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

Majors Overview February 19, 2014

The role of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technicians is to see to a patient’s comfort, explain the MRI process, operate MRI scanners, and make sure quality images are being produced. An entry-level job in the field of radiology can be obtained with an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in magnetic resonance imaging.

A.A.S. Programs in Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Students enrolled in an Associate of Applied Science of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Degree Program are trained to take exams aimed at becoming registered MRI technicians. Admission to this two-year program is very competitive, and admission criteria may require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma, in addition to submitting standardized test scores.


During the course of an associate’s degree programs, prospective MRI technicians could use clinical training to supplement their education. They may become adept at taking images of both internal organs and bones. The program may also focus on honing the problem solving and critical thinking skills of candidates. Coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Radiologic technology
•Patient care
•Public speaking

Job and Wage Outlook

A higher-than-average job growth rate of 21% has been projected for MRI technicians and other radiologic technicians during the decade from 2012 to 2022 (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2012, MRI technicians from the 10th-90th percentile earned an average annual wage ranging between $37,060 and $77,160. Those among them with between one and four years of work experience took home between $24,240 and $59,900 annually.

Certification and Continuing Education Choices

Those who graduate from an associate’s degree may seek to continue their education by earning a Bachelor of Science degree in magnetic resonance imaging. Coursework is devised to impart knowledge in subject areas such as MRI technologies, diseases, psychology and chemistry. An MRI professional who completes a master’s degree program in health administration or business may aspire for a supervisory position.

Passage of an examination can help a candidate acquire certification, in addition to attending a school that carries the approval of the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Certification can be renewed by taking additional courses every two years. Licensure norms differ from state to state, and while certification is not mandatory, licensure requirements can be satisfied in some cases by ARRT certification.

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