How Can I Get Licensure As an MRI Technician?

MRI technicians and technologists create 3-D images of the internal body. If this profession sounds interesting, read on to learn how to acquire licensure as an MRI technician. Schools offering Cardiovascular Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Defined

MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, technicians take internal pictures or images of patients with special radiographic or imaging equipment. The purpose for these imaging procedures is to assist physicians in diagnosing disease or illness within patients. As an MRI technician, you can expect to work closely with both physicians and patients by following physician orders and preparing patients for procedures. In addition to performing MRIs, you must maintain the equipment and keep thorough medical records. You are required to ensure complete safety by adhering to the rules and regulations for performing MRIs.

Important Facts about this Occupation

Average Salary (2014) $67,300
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 9% growth
Work Environment Majority work in hospitals; Must wear protective clothing to shield from radiation; May work evening, weekend, holiday, or overnight shifts
Similar Occupations Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Ultrasound Technicians, Cardiovascular Technologists, Radiation Therapists

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Requirements

To become an MRI technician, you must first complete a degree program. Both associate's and bachelor's degree programs are available in MRI studies. Associate's degrees are the most common. In addition to general science courses, you become exposed to MRI instrumentation and procedures, patient safety and care, anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, and pharmacology.

Training Overview

To become licensed, you're required to complete real-world training in MRI technology, which is typically offered as a part of a degree program, or can be completed while working as a radiologic technologist. Hands-on training provides you with clinical and didactic experience that exposes you to both MRI equipment usage and patient interaction. You'll gain comprehensive experience in patient safety as well as MRI procedures related to particular organ systems.


State requirements for licensure vary, but generally you are required to take a qualifying exam. Many states accept certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) in place of a state MRI exam. To qualify for the ARRT certification exam, you must graduate from an accredited MRI degree program, demonstrate that you are competent in clinical and didactic procedures, and adhere to ethical standards. Individuals who have not taken the ARRT exam are typically required to take a state exam. To maintain your license as an MRI technician, states commonly require you to complete continuing education coursework every two years, among other requirements.

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