MRI Technician

How to Become an MRI Technician
MRI Technician Job Duties
Skills and Qualities of an MRI Technician
MRI Technician Salary
Influential Professionals in the MRI Technician Field
Leading Organizations in this Field
Top Cities for MRI Technician Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become an MRI Technician

If you are interested in becoming an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) technician (also sometime called an MRI technologist or simply an MRI tech), a good way to start is by focusing on math and science in school. Specific classes to take include anatomy, microbiology, physics, and chemistry. It is also a good idea to familiarize yourself with basic medical terminology.

Once you have completed high school (which is a must) two year associates degree programs in Radiologic Technology are readily available at local vocational schools and community colleges. Please note; ensure that any program you complete is from a school that is properly accredited. A list of accredited programs can be obtained from The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) which can be found here:

After obtaining your degree, obtaining a one year MRI Technology certificate is recommended as well. This will provide you with additional technical expertise and allow you to focus specifically on MRI technology.

What does an MRI Technician do?

MRI technicians, use a magnetic resonance imaging (an MRI machine) to get an internal look at both hard and soft tissues within a human body. The machine makes use of giant magnets and radio waves (as opposed to x-ray machines that use radiation) to generate internal images of these tissues. Part of an MRI technician's job is to ensure the patient is properly positioned for the images to be taken.

It is also an MRI technician's job to ensure the images are taken correctly to interpret the images and write a report for the doctor that requested the test. Additionally, the MRI technician is responsible for ensuring the machinery is working properly by performing maintenance tests.

What skills or qualities do I need to become an MRI Technician?

As mentioned previously, a high school diploma or equivalent is a must and a minimum of a two year college degree is usually required by most employers. There are other educational programs available as well that range from one year certificates to bachelor's and graduate degrees.

It is helpful for MRI technicians to be caring and compassionate people. Often they are working with patients who may be frightened or nervous. Sometimes the MRI machine itself can be a source of stress to the patient as there tight quarters can sometimes cause people to become claustrophobic. Because of these factors, it is very helpful for MRI technicians to be patient (no pun intended) and exhibit strong interpersonal skills.

How much does an MRI Technician make?

The median annual salary for an MRI technician is $60,471 while the middle 50% makes between $55,912 and $64,900. An MRI technician's salary can vary depending on different factors such as years experience in the job, the type and size of the employer, and the geographic area where the MRI technician works.

In addition to their base salary, most MRI technicians also receive benefits including but not limited to paid vacation, 401(k), and disability insurance, and healthcare coverage.

Who are some influential professionals in this field?

James Coffin is the President of the American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists (ARMRIT). His biographical information states that he has 21 years of experience in MRI technology as well as 16 years of experience in MRI education and clinical instruction, and that he "Designed the first full-time MRI Technologist training program with clinical externship leading to a career in MRI."

Roberta A. Kravitz is the Executive Director of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) and the Section for Magnetic Resonance Technologists (SMRT).

What are some leading organizations in this field?

The aforementioned association "the ARMRIT" touts itself as being: "the first certifying organization" to do the following:

1. "to recognize MRI Technology as a separate and distinct medical imaging modality,

2. to require MRI clinical experience and competency for eligibility,

3. to promote formal MRI education with MRI clinical training for the MRI technologist,

4. to recognize and approve MRI schools that offer MRI Technology as a full-time educational program leading to a career in MRI."

They also go on to say that they are recognized by several influential organizations such as: Veterans Administration Medical Imaging Department, The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service, The American College of Radiology (ACR) MRI Accreditation Committee, and several others.

The Section for Magnetic Resonance Technologists (SMRT) was founded in 1990 "to provide a forum for education, information, and research in the field of magnetic resonance." They further state that their "primary objective is to advance the education and training for MRI/S technologists worldwide."

What are the top cities for MRI Technician jobs?

The top four cities for MRI technician jobs are Sacramento, CA, Phoenix, AZ, Fort Worth, TX, and Royal Oak, MI. Then there is a three way tie for fifth place between Chicago, IL, Las Vegas, NV, and Washington D.C. Other cities of note include: Fergus Falls, MN, Dallas, TX, Louisville, KY, and Fargo, ND.

As the baby boomers get older and their health begins to decline, the job market for MRI technicians is getting better and better. In fact the federal governments Bureau of Labor Statistics has stated they expect the number of jobs in the field to increase by 15% between 2006 and 2016.

While the cities listed above are currently the hottest for MRI technician positions, these jobs are held by professionals in every medium to large city and metropolitan area in the nation as well as many smaller cities and regions as well.

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