Are you interested in becoming an MRI technician? Are you searching for a career path that will afford you options for advancement and excellent pay, without requiring an exorbitant amount of time and money spent on schooling?
If you are considering becoming an MRI technician, it is important to know more details about the role itself, the education required, career potential, and the MRI tech salary. For all this information and more, read on.
What Is An MRI Technician?
Before delving into the MRI tech salary, it is important to understand what the job itself entails. An MRI tech manages magnetic resonance imaging scanners, which use radio frequency and intense magnetic fields. These scanners form 3D imaging of the body tissues of each patient, making magnetic resonance imaging scanners an invaluable diagnostic tool.
To enter the field and earn an MRI tech salary, you must first receive your certificate, associate’s degree, or diploma in MRI technology. Depending on the state, they will also require you to get licensure before starting work. We will go into more detail on these aspects further in this article.
In the meantime, you should also know quite a few MRI technology educational programs are only available for individuals with previous training as radiologic technologists or technicians. So, if you have already earned your certificate in a discipline like radiologic technology, you are one step closer to entering the MRI technician field.
There are some essential duties associated with the role which determine the average MRI tech salary. MRI technicians use MRI scanners to engage in specialized diagnostic testing of a patient’s body. Most MRI techs are supervised by doctors and other medical professionals trained in the field.
There are many potential environments that an MRI tech could work in, including diagnostic imaging centers, doctor’s clinics, hospitals, and mobile radiographic units. On a daily basis, MRI techs review the doctor’s orders for a particular patient and explain the upcoming MRI to the patient in careful detail. Next, the MRI tech chooses the right software and imaging specifications for the patient and changes the setting on the MRI machine. Once the MRI machine takes images of the patient’s body tissues, the MRI tech reviews the images and noting the results accordingly.
MRI techs must also be able to move equipment for the MRI machine and examination, help patients get ready for the procedure, and aid disabled individuals by transporting them from their wheelchairs to the exam table to prepare them for the scans. This job requires someone with a certain amount of physical strength, who can maneuver heavy equipment and assist obese or disabled patients without incident.
To earn the optimal MRI tech salary, you must also have strong oral and written communication abilities, and an innate understanding of the physical and mental needs of the patient. You must be incredibly detail-oriented and able to follow any doctor’s orders for a procedure in full and to the letter. It is essential to be able to work well in a team environment, as MRI techs must liaise with technicians, doctors, and other medical professionals on a day-to-day basis.
Besides physical strength, honed soft skills, and a team mindset, an MRI tech needs to have sufficient stamina to get the job done. As an MRI tech, you spend much of the day on your feet, moving equipment and patients, reviewing scans, and recording results. It is imperative to balance out both the physical and mental requirements of the job.
If you are interested in entering this field and earning an MRI tech salary, there are key educational requirements you must fulfill first. In most cases, you must have already finished or be close to finishing your education as a radiologic technician or technologist before they can accept you to an MRI technician program.
Depending on the institution and locale, you may also need to be fully certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. You can enroll in and complete your MRI technology program at a variety of institutions, including universities, colleges, and trade schools. You may choose to complete a certificate, diploma, or associate’s degree in MRI technology.
Coursework covers an array of subjects, including patient care and safety, musculoskeletal anatomy and pathology, imaging law and ethics, MRI procedures, MRI instrumentation, and MRI physics. Besides relevant classes, MRI technician trainees must also complete a clinical practicum to gain on-the-job experience with patients and equipment.
Licensure requirements vary depending on the state you live in, so you will need to check to make sure you meet all local mandates to start work as an MRI tech. Most states require licensure in addition to the completion of a certificate, diploma, or associate’s degree in MRI technology, so bear this in mind when pursuing this career path.
To become fully licensed in the field, you must first complete a fully accredited program in MRI technology, followed by passing an exam. You can take either a state exam or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists voluntary national certification examination. If you opt for licensure through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, you will be obliged to take continuing education courses to maintain your certification.
Career Outlook & MRI Tech Salary
If you are looking to enter this field and earn an MRI tech salary, the good news is that the job outlook for this career path is fantastic. In fact, it has been estimated that jobs for MRI techs would increase by 13% in the decade between 2016 and 2026.
This figure is impressive, considering it is way ahead of the national average of other industries. Another factor that makes the demand for MRI techs considerable is the increase of an aging population. As the generations grow older, the need for specialized diagnostic imaging and skilled professional who can operate the associated equipment will continue to grow.
The MRI tech salary you can expect to earn is prone to variation based on your employer, education, and experience in the field. Professionals with several years of experience under their belt are likely to earn more than those just entering the field. The median MRI tech salary is around $$ per year.
This means that about half of all professionals in the field earn a lower MRI tech salary while the other half earns a higher MRI tech salary. There is a typical range for most individuals earning an MRI tech salary, usually falling somewhere around $ and $$$ per year.
Besides your experience in the field, educational credentials, and employer, the state you live in place a significant role in the MRI tech salary you can expect to make. For example, professionals working on the coasts will probably earn a higher salary when compared to MRI techs working in the Midwest. This is partly to be commensurate with the difference in the cost of living in these areas, but it is a fact to remember when considering where you want to work.
If you would like to increase your earning potential for an MRI tech salary, consider the education and experience you receive in the field. For instance, earning an associate’s degree over a certification will probably be much more attractive to a potential employer and potentially increase your MRI tech salary. Previous experience as a radiology technician or technologist could help as well.
Another factor to remember when considering the MRI tech salary you wish to earn is the accrediting body you receive your licensure through. While they will require you to take continuing education courses to maintain your certification received through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, employees prefer this designation over the state one by far.
Your MRI tech salary potential will be considerably greater the more experience and education you receive. Remember, that the most competitive candidates are individuals who already have the educational exposure, study background or working experience as a radiology technician or technologist.
Assess your skill set when determining whether you wish to embark on a course of study to become an MRI tech. To be a success in this field, you must be an excellent communicator, with sensitive understanding towards patients, a team mentality to liaise with colleagues, and extreme detail orientation to ensure diagnostic accuracy.
You must have a significant level of physical strength and stamina to perform the duties of this job in full. You need to have the ability to lift disabled or heavy patients, maneuver them towards the examination table, and manage and operate heavy diagnostic equipment.
Becoming an MRI tech and earning a comfortable MRI tech salary rarely requires as much education and training when compared to other fields. Upon completing your certificate, diploma, or associate’s degree in the field from an accredited institution and getting licensure, you can typically embark immediately on this rewarding career path. Once you have considered the duties, required skills, educational requirements, and outlook you can decide if this career path is a good fit.