health Care Professions

  • Limited Medical Radiologic Technologist-Certificate

What is your highest level of education completed?

Grand Canyon University

  • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
  • MBA: Health Systems Management
  • BS in Health Sciences: Professional Development & Advanced Patient Care

What is your highest level of education?

Regent University

  • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
  • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Healthcare Management
  • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

The George Washington University

  • MSHS Medical Laboratory Sciences
  • MSHS in Immunohematology and Biotechnology
  • MSHS in Molecular Diagnostic Sciences

What is your highest level of education?

Herzing University

  • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Public Safety Leadership
  • Associate of Science - Medical Assisting Services
  • Diploma: Medical Assisting

What is your highest level of education?

University of the Southwest

  • MBA Healthcare Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Northcentral University

  • MS - Organizational Leadership: Health Care Administration

What is your highest level of education?