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How To Become An MRI Tech

How+To+Become+An+MRI+Tech

Do you have a passion for math and technology? Are you skilled in communication and enjoy assisting others? Is paying attention to detail something you excel at? Would you like to utilize these strengths in a rewarding career with a dependable income?

 

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If you are interested, you might consider becoming an MRI technician, also called an MRI technologist. This guide will provide information on the job, requirements to begin, advantages and disadvantages, and the career prospects in this field. For those seeking additional assistance in understanding the intricacies of this profession or requiring guidance in academic writing, exploring resources from a reputable write my essay for me service can offer valuable insights and support in navigating your career path effectively.

What Do MRI Technicians Do?

MRI technicians are responsible for running MRI scanners, which are large machines resembling tubes that combine magnetic fields and radio waves to produce precise images of a patient’s organs, tissues, and skeletal structure. These images are beneficial in the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. Doctors identify various medical conditions, from damaged ligaments to cancerous growths.

MRI technicians typically have a busy workload regularly; they:

  • Perform initial evaluations of patients
  • Get patients ready for imaging scans and explain the procedures
  • Assist patients in feeling relaxed and at ease
  • Properly position and occasionally calm patients to guarantee clear images of the specific body area
  • Take out and substitute IVs and catheters for the MRI procedure.
  • Monitor both patients and MRI machines
  • Capture images 
  • Identify deviations and anomalies in images
  • Collaborate with the physicians and radiologists who interpret the medical imaging 

MRI technicians can be found in diagnostic imaging centers, hospitals, and various healthcare facilities. Additionally, some may also work in community colleges, educating students on MRI technology.

 

Many MRI technicians typically work regular full-time hours during the week, from nine to five. However, some may need to work evenings and weekends, especially at clinics offering emergency services. Becoming an MRI technician could offer a better work-life balance if you are interested in a healthcare career but want to avoid long shifts.

Education and Training: Steps to Becoming an MRI Technician

The education and training needed for MRI technicians can differ depending on the state. Typically, you will need to obtain an associate degree, certificate, or diploma in MRI technology from a technical school or community college.

 

Essentially, this is the process for becoming an MRI technician:

 

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  • Graduate from high school. 
  • Complete an accredited associate degree in MRI technology or radiography program. Or obtain an associate degree first and then enroll in an MRI technician training program. (Many programs mandate candidates to hold an associate degree.)
  • Pass a certification test* – Certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists is the most common form of certification in the field, although it is not technically mandatory. However, many employers prefer or even demand this certification from their employees.
  • In certain states, you need to obtain a state license. 

If you aim for career advancement, you can also consider obtaining a bachelor’s degree. This will qualify you for positions such as MRI specialist, radiologic department manager, or chief radiologic technologist in the future.

 

Now, let’s examine programs, internships, and the duration needed to become an MRI technician.

MRI Technician Programs 

MRI technician programs provide the necessary training to succeed in this profession. Students will start by taking basic medical courses such as human anatomy, patient care, ethics, and medical terminology. Later on, they will progress to more complex techniques and practical aspects of working as an MRI technician.

 

The majority of MRI technician programs last between one and two years, incorporating a mix of classroom instruction and practical experience in a medical setting. These programs are commonly offered by colleges, community colleges, and hospitals.

 

Here are a few accredited MRI technician programs and schools (listed randomly):

 

  • Forsyth Technical Community College 

Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is known for its top-ranked program in MRI technology. Students can earn an associate degree in two years, which includes hands-on experience in various medical facilities.

 

Forsyth Tech graduates have a 93% success rate on the national certification exam and are all placed in jobs within a year of graduating. The cost of tuition is $5,320 for in-state students and $18,760 for out-of-state students.

 

  • Midwestern Career College 

Midwestern Career College in Chicago provides an associate degree program in MRI technology that lasts 80 weeks. The program encompasses an 810-hour externship. The tuition fee for each term is $7,900, with an additional cost of $7,800 for the clinical externship.

 

  • Lansing Community College 

Lansing Community College in Michigan provides a highly regarded associate degree program in MRI technology, which can be completed online over 16 months. The program includes practical clinical education opportunities at various hospitals, clinics, and MRI facilities.

