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Degree Overview: Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Majors Overview June 27, 2014

Those working with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) need specialized education and training. Earning an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in Magnetic Resonance Imaging is one method to gaining the education needed.

Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree Programs in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

A powerful magnet linked to a computer and radio waves is used in magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, technology to generate detailed graphics of structures within the human body. Various health care settings, including hospitals, hire technologists, and technicians equipped with the skills needed to use the equipment that will help them perform the proper diagnosis of medical issues after seeing inside the body.

Apart from general education classes, coursework in the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) program includes specific training in the use of the equipment, medical terminology, physiology, and anatomy. An advanced certificate in MRI is commonly offered by schools for graduates of an associate’s degree program in radiologic science or radiography.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma. Thirty hours of observation in the MRI field or other related health field may be required to be completed by students enrolled in some schools.


Typically, coursework in the first year of a two-year associate’s degree program may include general education classes in addition to introductory courses in health science. During the second year, coursework may include specialized classes. Clinical experience is included in most programs. Coursework may include the following topic areas:

•Pharmacology for health professionals
•MRI physics
•Health profession skill
•MRI scanning
•Cross section anatomy

Job and Wage Outlook

Specialization in magnetic resonance imaging will help individuals earn the titles of radiologic technicians and technologists; more complex imaging procedures are usually performed by technologists. A faster-than-average job growth rate of 17% has been predicted for radiologic technologists and technicians during the decade from 2008 to 2018 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In 2012, radiologic technologists and technicians took home an average annual wage of $54,180.

Certification, Continuing Education, and Licensing Choices

The bachelor’s degree program in radiation sciences or related areas is offered by many schools; coursework in the program most likely will include training and education in MRI. The schools may also allow students to transfer some credits from the associate’s degree program.

Licensure is mandatory for radiologic technologists in most states, although each state has its own requirements. Professional associations certify education and skills through voluntary credential programs offered by them. Certified candidates are usually preferred by employers.

Certification is offered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists as well as the American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists. Passage of a national exam, completion of an approved education program, and adherence to the group’s code of ethics are usually the requirements for awarding certification. A designated amount of work experience is also required by the first-named organization. Continued education by certified individuals is required by both organizations, and a list of approved schools is provided by both.

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