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MRI Tech

Education and Training – Associate’s Degree
Average Salary – $52,000
Job Outlook – Very good

Working as an MRI technician involves the operation of an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine. This is a type of machine which scans patients for abnormalities such as tumors or growths. This machine is able to produce vivid images in a lot of detail. The advantage of using an MRI machine over more traditional scanning devices is that it doesn’t produce dangerous levels of radiation in the same way that an X-Ray machine does.

MRI Techs are responsible for operating the MRI machine before, during, and after a patient scan. This will involve preparing the machine for each individual patient, operating the machine during the scan, and handing over results to doctors after. The MRI technician is also responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of an MRI machine as well as sometimes scheduling the scans carried out within their department.

Education and Training Requirements

The most commonly held qualification by MRI technicians is an associate’s degree in radiography. This may be obtained by undertaking a training program within the hospital environment. An MRI tech will be expected to train in the use of a particular health care facility’s specific MRI equipment as different health care facilities have different MRI models.

Getting the Job

Getting a job as an MRI technician involves having the ability to complete the training program, which will lead to an associate’s degree or professional certificate in radiography. A level of physical fitness is also important as part of the job can involve physically assisting patients into the correct position for MRI scans to take place. Prospective MRI technicians need to show a disciplined and methodical approach to their work and the ability to carry out instructions.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

The job prospects for MRI technicians are very good for the coming years. Healthcare is expanding and as the technology behind MRIs advances and reduces in price over the years, new MRI techs will be required. There is the potential for career advancement in a number of different directions within the field. Some technologists will specialize in a more advanced form of imaging and this can lead to a promotion and a better salary. Other MRI techs will take up a management or supervisory role within the hospital they work at. Another possibility is moving sideways into a sales role for equipment manufacturers as that industry greatly desires people with hands-on MRI operational experience.

Working Conditions and Environment

Almost all MRI techs work within a hospital’s diagnostic imaging department. Due to the high cost of MRI machines it is rare for healthcare facilities, other than hospitals, to have them but this is starting to change slowly. As the MRI technology becomes cheaper there will be more and more MRI machines found in facilities such as physician’s offices or dedicated imaging facilities. This will open up job opportunities for MRI techs in those locations.

The typical working week for an MRI tech is 40 hours long. Many work the standard Monday to Friday shift pattern but some MRI techs are required to either regularly or occasionally work evening or weekend shifts. An MRI technician is sometimes expected to be on call in case they are needed in an emergency.

Salary and Benefits

The median salary for an MRI technician is $52,000. Starting salaries are closer to the $30,000 area and with experience a skillful MRI technician can hope to make around $75,000 a year. MRI technicians are almost always offered healthcare and other benefits including sick pay and paid vacation periods.

Where to Go for More Information

American Registry of Radiologic Technologists
1255 Northland Dr.
St. Paul, MN 55120-1155

American Society of Radiologic Technologists
15000 Central Ave. SE
Albuquerque, NM 87123

Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology
20 N Wacker Dr., Ste. 2850
Chicago, IL 60606-3182

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesHealth & Medicine