Becoming an MRI technician is a great career choice for those looking to enter into a rewarding career in the medical field.
MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging that uses magnetic energy combined with radio wave energy to provide pictures of organs and other internal structures. Many MRI technicians are certified as radiologic technologists and also received training to become skilled in using MRI technology.
What Does an MRI Technician Do?
An MRI tech uses an MRI machine to take images of patients for analysis and diagnosis by a licensed physician. The technology is used to spot tumors, injuries, infections, blood vessel diseases and internal bleeding, to name a few.
Head: Technicians take images of the head to inspect for tumors, nerve injury or an aneurysm. It is a crucial part of detection, diagnosis and treatment of major medical issues that can impact the brain.
Chest: These images help doctors spot and diagnose issues such as damage to the lungs and heart as well as issues with valves and coronary blood vessels.
Bones: MRI imaging of the bones helps doctors find problems related to the bones and joints. Doctors use the images to diagnose torn ligaments, issues with one marrow, bone cancer, and issues with bone marrow.
Abdomen: An MRI of the abdomen helps technicians and doctors spot issues with the belly and surrounding organs, like the bladder and liver. MRIs can effectively spot tumors, infections and other issues.
How Does Someone Become an MRI Technician?
The first step to embarking on a career in this profession is finding a good educational program. There are plenty of good options in every state and the key to finding a great program is research. The best schools have a few crucial aspects in common.
Accreditation: The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology is the primary organization that provides accreditation to schools teaching x ray and MRI imaging courses. Many states and most hospitals require perspective employees to hold a degree from an accredited program.
Facilities: Be sure to tour any school you are considering to ensure the facilities are up to the latest standards. Classrooms should have high quality equipment that reflects the machinery used in the business today.
Faculty: Make sure the school you choose employs qualified staff members with plenty of experience in the allied health industry. Student-to-instructor ratios are also important, the lower the better. A ratio of 15 students per instructor is ideal, but 19 or 20 isn’t bad.
Will There Be Enough Jobs?
The job outlook for an MRI technician is looking good. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field is expected to grow 28 percent through 2020. The increased need means there will be a lot of jobs out there for qualified technicians.
Most techs will work in hospitals, although there will be growing opportunities outside of the traditional hospital setting. The median wage for technicians is around $54,000 per year, but the highest paid 10 percent earned more than $76,000 a year.
There is plenty of opportunity for those willing to put in the effort to earn a degree and gain the proper state-level requirements.