With an expected growth of 13% over the next decade per bls.gov, becoming a radiologic or MRI Technologist is a great idea for a career! In the article below we are going to cover what radiologic technologists and MRI technologists do, how to become one in your state, where to find the best accredited training and what the career outlook is for the future.
MRI technologists and radiologic technologists are some of the most understated jobs in allied health and many do not even realize how important the career is. We are going to change your view on the career in a hurry!
How to Become a Radiologic or MRI Technologist
In most cases, MRI techs and radiographers will need to earn an associate’s degree. Also, it is also very common for MRI technologists begin their careers as radiologic technologists. The next natural step is to MRI technology. Radiologic technologists must earn licensure and certification. There are a few states in the nation that require a license for their MRI techs. That being said, most employers will require it and it is becoming more and more common to prefer prospective technologists to be certified even if the state they live in does not mandate certification.
How Long Does it Take to Become an MRI Technologist or Radiographer?
It is standard for an associates degree to take 2 years on average. So considering that both career require an associates degree, be prepared to go to school for at least 2 years. During your training you will have classroom and clinical training. Classroom studies will most likely have courses in pathology, patient care, anatomy, radiation physics, and image evaluation. Clinical training is where the hands on training is done.
Find Radiologic and MRI Technologist Programs Near You
What do Radiologic and MRI Technologists do?
Radiologic technologists and MRI technologists have slighlty differing duties. Radiologic technologists, who can also be called and known as radiographers most common duty is to exam diagnostic imaging like x-rays. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technologists operate MRI scanners to create diagnostic images of patients who go in an MRI machine. We will get in to more detail about each career below.
Both radiographers and MRI techs have some similar duties, which we list here:
Radiologic and MRI technologists typically do the following:
Maintain image equipment
Follow orders per physicians for imaging
Prep patients for procedures
Shield patients exposed areas that do not need to be imaged
Position patient and the equipment for correct imaging
Operate imaging equipment
Work with physicians to evaluate images
Detail and maintain patient records
Radiologic Technologist – Radiologic technologists handle x-rays and (CT) computed tomography imaging in most scenarios. Radiologic technologists may also work in the field of mammography. A mammographer will use a low-dose x-ray system for the production of images of the breasts.
MRI Technologist – MRI Technologists work with magnetic resonance imaging MRI scanning equipment. In most cases they they will inject their patients with a contrast dye to allow the images to show up on the scanner equipment. The MRI scanner uses magnetic fields in combination with the injected contrast agent for the production of images that can be used by a doctor or physician to diagnose medical issues and problems.
Select From Approved Radiographer and MRI Tech Programs
It is of extreme importance to only select from accredited and approved training programs for either MRI technology or radiologic technology. All programs must be accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). JRCERT oversees and regulates all programs for Radiographers. The American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists (ARMRIT) regulates and oversees all MRI tech training programs.
To choose from the accredited programs from both accrediting bodies see the links below.
Radiographer and MRI Technologist Certification
To become certified and licensed, radiologic and MRI technologists must graduate from an accredited training program (see our list above) and then successfully pass the certification exam. The certification will either come from the from the state you live in or from a certifying body. Certifying bodies for radiologic technologists is from the (ARRT) American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. MRI technologists certification is from either the ARRT and from the (ARMRIT) American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists. If you want to see if your state requires licensing from the state you live see your state’s health board. But, most situations they will allow your certification from the bodies mentioned above to work for you.
What are Some Skills of Successful Radiographers and MRI Techs?
Personal communication skills
Above average physical stamina
Radiographer and MRI Tech Salary and Career Outlook
The average salary for radiologic technologists is $58,440, with the highest 10% earning $84,110 and the lowest 10% earning $39,840. The average salary for MRI technologists is $69,930, with the highest 10% earning $97,460 and the lowest 10% earning $48,600. The career is going to grow an expected 13% as mentioned above over the next decade and that will mean an added 30,000 jobs for the career as a whole per bls.gov’s latest data.
Radiographers get paid at differing levels based on where they work. Below are examples from bls.gov.
Government – $63,040
Hospitals – $59,800
Medical Labs – $59,570
Outpatient Centers – $58,020
Physicians Office – $52,620
MRI Technologists get paid at differing levels based on where they work. Below are examples from bls.gov.
Outpatient Centers – $77,140
Hospitals – $69,800
Medical Labs – $69,700
Physicians Office – $69,020
Radiographer and MRI Tech Salary by State
Radiographer Salary by State
MRI Technologist Salary by State