What Does an MRI Technologist Do?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic medical tool that uses a magnetic field and radio wave energy to produce images of the human body. An MRI technologist works in this area of specialty in radiology. Read on for more information about what an MRI technologist does. Schools offering Cardiovascular Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

The role of an MRI technologist is an important one to surgeons, chiropractors, oncologists, and many other types of physicians. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) reports that the field of radiologic technology, including MRI technology, will grow during the period between 2016 and 2026; the BLS estimates that the employment of MRI technologists could grow by 14% during this decade. The BLS attributes this growth to a rising demand for imaging technology.

Important Facts About MRI Technologists

Key Skills Attention to Detail, Interpersonal Communication, Proficiency in Math and Science
Work Environment Healthcare Facilities
Professional Certification Offered through American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT)
Similar Occupations Radiation Therapist, Medical Sonographer, Cardiovascular Technologist


An MRI technologist needs to possess at least an associate's degree in radiology or radiologic technology, though a bachelor's degree is also commonly obtained. Academic radiology programs should be accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT, www.jrcert.org). Once enrolled in an accredited radiology program, one who desires to be an MRI technologist should specialize in that area. An MRI technologist certified with the American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists (www.armrit.org) is required to complete continuing education classes to renew certification every two years.

Duties and Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of an MRI technologist to perform the proper test requested by a doctor. An MRI technologist positions patients correctly and operates MRI equipment to produce clear images of bones, organs, and other soft tissues. A technologist also communicates with the patient via an audio speaker to relay any instructions while the MRI is being conducted. While an MRI technologist does not evaluate images for a patient, he or she typically supplies written reports about the images to the requesting doctor. In some cases, an MRI technologist might be responsible for performing routine maintenance tests on MRI equipment and schedule repairs as needed.

Salary Statistics

According to the BLS, the median annual salary earned by MRI technologists was $71,670 in May 2018. Technologists employed by outpatient care centers earned the most money in 2018, averaging $86,740 a year, per the BLS. Other high-paying industries included colleges, universities and professional schools ($82,130), specialty hospitals ($79,200), management of companies and enterprises ($78,270), and medical and diagnostic laboratories ($72,460).

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