MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machines are sophisticated pieces of equipment in the medical industry. To become an MRI technologist, you first receive all the training you need to handle, operate, and maintain the MRI machine and all associated equipment. MRI scans are important in medicine today because they are able to take clear, detailed photos of every part of our anatomy; that too, without the accompanying danger of exposure to X-rays.
An MRI technologist is a professional trained to provide medical assistance to patients who require MRI scans; as directed by a doctor. They maintain the equipment and its environment, prepare the patients for the scan, take their anatomy photos, and attend to their other medical needs.
In this article, we shall go through five (3) things you should know before you become an MRI technologist:
- Responsibilities of an MRI technologist
- Skills required of an MRI tech
- Steps to become an MRI tech
Responsibilities of an MRI Technologist
The responsibilities of an MRI technologist vary depending on the institution where they work. But overall, there are some non-negotiables, primary tasks expected of you no matter where it is. While these tasks mostly revolve around preparing and maintaining the machine itself, they could also involve the patients you will attend to.
Overall, an MRI tech’s responsibilities include:
- Obtaining physician specifications on what type of MRI image to take.
- Preparing patients before they go into the MRI chamber.
- Optimizing image quality during the scan by tweaking various imaging parameters.
- Pointing out notable image points to the physician and helping them diagnose the patients from the MRI results.
- Ensuring the MRI machine is always kept in optimum conditions for longevity.
Skills Required to Become an MRI Technologist
Do you think you can carry out the responsibilities of an MRI technologist? There are specific skills you need to possess. If you have (or could develop) any of the skills below, you could go on to study and become an MRI tech:
- Minute eye for detail
- Excellent communication: spoken and written
- Decent math skills
- Ability to work with heavy machinery
- Critical thinking
Steps to Become an MRI Tech
- Complete high school and take some introductory science courses in the process.
- Obtain an associate degree, preferably in a science or medical-related major: biology, chemistry, pharmacy, anatomy, etc. Then, you should complete an MRI tech program accredited by any of the following institutions; Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT), the American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists (ARMRIT), and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
- Apply for internships. Besides the apparent advantage of gaining practical experience in the field, one of the certification requirements for ARMRIT is 2,000 hours apprenticeship. Other certification programs have similar requirements, but you must work several hours to meet certification requirements.
- Next, you need to get certified. The two main MRI certifications are ARMRIT and ARRT. These certifications are not always required, but they boost your chances of finding a job.
- Before you begin practicing as an MRI technician, find out if the state where you intend to practice requires you to obtain a license. Ensure you follow all the legal procedures to obtain one if they require it.
After the steps above, you could diversify and increase your employability by obtaining certifications in similar fields. You could look into becoming a surgical tech, for instance.
MRI Tech Career Outlook
MRI technicians have a pretty decent career projection, with an average salary of around $75,000 to $80,000. You can start as an assistant but grow to various high-ranking roles in hospitals and clinics. Such roles could be managerial, administrative, etc., and offer better work-life balance. The future looks suitable for MRI techs, with an expected 5-7% increase in jobs by 2030.