MRI Technologist Career Guide

Overview

Better training is no doubt responsible for better medical care, but part of the credit must also go to more advanced and more accurate equipment. Many different devices help detect problems that might go unnoticed otherwise. They help to confirm a suspected diagnosis, and they help to administer and monitor treatments. Magnetic resonating imagery (MRI) technology has been instrumental in improving overall health and longevity for millions of people around the world. These powerful machines provide more effective and higher quality results than can be attained with a traditional x-ray, making them a highly desirable feature in hospitals and other healthcare centers everywhere. Of course, these machines perform very delicate, precise work and so can’t be left to chance, meaning they must have human operators to guide them as well as to tend to patients. That’s where the role of the MRI technologist becomes important. If you have a desire to help others and a natural aptitude for technical work, you might consider a career in this fast-paced and exciting medical field.

Job Duties

While working closely with doctors, MRI technicians, and paramedics, an MRI technologist’s main duty is to operate a machine through which two- and three-dimensional images of human anatomy are obtained. The device uses ultra-powerful radio waves and magnetic fields to obtain images of blood vessels, soft tissue, and internal organs.

On the technical side, these specialists are responsible for using accurate imaging techniques and selecting the proper peripheral hardware necessary to maintain the highest possible quality images. Once the images are transferred from magnetic media to a disk, the technologist must see that the automatic processor creates clear, usable transparencies to return to the patient’s physician.

Less technically but no less important is the professional’s duties to address any concerns, questions, or fears a patient might have at any point during a procedure, make the patient comfortable, and ensure that all patient data is entered and monitored properly.

Job Outlook

As America’s senior population increases and low-risk diagnostic procedures experience increased demand, more and more MRI technologists have found employment in a quickly growing field. Technologists are frequently employed in hospitals, clinics, physicians’ offices, and diagnostic imaging centers. According to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2011, there were 26,290 individuals employed as technologists in the United States. The precise job outlook varies from state to state, but there is an expected national average growth rate of 11.46% over the next several years.

Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for an MRI technologist in 2011 was around $58,390.

Educational Requirements

It is important that candidates follow state and institutional rules, which vary depending on region and state levels. At a minimum, professionals must have a high school diploma or a two-year associate’s degree before they can apply for a certification course. If a traditional campus-based education is out of reach, students might instead choose an online radiological technology program.

To practice legally, professionals must also be licensed through the American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists, or ARMIT.

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