What Is an MRI Tech and How to Get Started

Radiology is a dynamic field of medicine that encompasses multiple imaging modalities, including x-ray, MRI, and ultrasound. As an MRI tech, you’ll be taking vital images to help diagnose and treat various medical conditions. Read on to learn more about the benefits of and how to become an MRI tech.

What Are MRIs and How Are They Used?

MRIs, magnetic resonance imaging, are able to take clear, useful photos of every part of the human anatomy by using a strong magnet with radio waves. The magnetic components are operated by computer, which creates detailed images of body structures. MRI scans are frequently used to diagnose joint and bone problems, look into brain abnormalities, evaluate pelvic pain or infertility issues, and assess treatment progress.

MRI tech at computer
Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

What Do MRI Techs Do?

MRI technicians work closely with patients to explain the procedure, adjust equipment, and position the patient to perform diagnostics using radiological imaging. As MRIs are non-invasive and extremely effective, MRI techs are in high demand. They often help physicians interpret the images and diagnose the injuries and illnesses that are living under the skin. MRI techs are vital to hospital settings as they can gain greater insight into human tissues than doctors can get on their own. As an MRI technologist, you’ll typically work in a hospital, but you could also work in a medical laboratory, doctor’s office, or outpatient care center. As you gain experience as an MRI tech, you can go on to have a supervisory role in a hospital.

Job Requirements & Certifications For Radiological Technicians

Communication skills are paramount for MRI techs who need to work closely with patients while maintaining a calm demeanor and expressing compassion. You’ll need an understanding of anatomy and will need to be comfortable with hands-on contact with patients. Having a mechanical aptitude is another key skill as you’ll be operating, maintaining, and calibrating equipment on the job.

While the physical aspects of the job are not as demanding as some other medical technology careers, MRI techs should still be comfortable standing for long periods and working with heavy machinery. Attention to detail is an essential skill as you’ll be interpreting images from the MRI machine.

MRI technologist adjusting patient
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

MRI Technician Education Requirements

For MRI techs, the highest certification is from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). At a minimum, an MRI tech will need to go through an accredited certificate program from a community college or hospital. These certification programs last anywhere from a few months to a year and require either a high school diploma or GED to attend. Many new MRI techs have an academic degree, either an associate’s or bachelor’s, in MRI technology and certification from ARRT. There is another, although less common, certification available from the American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologist (ARMRIT), for which a clinical apprenticeship may be substituted.


MRI technicians are an essential part of healthcare and in high demand. MRI techs can expect to earn a median salary of $61,240, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2019. With experience, MRI techs can advance to supervisory or senior staff positions such as lead MRI technologist, MRI supervisor, or senior staff technologist. These advanced roles are more typically found in larger hospital settings where there is a larger staff.


Working as an MRI tech can be highly rewarding if you love working with people and positively impacting people’s lives. You’ll work closely with patients to reassure them and help them detect health issues they’re suffering from. If you prefer not to work odd hours, MRI techs most commonly work during the day and are usually scheduled far in advance so you can plan your own appointments around them.

If you dread doing the same thing every day, MRI techs are continually challenged with new tasks and are always interacting with new patients, so you’ll get to hear from a variety of people and personalities. You can also become an MRI tech in under two years, which can be appealing to those looking to enter the workforce quickly after high school.

How to Apply for MRI Technicians Positions

At Desert Medical Careers, we have years of connections in the healthcare industry. We provide help reviewing your resume to ensure it matches what employers are looking for so you can find the ideal MRI technician position.

If you’re looking for a position as an MRI tech, contact Desert Medical Careers at (602) 468-6300 or fill out the form below to get contacted by a DMC expert.

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