 

  • Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts 

Gurnick Academy offers an 18-month associate degree program in MRI technology at various California, Arizona, Nevada, and Florida locations. The program consists of 246 hours of general education instruction, 620 hours of technical didactic instruction, and 1,020 hours of supervised clinical experience. Despite the high cost of at least $40,000, the academy provides scholarships and financial aid options to help students afford the program.

 

  • Casa Loma College 

Casa Loma College, a private non-profit institution in Van Nuys, California, provides a program for an associate degree in MRI technology. The course, spanning 22 months, includes online coursework and mandatory Saturday sessions on campus for theoretical instruction. Additionally, students are required to complete 1000 hours of clinical training.

 

  • Career Networks Institute 

Career Networks Institute (CNI College) provides a thorough associate degree program in MRI technology with 1,746 clock hours. Students will study subjects like anatomy, MRI pathology, math, and more, as well as participate in a 1,000-hour clinical externship. The program wraps up with a capstone course focusing on preparing for certification exams and practicing with mock certification exams.

 

  • National Polytechnic College 

National Polytechnic College in Lakewood, California, offers a 22-month associate degree program and an 18-month diploma in MRI technology. The curriculum includes classes in medical/patient care skills, physics, math, anatomy, medical terminology, theory, and computer skills. Students are also required to complete a 1,040-hour clinical externship.

 

  • West Virginia University Hospitals

West Virginia University provides a one-year MRI certificate program through the Center for Advanced Imaging. The program, located on WVU’s Morgantown campus, includes both classroom instruction and hands-on clinical training. The cost of tuition is $2,000 per semester.

  • Casper College 

The 10-month MRI certificate program at Casper College offers clinical placements in various cities, including Douglas, Gillette, Sheridan, Rawlins, Lander, and Casper. The program fees are $145 per credit for residents and $355 per credit for non-residents.

 

  • Galveston College 

Galveston College offers an MRI technology certificate program that can be completed online or on campus after obtaining an associate degree. This one-year program comprises 31 credits and includes courses on MRI safety, anatomy, physics, equipment, and special topics. Texas residents pay $180 per credit, while non-residents pay $480.


MRI Technician Internships 

Having clinical experience as an MRI technician makes applicants more competitive and better prepared for the job. Typically, this experience is gained through completing an MRI technician program.

 

Accredited programs for MRI technicians necessitate the completion of an internship or clinical apprenticeship, in addition to practical experience through labs and clinical workshops. Through working closely with an MRI technician, you will enhance your skills and obtain valuable knowledge that will benefit your career progression.

 

Alternatively, you have the option to gain clinical experience independently. While no specific amount of experiential hours is needed to become certified as an MRI technician, obtaining experience can help you prepare for both the certification exam and the job responsibilities. In addition, employers are more inclined to hire individuals with practical on-the-job experience.

What is the duration required to become an MRI Technician?

The amount of time it takes to become a certified MRI technician and secure employment can range from two to two and a half years, depending on the chosen educational route.

 

The quickest way to become an MRI technician is to enroll in a program offering an associate degree and MRI technician training. If not, you will first have to earn an associate degree, which can take up to two years, and then complete a separate training program lasting at least six months to one year.

This might seem like a significant amount of time, but it is only half the time needed for a four-year college degree. Furthermore, MRI technicians typically earn more than many graduates with a college degree. If becoming an MRI tech appeals to you, investing two years in training for a lucrative and secure career that you will enjoy is worth it.

Career Outlook 

If you are considering entering this profession, you likely want to understand the job prospects for MRI technicians.

 

Is this job secure and sought after? What is the salary range for this position? In the following paragraphs, we will address these inquiries and provide additional information.

Demand for MRI Technicians 

Healthcare will always be in demand, making it one of the most stable and expanding industries in which to pursue a career. Due to the rise in chronic diseases and the growing elderly population, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be a growing number of job opportunities in the field. The number of jobs in the healthcare field is expected to increase by 13% over the next ten years. 

 

Specifically,  there is an anticipated 6% increase in the demand for MRI technicians. Between 2021 and 2031, approximately 16,000 job opportunities are expected to become available in this particular field annually. Due to the specialized nature of the profession, only individuals possessing the necessary qualifications and certification will be eligible to apply for these positions.

