Career Profile: Why Pursue A Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Technician Career?

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Magnetic Resonance Imaging , or an MRI technician is someone who is a skilled professional who uses MRI technology to create images of structures inside the body. These images are used by physicians in order to make medical diagnoses, and can be used to diagnose several disorders or dysfunctions. Aside from using the MRI technology, MRI technicians also perform venipuncture procedures on patients, and work closely with patients by providing instruction and information about the procedure. They also try to maintain patients’ safety, comfort, and mental and emotional states, as passing into the MRI machine can be a very harrowing experience, especially for those who have issues with small, confined spaces.

Magnetic resonance imaging technicians usually work in hospitals, though some may work in clinics, physicians’ offices, emergency care centers, mobile units, and research centers. They usually work a regular 40 hour work week, but some may work evenings and weekends. They may also be on call on evenings and weekends. Their salaries vary, ranging from $27,190 to $55,430, with an average salary of $38, 970.

Training programs for MRI tech range in length from one to four years, and lead either to a certificate, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree. Most MRI techs take a two-year associate’s degree program. There are also one-year certificate programs available for experienced radiographers or other health professionals who want to change practice or specialize in MRI. In 2003, 38 states licensed MRI technicians, though more are introducing legislation in order to provide licensing. There is also voluntary registration offered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, and to be eligible, one must pass an exam. Most employers prefer to hire registered technicians, and in order to be recertified, technicians must complete 24 hours of continuing education every two years.

Employment of MRI techs is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations. This is due to the increasing population, advances in medical technology, and the fact that the nation’s largest population, the baby boom generation, is advancing into old age and is requiring more testing and healthcare services. Most MRI techs will continue to be employed in hospitals, though the most growth will be in physician’s offices and diagnostic imaging centers.

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Quick Fact
In 2018, workers with a bachelor's degree or higher had almost twice as much
median earnings per week than workers with only a high school diploma.*
*Bureau of Labor Statistics