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25 Reasons Why You Should Become an MRI Technologist

An MRI tech is the person who will assist and guide you through a magnetic resonance scan.

PROFaculty of Medicine NTNU / Flickr / CC BY-NC

Have you ever wondered what’s going on inside a person’s head when they first meet you? Are you fascinated by science? Are you a big fan of medical television shows? If you’ve answered “yes” to these 3 questions, congratulations! You’re MRI technologist material!

What is an MRI tech?

An MRI tech is the person who will assist and guide you through a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. From the moment you step into the examination room, you’ll be in the hands of one of these professionals.

It may sound like a complicated job – and sometimes it can be – but a career in diagnostic imaging is a great choice, both emotionally and financially. Let’s take a look at the top reasons why and how you can become an MRI technologist.

1. It’s Like Working in a Bar (Minus the Alcohol)

Do you like meeting people from all walks of life? Then this is a perfect job for anyone in healthcare who likes to be social; you just need the right healthcare degree or certificate. After that, you’ll be spending lots of time working with new people on a daily basis.

It’s a lot like bartending…minus the alcohol and loud music. You’ll hear some pretty interesting stories, as patients share their life’s journeys (as they try to calm or distract themselves during a scan). You’ll probably even get to serve drinks – as long as the order is for a cone-shaped cup of water.

2. You’ll Feel Like You’re the Boss

mri scan machines diagnostic imaging mri tech

Leon Brocard / Flickr / CC BY

Many of your patients will have little to no experience with MRI machines. They’ll be reliant on you for guidance before, during and after the procedure.

Once a person enters the examination room, they’ll be in your domain, and you’re responsible for making sure they follow the rules. Just don’t get too power-hungry: physicians have the final say.

3. It’s a Very Responsible Job

MRI technologists face a lot of challenges. You’ll be working with many different people while operating sophisticated and costly pieces of software and equipment. This is a profession that will keep you challenged and excited throughout the work week.

4. People Won’t Be Able to Hide Anything from You (Literally)

This profession is great for anyone with who has a fascination with human biology. You get the chance to really see what’s inside people. Patients can’t hide much from an MRI machine.

5. You’ll be Working with Very Specialized Pieces of Equipment

mri tech diagnostic imaging job responsibilities

jgmarcelino / Flickr / CC BY

When you sit down with your engineer buddies, you’ll definitely have a few things to say about electromagnetic fields and other interesting physical phenomena. You’ll also become more computer and tech-savvy with your daily job duties.

6. You’ll Learn a Lot About Human Anatomy

MRI scans medical imaging anatomical anatomy

Peter Lidwell / Flickr / CC BY

MRI scans reveal detailed 3D images of even the most hidden and unreachable parts of the human body. If you’re fascinated with anatomy, and biology in general, there’s no better job for you than in the field of medical imaging.

7. You’ll Learn to Understand People Better

This is something MRI training programs will prepare you for long before you start interacting with patients. Due to the nature of the work, you’ll need to learn how to give clear instructions that people follow.

As a result of this, you’ll also learn how to read and understand others as well. If, for example, someone has a fear of tight spaces, you’ll need to understand the root of the problem (childhood trauma or a phobia, for example). Then you’ll know how to effectively handle more high-maintenance patients.

8. You’ll Have Great Stories to Share with Your Friends

People have done some really crazy things in MRI scanners. Here are just a few examples of experiments that have been conducted. There’s a very good chance you’ll get to witness some of these strange experiments yourself. Just be mindful of HIPAA laws – a violation of patient privacy will cost you your job.

9. One Thing You Should Know About Your Salary

It’s only going to go up. MRI tech salary averages have been steadily increasing over the past several years. In fact, this is one of the best top-paying allied health careers!

10. Your Job Security Looks Pretty Good

The US healthcare sector has been slowly expanding in the last decade. In the past 10 years alone, there has been an average increase of 30% in the number of new healthcare positions. In fact, the hospital sector has now gained more than 100,000 jobs in the past year. Not only that, but because most MRI training is accepted in all 50 states, you have the opportunity to transfer to new areas. Growing opportunities in MRI technology make that big move even more secure!

11. If You’re Big on Technology, You’ll Absolutely Love Your Job

If you’re a tech geek, you’ll definitely appreciate working with sophisticated equipment and computers all day long. If you like to be surrounded by technology, you’ll feel at ease in your job.

12. You Can Expect New Toys Every Few Years

open air mri scan technology development

Matthias Weinberger / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND

Closed scanners are still widely used, but recent discoveries in the MRI field have also led to improvements in open air MRI models.

To meet patient demands, manufacturers are constantly working on increasing the efficiency and comfort of MRI machines. As technology develops, you can expect to see new and more advanced models every 5-6 years.

