MRI Tech Career: How to Become an MRI Technician

Are you interested in becoming an MRI tech? Are you curious about the educational and certification requirements for this career path?

We will explore what it takes to become an MRI technician, including the necessary training, certifications, and job opportunities.

What is an MRI Tech?

An MRI technologist is a medical professional who specializes in operating MRI equipment. They are responsible for preparing and performing MRI scans as well as assessing the resulting images.

MRI technologists must complete an associate’s degree in radiography or radiologic sciences, as well as obtain certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

They must also complete an MRI tech training program, which typically consists of a combination of classroom and clinical instruction.

Once they have finished their education and training, they can become a registered MRI technologist and begin working in the field.

Salary and Career Outlook of an MRI Technologist

MRI Technologists are in high demand, and the career outlook for this profession is extremely positive.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Radiologic and MRI Technologists made a median annual salary of $61,980 as of May 2021. Annually on average, an MRI Technologist can expect to make around $77,360.

Those who are at the top of their field may earn substantially more than this. Moreover, the job outlook for MRI Technologists is expected to grow by 7% through 2029. This growth rate is faster than the average for all occupations.

With the right educational background and experience, MRI Technologists can take advantage of these promising career prospects.

Job Duties and Responsibilities of an MRI Tech

MRI technicians are responsible for preparing patients for procedures, operating the MRI scanner, and maintaining a clean and safe scanning facility. They also work closely with radiologists who read the images to diagnose internal issues of the chest, lungs, brain, spinal cord, joints, and more.

The MRI technologist is responsible for ensuring quality diagnostic images are produced from an MRI scan of a patient.

Their duties include complex tasks such as setting up the machine and performing quality control tests, as well as other patient-focused tasks such as patient positioning and monitoring during the procedure.

In addition, they must be able to explain the procedure to the patient in order to ensure safety and accuracy.

10 Steps to become MRI Tech

Once you have earned an associate degree or other relevant qualifications and have been certified as a radiologic technician, the next step is to enroll in a specialized school or program that offers MRI training.

Programs typically take one to two years to complete and offer a combination of classroom learning and hands-on training in a clinical setting. Financial aid may be available in the form of grants, loans, and scholarships.

During the admissions process, you may be offered an interview. After completing your program, you will need to take the ARRT National Exam in order to become a registered MRI technologist.

Step 1: Graduate from High School or Obtain a GED

Getting the proper education and training is one of the most important steps for those who aspire to become an MRI Tech.

To become an MRI Tech, the first step is to obtain a high school diploma or GED. After completing their high school studies, aspiring MRI techs can then enroll in an accredited training program to become certified in MRI technology.

There are several programs available that offer courses in MRI technology, allowing students to get the necessary training to become an MRI technician.

Step 2: Prepare for College

Before you can apply for an MRI technologist program, you need to decide where you want to complete your training. There are several MRI programs in the United States, and it is important to choose an accredited one.

Before enrolling in an MRI tech program, you may also need to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). Courses to take in preparation for your degree should include chemistry, physics, biology, and math.

Additionally, some courses that an MRI technology program or Medical Imaging Technician program may require include anatomy and physiology, pathology, and medical terminology.

Step 3: Obtain an Associate Degree

To become an MRI technologist, it is important to obtain an associate degree. Most programs require that students have an associate degree in a related science field, such as radiology technology, medical imaging, or medical laboratory science.

This degree will provide the student with the knowledge and skills needed to work as an MRI tech.

Additionally, some programs may require students to have certification in radiologic technology before applying. It is important to research the specific requirements of the program you are interested in to ensure you have all the necessary qualifications.

Step 4: Get Certified as a Radiologic Technician

Once you have completed your associate degree, the next step is to get certified as a radiologic technician. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) is a widely recognized certifying body for radiologic technologists.

To be eligible to take the ARRT certification exam, you must have at least 16 credits of structured education in MRI technology within the last 24 months.

After passing the ARRT certification exam, you will become a registered radiologic technologist and will be eligible to work as an MRI tech in most states.

Step 5: Complete an MRI Tech Training Program

Step 5: Complete an MRI Tech Training Program. After obtaining an associate degree, aspiring MRI technicians must complete an MRI technologist program.

Such programs typically take around one to two years to complete, and offer a combination of classroom learning and hands-on training in magnetic resonance imaging.

During the program, technologists will receive clinical experience to help them prepare for the job.

Once they have finished the program, technologists are eligible to take the ARRT National Exam to become a registered MRI technologist.

Step 6: Take the ARRT National Exam

Once you have completed the necessary education and training requirements, the next step is to take the ARRT National Exam.

This exam is designed to evaluate your knowledge and understanding of the radiologic technology field. The exam consists of multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank questions, and is administered online.

It is important to note that you will only be allowed to take this exam three times, so it is essential that you prepare thoroughly before taking it. Once you pass the exam, you will be eligible for certification as an MRI Technologist.

Step 7: Look for Job Opportunities

Once you have all the necessary qualifications, it’s time to start looking for job opportunities. With an associate’s degree, you’ll qualify to work as a radiologic technologist, performing x-rays on patients.

Most MRI technicians begin their careers as entry-level technicians, often starting out as hospital employees or working in medical imaging centers.

It is likely that you will also have to do clinical lab work and take part in on-the-job training before taking a travel MRI tech job. Ideally, you should log two years of experience as an MRI technologist before taking a travel MRI tech job.

Additionally, having certifications such as an Associate Degree in Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Radiology, or a similar field can help you stand out from other applicants.

Step 8: Sign Up for Continuing Education Courses

After you’ve obtained your certification, it’s important to continue your education in order to stay up-to-date on the latest technology.

Continuing education courses are available through MRI tech programs and other organizations like the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

These courses allow you to explore new topics, such as MRI safety, patient positioning and contrast media administration.

Siemens Healthineers also offers additional training in Magnetic Resonance Imaging topics.

Furthermore, some courses within the MRI program can be taken for continuing education. This can help prepare you for a career as a registered MRI technologist.

Step 9: Consider Specialization Opportunities

In order to become a registered MRI technologist, you will need to have successfully completed additional training and certification for the field.

You may choose to specialize in one area or take courses in many, such as oncology, cardiac imaging, musculoskeletal imaging or pediatric imaging.

You may be able to take specialized courses at your local college or university and some employers offer opportunities for continuing education.

Specialization is not required to work as an MRI technologist; however, it can give you an advantage when competing for positions. Additionally, specialized training may lead to additional job opportunities with higher salaries.

Step 10: Become a Registered MRI Technologist

Step 10 is the final step in the journey to becoming an MRI technologist. To become a registered MRI technologist, you must be certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

This certification is necessary to work as an MRI technologist in the United States. With certification, you are eligible to take the ARRT national exam, which will prove your competence in the field.

After passing the ARRT exam, you will be eligible to become a registered MRI technologist and practice in the United States.


Becoming an MRI tech is a rewarding career for those who are up for the challenge. It takes dedication and commitment to become a successful MRI technologist.

However, with the right education, training and experience, it is possible to become an MRI tech and make a difference in the healthcare industry.

With the proper education and licensure, one can work as an MRI technologist in hospitals, private clinics, imaging centers and other healthcare organizations.

The job of an MRI tech is an important one, as it ensures that patients receive the best care possible.

Written by Andrew Lim

As editor at, Andrew is passionate about journalism and dedicated to accuracy and fairness. He works closely with his team to create high-quality content on a range of topics including politics, business, and technology. Andrew has a bachelor's degree in journalism from UCD and extensive experience as a journalist covering a variety of topics.

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