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Radiologic technologists, also known as radiographers, perform diagnostic imaging examinations, such as x rays, on patients. MRI technologists operate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners to create diagnostic images.Duties
Radiologic and MRI technologists typically do the following:
Healthcare professionals use many types of equipment to diagnose patients. Radiologic technologists specialize in x-ray and computed tomography (CT) imaging. Some radiologic technologists prepare a mixture for the patient to drink that allows soft tissue to be viewed on the images that the radiologist reviews.
Radiologic technologists might also specialize in mammography. Mammographers use low-dose x-ray systems to produce images of the breast. Technologists may be certified in multiple specialties.
MRI technologists specialize in magnetic resonance imaging scanners. They inject patients with contrast dyes so that the images will show up on the scanner. The scanners use magnetic fields in combination with the contrast agent to produce images that a physician can use to diagnose medical problems.
Healthcare professionals who specialize in other diagnostic equipment include nuclear medicine technologists and diagnostic medical sonographers, and cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including vascular technologists.
Radiologic technologists and MRI technologists typically need an associate’s degree. Many MRI technologists start out as radiologic technologists and specialize later in their career. Radiologic technologists must be licensed or certified in most states. Few states license MRI technologists. Employers typically require or prefer prospective technologists to be certified even if the state does not require it.Education
An associate’s degree is the most common educational requirement for radiologic and MRI technologists. There also are postsecondary education programs that lead to graduate certificates or bachelor’s degrees. Education programs typically include both classroom study and clinical work. Coursework includes anatomy, pathology, patient care, radiation physics and protection, and image evaluation.
The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) accredits programs in radiography. Completing an accredited program is required for licensure in some states.
High school students who are interested in radiologic or MRI technology should take courses that focus on math and science, such as anatomy, biology, chemistry, physiology, and physics.Work Experience in a Related Occupation
MRI technologists typically have less than 5 years of work experience as radiologic technologists.Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Radiologic technologists must be licensed or certified in most states. Few states license MRI technologists. Requirements vary by state.
To become licensed, technologists must usually graduate from an accredited program, and pass a certification exam from the state or obtain a certification from a certifying body. Certifications for radiologic technologists are available from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Certifications for MRI technologists are available from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) and from the American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists (ARMRIT). For specific licensure requirements for radiologic technologists and MRI technologists, contact the state’s health board.
Employers typically require or prefer prospective technologists to be certified even if the state does not require it.Important Qualities
Detail oriented. Radiologic and MRI technologists must follow exact instructions to get the images needed for diagnoses.
Interpersonal skills. Radiologic and MRI technologists work closely with patients who may be in extreme pain or mentally stressed. Technologists must be able to put the patient at ease to get usable images.
Math skills. Radiologic and MRI technologists may need to calculate and mix the right doses of chemicals used in imaging procedures.
Physical stamina. Radiologic and MRI technologists often work on their feet for long periods during their shift and they must be able to lift and move patients who need assistance.
Technical skills. Radiologic and MRI technologists must understand how to operate complex machinery.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before MRI Technologist
Top Careers After MRI Technologist
Hispanic or Latino10.4%
Black or African American0.8%
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Casa Loma College - Van Nuys7.4%
West Coast Ultrasound Institute7.4%
Weber State University7.1%
Midwestern State University6.5%
Southern Illinois University Carbondale6.1%
University of Pennsylvania5.5%
Thomas Jefferson University5.2%
Forsyth Technical Community College4.8%
Ferris State University4.5%
Community College of Rhode Island4.5%
Greenville Technical College4.2%
Prince George's Community College3.5%
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences3.5%
University of South Alabama3.5%
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|MRI Technologist||Thomas Jefferson University Hospital||Philadelphia, PA||Oct 11, 2015||$69,075|
|MRI Technologist||Thomas Jefferson University Hospital||Philadelphia, PA||Oct 11, 2012||$64,459|
|MRI Technician||Ross Orthopedic Group PC||Mineola, NY||Apr 08, 2012||$62,610|
|MRI Technologist||University of Pittsburgh||Pittsburgh, PA||Jan 01, 2016||$55,872|
|MRI Technologist||Doshi Diagnostic Imaging Services PC||Hicksville, NY||Oct 01, 2011||$55,682|
|CT/MRI Technician||Mercy Health Partners-Lourdes, Inc.||Paducah, KY||Jan 10, 2016||$47,403|
|CT/MRI Technician||Mercy Health Partners-Lourdes, Inc.||Paducah, KY||Apr 05, 2016||$47,403|
|CT/MRI Technician||Mercy Health Partners-Lourdes, Inc.||Paducah, KY||Aug 19, 2016||$47,403|
|Ct/Mri Technologist||Mercy Health Partners--Lourdes, Inc.||Paducah, KY||Oct 01, 2013||$43,055|
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