Who should become an MRI Technician?

Choosing a profession in the allied health services is a very serious decision but a very rewarding one. If you like being hands-on with your job and..

What does an MRI Technician do?

A Certified MRI Technician is responsible for taking detailed images of the internal body by using the procedure of magnetic resonance imaging..

How much does an MRI Technician make a year?

MRI Technicians are well compensated like any other professionals in the medical field. The job profile of an MRI technician is not easy since it may include overnights, holidays, or .. 


Magnetic resonance imaging is a specially designed technology used to diagnose a wide variety of conditions – ailments or diseases in patients. MRI technicians operate these systems to perform examinations on the patient according to the instructions of the doctor. Nowadays a certified MRI Technician has become indispensable in the medical diagnostic care.

The demand and value for a certified MRI technician is increasing day by day and there is not a better time to get involved in this field. But the important question is, how can you become an MRI Technician?

Certified MRI Technician


1. Before you apply to an MRI Institute

Every MRI training program will have different criterion for admission. While for some, only a high school diploma shall be enough, other programs may demand an associate degree also.

Early career planning: The importance of having an early start cannot be stressed on enough. If you already have the burning desire to become an MRI technician be sure to start from high school by taking as many science and math subjects as possible. If your high school offers Advanced Placement Courses, then definitely opt for them (bonus points for them, for sure). It not only adds to your CV but also shows determination and initiative.

First Aid Training: Since you want to be involved in the medical field, it will be a great idea to add training in the field of first aid and CPR.

Volunteer/ Intern: Use your summer breaks to volunteer or intern at health clinics, hospitals which will help you gain interpersonal skills as well as experience in the field.

2. Enroll in an accredited MRI Technician Program

For pursuing the field, you have to obtain one of the following degrees :

  • Associate Degree or Bachelor’s of Science in radiography with MRI
  • Certificate, Bachelor’s or Associate Degree in MRI technology

Associate Degree in Radiologic Technology

To apply for such a degree most programs require high grades in Math and Science. Keep in mind to only choose programs that are accredited by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists or by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiological Technology.

Some common associate degrees that you can start with are:

  • Associate of Science in Allied Health Sciences
  • Associate of Science in Radiography
  • Associate of Science in Nursing
  • Associate of Science in Radiology Technology

In an associate degree program, you will generally take classes on science subjects like chemistry, biology, and anatomy, alongside technical skills like medical terminology, radiography and patient care, medical law, and ethics.

Bachelor’s of Science in Medical Imaging

Every college or university has its own criterion. While some may accept students straight after their high school diploma along with appropriate test scores and SAT/ACT scores, some require an associate degree or certification.  

In a four-year Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Medical Imaging program,  students devote themselves to a more specific MRI focus like nuclear medicine technology. Apart from the general education classes, specific classes like anatomy, physics will be essential in the completion of the particular course

MRI Technician courses

3. Do More - Just don’t get a degree

During your college years try to build as many connections as possible along with gaining some experience. Working with clinics and hospitals will help you build your network in the professional field of medicine and also give you a small glimpse of what you are going to be doing in the next years.

4. Undergo MRI Training

In order to be certified by the American Registry of Radiological Technologists, you will have to undergo a training program for two years, which includes domains in the classroom and the clinical setting. Without the training program, you will not be allowed to sit for the certification exam.

5. Earn Certification - Become a Certified MRI Technician

Magnetic Resonance Imaging certification programs are an amazing alternative for those who hold an associate degree or are thinking about a change in their current medical career. For getting registered in your field, you will need to graduate from an accredited training program and pass a certification exam.

All technicians need to obtain one of the following certifications:

Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technician certificate programs are offered through community colleges and universities and some hospitals too. Degrees are offered at the certificate, diploma and graduate levels. The coursework includes intensive training in different areas like how to operate the scanner, MRI procedures, patient care, anatomy, imaging laws, ethics and musculoskeletal physiology.

After writing the multiple choice exam (which is a four-hour exam - so be prepared), the ARRT will review the scores of the examinees and send a mail regarding the clearing of the exam. If and when you pass the exam you are certified to be an MRI Technician after which you can apply for jobs.

However, even after graduation or obtaining your certificate, to officially become a certified MRI Technician, some states require a special license before you are allowed to practice. To get licensed, you will have to pass the national ARRT exam or a state exam, and only then can you work as an MRI Technician.

Next Steps...

Find out more about schools and institutes to enroll in MRI Technician programs and certification courses.