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Certified MRI Technologist: Job Description and Salary Information

Oct 20, 2021

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technologists are required to have an associate's degree and be certified by the state or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). They create scans of patients that are used by doctors to diagnose illness or disease.

Essential Information

MRI technologists use specialized equipment to create cross-sectional image scans of patients to help doctors diagnose and treat illness or disease. They interact directly with patients and may administer intravenous injections of contrast dyes. This career normally requires earning an associate's degree related to radiography, which will involve participating in some clinical training. Depending on where they live, graduates who want to become certified can either take the certification exam offered by their state or pursue certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (AART). Licensure is also required in some locations.

Required Education Associate's degree program related to radiography
Other Requirements AART or state certification; licensure in some states
Projected Job Growth (2019-2029)* 7% for MRI technologists
Median Salary (2020)* $74,690 annually for MRI technologists

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Certified MRI Technologist Job Description

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technologist, also known as a radiologic technician, administers image scans on patients to produce quality images of designated areas of the body. They operate an MRI scanner, which takes several cross-sectional scans and combines them into one to form a 3-dimensional image that assists doctors in diagnosis and treatment of patients. This position involves direct contact with patients, including interviewing them, explaining the scanning process and positioning them on the examining table. Some MRI technologists give patients intravenous injections of gadolinium, a contrast agent that increases visibility of internal body areas.

MRI technologists typically work in a hospital setting with physicians and nurses. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), hospitals employed the highest number of radiologic technician jobs in 2018; other options include medical and diagnostic labs, physicians' offices, federal government and outpatient care facilities. MRI technologists may choose to receive voluntary certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Certified MRI technologists must maintain annual registration of their certification, which requires compliance of the AART rules, regulations and ethics standards, as well as fulfill 24 hours of continuing education courses every two years.

Certified MRI Technologist Salary Information

The BLS reported that the median salary, as of May 2020, for MRI technologists was $74,690. Those employed in outpatient care centers earned the highest average salary, with a mean wage of $95,200 per year. Physicians' offices offered a much lower mean wage at $73,810 per year. The BLS also projected job growth for MRI technologists, to increase by approximately 7% from 2019-2029.

The job growth for MRI technologists is expected to be faster than average, when compared to all occupations, from 2019-2029. Applicants with an associate's degree and state or ARRT certification will be qualified to compete for job openings in this field. The median salary in 2020 was almost $74,000, which was about standard for a physician's office or hospital job, but some industries pay more.

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