MRI Technician Job Description
An MRI technician (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is trained to use MRI equipment to conduct image scans of cross-sections of the body, and reconstruct them to form 3-D images. These images are passed to doctors to help with diagnosis, or to check progress of treatments. The MRI technician will also inject contrasting dye into the patient, to aid in the viewing of specific areas during a scan.
An MRI uses a combination of a powerful magnetic field, pulsing radio-frequencies and a computer, to produce images of almost anywhere in the body, which are used to detect blockage or enlargement in blood vessels, tumors and other growths, in fact any abnormality in the body.
MRI Technician Job Outlook
The MRI is now the most prominent tool used in diagnostics; making the outlook for employment in the field excellent. Radiological specialists are in great demand all over the healthcare industry, especially MRI technicians. Advances in medical technology, and the growing need for diagnostic and preventative medicine, again add to the great demand for specialists in this field. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, MRI technicians should enjoy a 17% job growth from 2015-2025
MRI Technician Requirements
The obviously-required high school diploma, or equivalent, should include good grades in subjects like anatomy, biology and physiology, chemistry and physics, microbiology and mathematics. You then go on to take specialized courses in an accredited training school, which you can check by consulting JRCERT (Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology), this agency is the only one recognized by the US Department of Education, for the accreditation of programs.
Courses lead to either a certificate, or associates or bachelors degree; the majority choosing associate degrees. A minimum of a C average is required at most schools to remain in the program to graduation.
Graduates then are required to complete State License as an MRI technician; as they will work with radioactive material, and be exposing patients to it, licensing is regulated by the federal government. After completing the accredited program, and gaining some practical experience, applicants must get a licensing exam.
MRI Technician Training
An MRI technician course at an accredited technical school or community college will lead you to your certificate or degree; a certificate will usually take between one and two years, an associate’s degree 2 to 3 years, and a bachelor’s degree 4 to 5 years. Courses will cover, as well as general medical studies, how to position the patient for x-rays, focus machinery and perform the procedure, while those training to become MRI technicians will specialize their coursework in this technology. The State licensing exam can be taken only after acquiring the certificate or degree, and obtaining some practical experience; without this license, it is impossible to gain employment: Technicians may also become voluntarily certified by the ARRT (American Registry of Radiologic Technologists).
Once licensed and employed, and MRI technician is required to continue education for credits, to maintain their certificates or license from the AART.
Advancement is possible in the field, after work experience to maintain their skills, and continued training to learn new skills; an MRI technician can advance to radiological assistant or specialist positions, after additional training.