Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technician (MRI) Associate's Degree
MRI technician education programs contain both classroom and hands-on clinical training in imaging equipment operation. Learn about accredited schools, degree requirements, certification exams and salary info for this field. Find out whether you can study this field online. Schools offering Biomedical Engineering Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Do I Need a Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technician Associate's Degree?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most people decide to earn an associate's degree (www.bls.gov). However, you can opt to earn an MRI certificate, which can take up to two years. You may also earn an MRI certificate by way of a post-associate's degree certificate program. This program can be pursued only after you've become a certified radiological technician.
There are two excellent sources for programs leading to an MRI associate's degree program. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) is the field's primary credentialing body. However, on its website, the ARRT also offers a list of schools that offer ARRT-recognized magnetic resonance imaging programs (www.arrt.org).
The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) is the only accrediting organization for radiologic technology educational programs recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (www.jrcert.org). JRCERT maintains an online directory of nearly 400 schools that offer accredited associate's degree programs, a number of which are related directly to magnetic resonance imaging.
What Are Some Program Details?
A 2-year program might consist of 66-95 credits. Depending on the school, you may be able to earn an Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science in magnetic resonance imaging or radiology with a specialization in magnetic resonance imaging.
A typical program might include courses like introduction to radiology, medical terminology, principles of MRI, MRI safety, equipment usage, MRI methodology, patient care, pathology and human biology. In addition to didactic courses, your program will require a large amount of clinical work, practicums or externships.
Following graduation, you may be eligible to sit for a certification exam administered by the ARRT. Though voluntary, the BLS states that not only may certification enhance your chances of employment, but many states use ARRT certification as a requirement for licensure (www.bls.gov). Most states require licensure in order for you to practice as a radiologic technologist.
What Are Some Online Education Opportunities?
Because of the emphasis and importance placed on in-person training, your online options are somewhat limited. Schools may provide you with the opportunity to pursue didactic and general education courses only online. In other cases, you may be able to pursue an online MRI certificate, but only if you hold ARRT certification. You may also have the opportunity to pursue individual courses such as MRI principles, sectional anatomy or physics online.
What Is the Occupational Outlook?
In 2010, the BLS stated that employment for all radiologic technologists, including those qualified in MRI, was projected to increase 17% from 2008-2018. The latest salary statistics are also from 2010. At that time, the BLS stated that the mean annual wage for radiologic technologists and technicians was $55,730. If you become certified in additional areas such as computerized tomography, mammography or bone densitometry, your chances for employment, advancement and better pay may increase.
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