MRI Technician Requirements

Jobs for MRI technicians are steadily rising, and provide a great opportunity for those interested in such jobs. Understand the requirements to become an MRI technician to make the most of this rewarding field.
With the advance in medicine and technology, the requirement for professionals who can perform jobs associated with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is continuously rising. In fact, as of now, there are more jobs than professionals in this field. The search is on, for those who can take up such medical jobs, and perform them well. As a growing field, it is one of the best opportunities for those who are interested in making a full-time career. Here, we tell you how to become an MRI technician, and make the most of this opportunity that is thoroughly rewarding.

Job Description

The most important aspect of the job as an MRI technician is the ability to be able to operate the MRI equipment, that use radio waves to produce 3-D images of internal organs and body parts, that will help in diagnosing the patient's health condition. You will have to take a number of cross-sectional images of the particular body part you are scanning, to create a full image by putting them all together. To be able to perform an MRI, you will have to inject a contrast dye in patients, so that the areas you wish to scan will be highlighted during the procedure. Apart from this basic aspect, you are also required to perform certain associated duties, which include:
  • Scheduling MRI scanning procedures.
  • Preparing a patient to undergo an MRI scan.
  • Following doctor's instructions to the last word, and conducting procedures exactly as per their specifications.
  • The ability to read and understand the MRI scan, and provide specific information on the outcome of the scan, which is to be reported to the doctor.
To fulfill the various requirements of this job, you not only must have certain qualifications, but also certain skills that will help you perfect the job. While most of these skills will be taught to you during the training period, others you will need to develop as you get better at your job.
  • The most important of these skills is sensitivity to a patient's needs and inabilities. In many cases, patients are unable to move on their own, so you will have to help them get on the machine. In other cases, patients may be scared of undergoing the procedure, for the fear of the outcome. Here, it is your job to assure them that it is an uncomplicated procedure and that it will be all right. This will require you to have excellent communication skills.
  • Other skills include time management, and keeping in mind that a particular procedure may take longer than usual because certain patients may not be prepared for it.
  • You will have to learn how to take care of the equipment you have been made responsible for, and protect yourself and others who accompany patients from the radiation produced by the equipment.
  • Proper knowledge of operating the equipment is a skill you must develop to ensure that all the MRI procedures are carried out smoothly. Attention to detail is an essential part of the job, to be able to understand and communicate the intricacies of each report.
This job will also require to be physically fit, so as to maneuver the heavy equipment and help patients in adjusting to the machine. Also, this job requires you to be standing for long hours, so you should be fit enough to fulfill the physical requirements of this job. Having a good eyesight is essential so as to read the images correctly. You are likely to be working in a hospital, full time, as an MRI technician.

Education Requirements

To become an MRI technician, you must also complete the education requirements for the job, along with getting some relevant work experience. These requirements have been enlisted below:
  • You must opt for a specific degree program, offered by the various schools. Here, you are offered a variety in the type of course you wish to pursue. You may go for a certificate course, which lasts for 1-2 years, an associate's degree, that lasts for 2-3 years, or a bachelor's degree, that lasts for 4-5 years. The most common choice for students has been the associate's degree.
  • You must ensure that the program you choose is accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).
  • Most of the above-mentioned skills and job requirements will be taught to you along the length of the course. Here, you will be taught how to take x-rays, perform an MRI, maneuver and maintain the equipment, and finally, position the patients and carry out a smooth procedure.
  • To professionally pursue this career, you will require to give a license exam after you have attained your degree, and some work experience. This is because you will be dealing with sensitive equipment that produces radiations that though controlled, can be harmful to some.
  • After attaining your license, you will need to continue pursuing education credits to maintain it. Also, continuous training is extremely essential to keep yourself up-to-date with changes in technology, and adapt to the changing requirements of the job.
The salary of an MRI technician ranges anywhere between US $50,000 to US $55,000, which is expected to increase in the coming years. The demand for such professionals is steadily rising, and people who can perform these medical jobs well are always going to be wanted by the field. You may also earn on an hourly basis, along with benefits and travel opportunities. So, are you ready to fulfill all these requirements to get yourself a well-paid job that has guaranteed growth opportunities?
By Puja Lalwani
Published: 7/17/2010
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