Master’s degree programs in MRI technology may not be available. Those still interested should look into associate or certificate programs. The American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists (ARMRIT) or American Registry of Radiologic Technologists Certification (ARRT) examination is necessary for those becoming professional MRI technologists.
Master’s Degree Programs in MRI Technology Overview
Few schools, if any, offer MRI technology programs at the master’s degree level. An associate degree in MRI technology may be a choice for students who wish to become MRI technologists though they may also avail bachelor’s degree and certificate programs. After they complete an education program, technologists may have to obtain certification or licensure before they are allowed to practice.
While incoming students to the associate degree programs in MRI technology are often required to hold only a high school diploma, a 2-year degree may be mandatory for admission to the certificate program. Each school may have additional program requirements, such as current ARRT certification or CPR certification.
Associate or Certificate Programs in MRI Technology
Becoming an MRI technologist entails the completion of a training program leading to a certificate or associate degree in MRI technology. These selective programs are devised to train students to take the ARMRIT or AART exam and obtain certification. Some students with prior certification may seek certificate programs to add to their knowledge.
The two programs mainly differ in their duration and coursework. Certificate programs are usually shorter than associate degree programs, lasting 6-12 months. Associate degree programs could last two years. However, incoming students to a certificate program may need to complete an associate degree in a related field.
In both programs, the program coursework may combine clinical rotations and classroom instruction. Students gain a grasp of magnetic energy fields and utilize the knowledge in a study of the tissues, bones, and organs of the human body via the creation of computer images. They learn about medical procedures and safety standards. They also learn about the operation of MRI machines, proper interaction with patients in varying stages of health, pulse sequences, noise ratios, production of quality images, analysis of images, and examination procedures.
Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED or high school diploma, along with passing a drug test and background check before they can gain admission or begin clinical rotations. Requirements vary by suggested qualifications and program. Requirements may include the completion of some high school classes such as physics or biology. The applicant may need to:
•have completed a radiography program or be in their senior year
•hold AART certification or be eligible for AART certification
•be a registered sonographer
•hold CPR certification and CNA certification
•pass a standard entrance test
Coursework in associate degree programs cover courses in general education. In a certificate program, students are only required to complete MRI technology related courses. Core coursework in both the certificate and associate degree programs may cover topic areas such as:
•MRI procedures and positioning
•Data acquisition and processing
•Radiographic and MRI physics
•Anatomy and physiology
•Image formation principles
•MRI cross-sectional anatomy
Program graduates may seek jobs in settings such as:
•Emergency care centers
•Private MRI laboratories
Job and Wage Outlook
In May 2016, radiologic technologists, which include MRI technologists, brought in an average annual wage of $58,960 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Radiologic technologists are expected to see a faster-than-average 12% job growth, over the 2016 – 2026 decade.
After they complete a certificate program or associate degree, students can take the ARMRIT or AART exam, the passage of which will entail certification and registration as MRI technologists leading to careers. Certification is required to be maintained every two years by AART certified MRI technologists through continuing education. Students may be allowed to transfer the credits from an associate degree or certificate program to bachelor’s degree programs in related radiologic fields. MRI technologists may seek career advancement to supervisory positions through continuing education such as a master’s degree program in business administration or health policy, or work experience (BLS).