Start Your MRI Technician Education

Becoming an MRI technician is easier than ever. Now you can take all courses online and be certified in 22 moths or less. 

Pursuing a career in the medical fields presents you with multiple possible choices. The amount you are willing to work directly with patients and spend time in school impact your available choices so it is important to choose wisely. A career as a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technician is one way to work with patients on a limited basis and start your medical career fast. What does an MRI technician do? How long does it take to complete an MRI tech educational program?

The jobs and tasks performed by MRI technicians are crucial to properly diagnosing injuries, damages and certain diseases in patients. MRI technology is still top-of-the-line advanced and used to view issues in the human body other imaging sources cannot. How much does it cost to obtain an MRI technician education in 2021? What are my options to attend online and/or on-site schools? Read ahead for an informative guide on how to start your MRI technician education today. 

What Does an MRI Tech Do?

An MRI technician operates and assists patients in and out of MRI machines for the purpose of obtaining advanced imaging inside specified areas of the body. The job requires verifying patient information and asking questions relevant to the reasons why the MRI was ordered. MRI technicians must also explain how the procedure operates to each patient, while also assisting them in and out of the machine before and after the procedure. Positioning the patients comfortably and accurately inside the machine is also part of the job, as is reading/logging the MRI results based strictly on the information provided from the imaging. An MRI technician does not prescribe treatment options, although his or her insight (based on training/experience) is helpful to the doctors/specialists who do.

MRI Tech Salary Ranges

The median salary for an MRI technician in 2020 was approximately $63,710 per year or $30.63 per hour. Certain MRI technicians with more training, experience and/or education are capable of making $74,000 per year or higher. The MRI technician position is projected to experience a seven percent job growth rate through 2029, which is somewhat faster than average compared to all other professions in the U.S. through the same period of time.

Online and/or On-Site Attendance Options

College and university attendance options in 2021 are in what is perhaps a confusing state of flux due to changes made necessary (and then permanently adapted) by the COVID-19 pandemic. Mandatory COVID-19-related shutdowns forced education facilities to implement online learning environments into their curriculums. Now that vaccinations are having a positive affect and COVID-19 cases and risk of infection are rapidly decreasing in the U.S., more schools area able to facilitate on-site attendance again.

Online learning is popular, however, and most schools now facilitate multiple attendance options. Online and on-site programs offer essentially the same level/quality of education for similar prices. Tuition breaks on online-only courses are therefore generally not offered. Choosing between online, on-site or a hybrid learning environment involving both in 2021 has a lot to do with school policies and how much scheduling flexibility you want/need.

Certifications Required

Minimum education necessary to start your career as an MRI technician is an accredited certificate obtainable through a community college or hospital-facilitated program. Most MRI technicians obtain an associate degree in MRI technology, however, along with an American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification. Certifications are also available through American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologist (ARMRIT) programs. Obtaining a bachelor’s degree in MRI technology helps you get better paying jobs and is advisable if advancement into management and additional medical fields is desired.

Costs & Financial Aid options

The costs of obtaining an advanced education vary greatly based on the school you attend, the state in which it is located, level of degree pursued and scholarships/financial aid availability. The average cost for undergraduate MRI technician programs during the official 2020-2021 school year is $18,040 per year. Tuition for graduate-level MRI technician programs costs an average of $20,233 per year. Certificate programs cost significantly less. For example, application fees for various ARRT certificate programs cost between $200 and $400 per certificate. MRI technician certificates at Tseng College cost $415/certificate for lecture courses and $70/certificate for clinical courses.

Schools charge less tuition for in-state enrollees than for out-of-state attendees. Possible scholarships are also available based on academic and/or personal achievements. Financial aid is also available for qualified students by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form and applying for a Federal Pell Grants or other financial assistance options. It is also possible to obtain grant money to help pay for your MRI technician education if qualified.

Available MRI Tech Schools

Top quality MRI technician schools are available in 2021 whether you are pursuing a certificate program, an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree or more. What are the best available MRI tech schools today? Five of the best available MRI technician schools available in 2021 and the type of education each provides are:

MRI Technician Education – How Long Does It Take?

Similar to tuition costs the length of time it takes to complete your MRI technician education varies greatly based on multiple factors. For example, it generally takes 22 months to obtain an associate degree and four to complete bachelor’s degree programs. Certificate programs are shorter and take an average of three to twelve months to complete. Some online curriculums offer flexible and/or accelerated scheduling, which means completing your MRI technician education could take shorter or longer than average based on your needs.