Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) employs radio waves and magnetic fields coupled with sophisticated computer software to generate images of a patient’s internal anatomical structures. An MRI technician is the professional who uses the MRI machine to scan the patient’s body. The technician creates diagnostic images of specific parts of the body based upon the prescribing physician’s order. Technicians receive specialized training on how to interact with the patients. They educate patients on the procedure and position them inside the equipment. The technician ensures that the patient is comfortable throughout the procedure. As the population matures, the demand for diagnostic imaging technicians is expected to rise by 17 percent over the next few years. To become an MRI technician, candidates must meet certain prerequisites. They must obtain the required formal education, training and pass a state licensing examination.
You must have a high school or a general equivalency diploma. Math and physical science courses are the typical prerequisites for an MRI training program. The most common educational training path for MRI technicians, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is an associate’s degree from a free-standing training facility or community college. The training program usually takes about two years to complete. It may be possible to obtain a four-year Bachelor of Science degree in radiology from certain four-year colleges and universities. These programs should be accredited by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (AART) and the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology.
You will take courses in pathology, physics, physiology, human anatomy, medical terminology and biochemistry. These educational programs prepare students to take and pass the state licensing examination.
Although the exact requirements vary, most states require that an MRI technician be licensed prior to working as an MRI technician. Once you have completed your educational training, contact the board of health in the state in which you intend to work. Determine their specific requirements to obtain a license. For example, candidates in Florida undergo testing on equipment procedures and maintenance, patient care, imaging and radiation protection. The AART is responsible for certification testing.
In order to maintain their license, MRI technicians must complete 12 to 24 hours of continuing education credits every two years. Continuing education courses enable technicians to develop a specialty that may lead to higher paying positions in the MRI Technology field. The continuing education classes must be accredited to fulfill the licensing requirement.