You want to become an MRI technologist. How can you get started?

The truth is that there are some specific steps you need to take before you can complete MRI training. It can be complex at times, but it is necessary to do the job well.

What do the MRI courses look like? How long is the training program? What are MRI technologist expected to do?

Keep reading to get answers to these questions and more so that you can see if this is the right field for you.

What is an MRI Technologist’s Role?

MRI technologist, also called MRI technician or MRI techs, are an important part of the allied health industry. 

The main role is to help prepare patients for MRI procedures and to position them before the procedure is done. Then, images are created of the inside of the patient’s body using the MRI machine and computerized scanner.

MRI technologists are asked to help talk to and calm patients that are nervous about the procedure and explain the procedure. After the MRI is done, a radiologist or physician will come to analyze the scans.

This is an important role to have in the medical field because MRI scans help us to see more about what is happening in the body.

You work as part of a health care team to deal with the patient’s symptoms and concerns.

Depending on where you work, it is likely you will regularly work with X-ray technologists, sonographers, mammographers, and radiation therapy techs. In addition, you will need to be able to talk with supervising physicians and other medical professionals as well.

It is an essential part of the process to have someone trained, educated, and prepared to handle patients before and during their MRI procedure.

How Much Does an MRI Tech Make Each Year?

While the work that is done in this field is a great reward, we all have bills and obligations to consider as well.

MRI technologists generally will make around $61,240 per year on average. This will also vary based on where you work, how long you have been in the field, and how much experience you have.

The more education and experience you have, the higher pay you will receive. This is true with any career, so it is important to think about this before you go into any program to see if you want to pursue other education routes first. 

Where Do MRI Technologists Work?

In this type of position, you will plan to work in a medical facility. A lot of MRI technologists work in hospitals or clinics, but also privately owned doctor’s offices.

You could also potentially find work in specific government or VA hospitals.  Outpatient imaging facilities also need MRI technologists. Even mobile imaging facilities exist that need the assistance of MRI techs.

As you can see, there are a few options about where you will be able to search for work when the time comes. This makes it easier on people when they are trying to get their foot in the door within this type of role.

How Long Does the MRI Training Program Take to Complete?

Each of the MRI programs out there have their own requirements that must be considered. Some may only require you to have a GED or a high school diploma and others may ask that you have an associate’s degree under your belt already.

Before you start a program, it is a good idea to take classes that are relevant to the field.  You could also try to get clinical experience with a registered MRI technologist. 

If you already have an Associate’s Degree in Radiologic Technology, you will likely be able to qualify as an MRI technologist faster.  Be sure to look into ARRT®’s Post-Primary Structured Education Requirements to qualify you to sit for the boards.

It is possible to get a blended online and in-person program in your quest to become an MRI Technologist, but due to the nature of the work, in-person and hands-on is best when possible.

What Types of Courses Do You Take?

Some of the courses subjects you may be asked to take will include information about the body, technology, and ethics.  This could include a course about scanner operations, radiation safety, MRI protocol and procedures, or laws and ethics related to imaging. In addition, expect to take courses in anatomy, physiology, and other aspects of medical conditions.

Learning about patient care and the characteristics that go along with a good caregiver are also important.

Ready to Get Started?

If you know that MRI training is the right path for you, be sure to get started right away. It can take up to a couple of years to complete training and then you still need to apply for licensure when done.

Remember your training and all of the education that you have worked for to be able to do the role. It will help you become a better employee at your job and a better healthcare provider overall.

In addition, be sure to take your continuing education after you start working. Not only will you likely come across information you hadn’t considered before, but you will learn about new equipment and will be able to grow as a technologist!

The good news is that there are a lot of options available to help you study, so check out our website to find out more about what we can offer for your continuing education.