Ever wondered what’s going on inside a person’s head? Have you always wanted to help save lives? Are you a big fan of medical television shows?
If you’ve answered “yes” to these three questions, congratulations! You might be MRI technologist material!
What Is an MRI tech?
A magnetic resonance imaging technologist is an allied health professional who assists and guides patients through MRI scans. From the moment you step into the examination room, you’ll be in their hands.
It may sound like a complicated job – and sometimes it can be – but a career in diagnostic imaging is a great choice. Let’s take a look at the top reasons why and how to become an MRI tech.
1. It’s Great for Social People
Pursuing an MRI tech position is excellent for anyone who wants a patient-facing career – you just need the right healthcare degree or certificate.
You’ll be spending lots of time working with new people from all walks of life. As patients share tidbits about their lives, you’re sure to hear some pretty interesting stories.
2. You’ll Feel Like You’re the Boss
Many of your patients will have little to no experience with MRI machines, so they’ll rely on you for guidance before, during and after the procedure.
Once a person enters the examination room, you’re responsible for making sure they follow the rules. Just be sure to remember that physicians have the final say.
3. You’ll Never Be Bored
MRI technologists face a lot of challenges. You’ll be working with many different types of people while operating sophisticated, expensive pieces of equipment. This is a profession that will keep you challenged and excited throughout the working week.
4. No One Can Hide Anything from You
This profession is great for anyone who has a fascination with human biology. You get the chance to really see what’s inside people – there’s not much you can hide when you’re inside an MRI machine!
5. Great Positions for Tech Lovers
If you’re a tech geek, you’ll definitely appreciate working with sophisticated equipment and computers all day long. 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). As you improve your skills, you’ll also become more computer and tech-savvy.
6. Become an Expert of Human Anatomy
MRI tests are able to reveal detailed 3D images of even the most hidden, unreachable parts of the human body. If you’re fascinated with anatomy (and biology in general), the field of medical imaging could be right up your alley.
7. You’ll Learn to Understand People Better
MRI certification programs will provide the skills you need to give effective, clear instructions for patients to follow.
It’s common for patients to experience claustrophobia (a fear of tight spaces). You’ll need to understand the root of their problem in order to calmly handle more high-maintenance patients.
8. You’ll Have Great Stories
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 fairly good chance that you’ll get to witness some strange patient behavior, too. Just be mindful of HIPAA laws: A violation of patient privacy will cost you your job.
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.
12. Develop a Magnetic Personality
The main part of any MRI machine is a huge, powerful magnet. Some scanners have a maximum magnetic strength of nearly 3.0 Tesla, meaning that you’ll be exposed to a very strong (but completely harmless) magnetic field. You’ll probably never learn how to manipulate magnetic fields like this guy though:
As long as you stick to the safety protocol, this shouldn’t have any effect on your life (but it does make for a pretty cool job description).
13. There’s No Pressure to Wear Nice Jewelry
Since you’ll be exposed to a strong magnetic field, any piece of worn metal can attach itself onto the huge magnet when it’s turned on.
MRI techs aren’t allowed to wear any jewelry or piercings, so if fancy trinkets aren’t your thing, the examination room is a safe place for you.
14. You Can Avoid the Typical Hectic Hospital Workflow
There are times when a medical facility may look like a beehive, with people rushing through the narrow corridors, shouting orders, and patients shifting in their seats while waiting their turn.
For the MRI technologist, a busy day is a busy day, but you’ll be spared from all the chaos raging outside your examination room door. Instead of multitasking and rearranging your schedule, your attention will be focused on a single task in your own space.
15. You’ll Work in a Neat and Clean Environment
The whole process of MRI scanning is very clean and fairly straightforward. You’ll be spending a large portion of your time in front of the computer and less time physically interacting with the patients (compared to some other great healthcare professions).
16. 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 daily shifts. Most MRI techs don’t spend much time lifting, moving, or transporting patients and equipment.
That said, you won’t be spending all of your working hours in front of a computer giving instructions to patients. You’ll also need to assist them to get into a comfortable position before each scan takes place.
17. You Can Avoid Long Night Shifts
MRI scans need to be planned well in advance, and it usually takes around a week for a patient to be approved. This means that an MRI technologist work schedule is relatively well-organized and evenly-paced.
18. You’ll be a Certified Allied Health Professional
As an MRI technologist, you’ll be a certified healthcare specialist. At the end of your training, you can earn a degree or certificate and become eligible for the ARMRIT and/or ARRT certification exams.
19. Completing an MRI Program is Actually Pretty Fun
Apart from classroom instruction, you’ll also have to complete nearly 1000 hours of a clinical internship. Under the guidance of an experienced mentor, you’ll apply what you’ve learned about MRI physics and instrumentation, human anatomy, and physiology.
By working alongside trained professionals, you’ll learn more useful information (and fun stories) from their years in the industry.
20. Start Working Without Major Student Loans
You don’t need years of medical school and tens of thousands of dollars to find excellent work in a hospital. With great MRI tech career opportunities across America, you’ll have enormous freedom to choose where you work (and for a salary you deserve).
21. 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.