To work as a MRI technologist, you typically need to:
- have a high school diploma or equivalent;
- complete a medical imaging technology program; and
- complete training in MRI technology.
Education after high school
Most technologists have an associate degree. They earn their degree by completing a two-year program in medical imaging technology. Professional-technical schools and two-year colleges, universities, and hospitals all offer these programs. Common classes are anatomy and physiology, patient care procedures, and medical terminology. You also study radiation physics, radiation protection, and principles of imaging.
Upon graduation from a medical imaging technology program, you must complete one to two years of specific training in MRI technology, including clinical experience. In some cases, this training will be provided by an employer. Another option is to take courses offered by medical education companies. In this situation, you must still find a medical center where you can complete your clinical experience.
Formal educational programs in MRI scanning are available, but are not common. These programs are aimed at individuals who are not already trained in medical imaging.
If you have experience and training as a radiologic technologist, you can become an MRI technologist by receiving on-the-job training.
Most MRI technologists are radiologic technologists first. If you have experience as a radiologic technologist, you can become an MRI technologist by receiving on-the-job training. The length of this training can vary. If your goal is to become a certified or licensed MRI technologist, you will need to complete approximately 1,000 hours of training. Most employers require two years of experience in MRI technology.
Once hired, new MRI technologists may have a few months of training where they are shown the particulars of their work site.
Some branches of the military train people to be radiologic technicians. Training lasts 12 to 19 weeks, depending on your specialty. Additional training occurs on the job.