 

If you seek a sought-after job with long-term stability and opportunities for advancement, becoming an MRI technician can lead to a promising career.

What is the salary range for MRI technicians?

Similar to training requirements, the salary for MRI technicians differs depending on the state.   Payscale: The average hourly wage for MRI technicians is reported to be $32.89.  Zip Recruiter stated that the average price is $39.45.

 

In 2020, according to the U.S. News, according to the data, MRI technologists had a median salary of $74,690, with the lowest 25% earning $62,140 and the highest 25% earning $88,370. The states with the highest salaries for MRI technicians were California ($106,040), the District of Columbia ($96,100), Hawaii ($96,000), Washington ($95,850), and Alaska ($91,360). Indeed reports that the typical earnings for an MRI technician in 2021 were $88,490.

 

There is some difference in the reported salaries for MRI technicians, but it is evident that this profession offers a stable income. The annual salaries range from $62,140 to $106,040, allowing you to make a decent living while aiding others and having job security.

Benefits 

Indeed reports that the typical perks for MRI technicians consist of the following:

 

  •  401(k) and 401(k) matching 
  •  Continuing education credits 
  •  Dental insurance 
  •  Disability insurance 
  •  Employee assistance program 
  •  Health insurance 
  •  Housing stipend 
  •  License reimbursement 
  •  Life insurance 
  •  Program for forgiving or repaying loans
  •  Paid housing 
  •  Paid sick time 
  •  Paid time off 
  •  Pet insurance 
  •  Travel reimbursement 
  •  Tuition reimbursement 
  •  Vision insurance  

Naturally, not all MRI technician jobs will come with these benefits. However, some positions may offer these advantages, so you can seek out roles that offer the most appealing perks.

Pros and Cons 

When considering a career path, it is crucial to carefully evaluate the advantages and disadvantages. Here are some factors to think about for those interested in becoming MRI technicians:

 Pros 

  • Obtaining a shorter vocational training is quicker than pursuing a bachelor’s degree.
  • Job security 
  • A salary that is competitive and grows as one gains more experience
  • Good benefits 
  • There is a better balance between work and personal life in healthcare than in many other professions.
  • A satisfying and fulfilling job opportunity

 Cons 

  • Physically challenging and possibly overwhelming
  • You may find yourself in a high-stress, swiftly-moving setting (depending on the specific facility where you are employed)
  • It can be difficult emotionally to work with patients who have experienced trauma or are severely ill
  • In charge of ensuring the safety of patients

Overall Job Satisfaction 

In the end, job satisfaction is influenced by individual traits and desires. Those who enjoy hands-on tasks, social interactions, and aiding others may find working as an MRI technician fulfilling. This profession also attracts individuals passionate about math, science, and technology.

 

Many individuals find it greatly fulfilling to assist others. As an MRI technician, you can guarantee patients’ well-being and support while achieving a better balance between your work and personal life, with a more adaptable schedule than other healthcare professions typically offer.

 

Based on CareerExplorer, MRI technicians generally have moderate levels of satisfaction in their jobs. On Payscale, the average satisfaction rating for MRI technicians is 4.05 out of 5. However, the level of satisfaction ultimately depends on individual career goals and personal fit with the role of an MRI technician.

Closing Ideas: Steps to Become an MRI Technologist

Becoming an MRI technician offers job security, a competitive salary, and attractive benefits. You will be working in a healthcare environment with shorter hours and a better work-life balance compared to other positions in the field. This is a rewarding career choice for individuals with strong communication, math, science, and technology abilities.

 

If this career path aligns with your interests, here is how you can become an MRI technician:

 

  • Graduate from high school. 
  • Earn an associate degree in MRI technology,  or earn a two-year degree in a relevant area and finish a program that trains individuals to become MRI technicians.
  • Pass a certification exam. 
  • If your state mandates it, make sure to obtain your state license. 

It usually requires approximately two years to finish training to become an MRI technician.

 

If you are currently in high school, consider taking courses and participating in activities focused on math, science, and technology to start getting ready for a career as an MRI technician. See if your school offers a medical program or seek out opportunities to volunteer or shadow professionals at nearby clinics and hospitals. This will help you gain practical experience and determine if being an MRI tech is a profession you will find fulfilling.

 

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