13. There’s No Better Way to Develop a Magnetic Personality

The main part of any MRI machine is a huge and very powerful magnet. Some scanners have a maximum magnetic strength of nearly 3.0 Tesla. This means that you’ll be exposed to a very strong (but completely harmless) magnetic field. However, you’ll probably never learn how to manipulate magnetic fields like this guy:

As long as you stick to the safety protocol, this won’t have any affect on your life, but it does make for a pretty cool job description.

14. There’s No Pressure to Have Nice Jewelry

As we mentioned, you’ll be exposed to a strong magnetic field. Any metal that is part of your skin or apparel could easily fly away and glue itself onto the huge magnet when it’s turned on.

That means you’re not allowed to wear any jewelry or piercings, so if fancy trinkets aren’t your thing, the MRI examination room is a safe place for you.

15. You’ll Get to Work in a Hospital or Imaging Center

If you’ve always wanted to work in a hospital environment, this is one of the better ways to do it while skipping the years of education and tens of thousands of dollars needed for medical school. Plus, there are great MRI tech career opportunities throughout the country, so you’ll have enormous freedom to choose where you work!

16. …But You Won’t be Heavily Exposed to the Typical Hectic Hospital Workflow

There are times when a medical facility may look like a beehive, with people rushing through the narrow corridors, someone shouting orders, patients shifting in their seats while waiting for their turn to be examined.

For the MRI technologist in the examination room, a busy day is a busy day, but you’ll be spared from all the chaos raging outside your door. Your attention will be focused on a single task, instead of trying to multitask and rearranging your time. Also, you’ll be enjoying it from your own space.

17. You’ll Work in a Neat and Clean Environment

MRI tech scan desk private room calm career

Ed Uthman / Flickr / CC BY-SA

No blood, no pain, no needles or scalpels. The whole process of MRI scanning is very clean and fairly straightforward. You’ll be spending a huge portion of your time in front of the computer and less time physically interacting with the patients, in comparison to some other great healthcare professions.

18. It’s Less Stressful Than Other Medical and Healthcare Positions

While you may be working in a hospital, you won’t be dealing with the same level of stress most medical and healthcare personnel have to deal with. The main reason for this is that you’ll be working with fewer patients compared to some other allied health professionals.

Your job won’t be completely carefree, but you’ll enjoy a less stressful workload than many of your colleagues in the hospital.

19. You Won’t Be Run Off Your Feet

Compared to nurses, medical assistants and nursing aids, your job will be downright relaxing. Nurses, for example, have far more physically demanding (and often mentally demanding) daily shifts. Most MRI techs don’t spend much time lifting, moving and transporting patients and equipment.

But you won’t be spending all of your working hours sitting in front of your computer giving instructions to patients through the speakers. You’ll also need to assist them to get into a comfortable position before the scan.

20. No Long Night Shifts

MRI scans need to be scheduled in advance, and it usually takes around a week for a patient to be approved for a scan. This means that your workday will be relatively scheduled and organized.

21. MRI Technologist Training Will Teach You Both Technical Knowledge and People Skills

A great thing about MRI courses is that they combine technology, medical and physiology-oriented classes. You’ll learn to understand both people and technology from the inside out.

22. You’ll be a Certified Healthcare Professional

As an MRI technologist, you’ll be a certified healthcare specialist. At the end of your training, you’ll earn a degree or certificate and become eligible for the ARMRIT and/or ARRT certification exams.

23. Completing an MRI Program is Actually Pretty Fun

MRI tech certification team healthcare specialist

Faculty of Medicine NTNU / Flickr / CC BY-NC

Apart from classroom hours, you’ll also have to complete nearly 1000 hours of a clinical internship. You’ll learn about MRI physics and instrumentation, human anatomy and physiology.

MRI tech trainees will expand their knowledge in the areas of physics, biology and human physiology. Of course, you’ll also work with trained professionals who’ll continue to give you more and more useful information (and fun stories!) from their years of experience.

24. Impress Your Friends and Family With Fancy Medical Terms

During classroom instruction, you’ll be introduced to a range of medical terminology and conditions. Next time you’re watching your favorite medical flick or show, you’ll understand almost every medical term they use.

Be sure to share the knowledge with your friends and offer to decipher all the strange medical jargon they can’t figure out themselves.

25. You Can Complete Your Education in Under 2 Years

Program length can vary, but it usually takes around two years to complete the course and obtain a degree or certificate. Compared to some other healthcare degrees, this is quite accessible. Some career paths require four to five years of studies before you can start working.

If you decide to join the MRI workforce, you’ll be working in the field in barely 2 years, and in a field with high demand for qualified individuals.  

To find more about MRI education and all the requirements, check out AIMS Education’s MRI program page.