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MRI Technician Career Outlook

Sep 30, 2010

MRI technicians will be increasingly in demand in the coming years. More doctors are ordering this type of diagnostic study for their patients to diagnose a number of conditions.  Currently MRIs are very expensive and for those without insurance they can be unaffordable.  As the prices of MRIs come down they will be used in new ways to diagnose new conditions and more people will be able to have this type of testing done.  An increasing number of patients getting MRIs will mean that hospitals and diagnostic centers will need to employ even more technicians in the future.  New MRI technicians just starting out at their new jobs should consider themselves very fortunate to have decided upon such a stable career field with so many opportunities.

Job Description

MRI technicians are responsible for performing MRIs once they are ordered by the physician.  The technician helps the patient prepare for the test by checking over their pre-procedure checklist to ensure that they do not have any contraindications for the testing.  These contraindications might include pacemakers or other implanted devices.  They can help educate the patient on what will occur during the exam.  They send the images to the radiologist for review.  Being an MRI technician requires at least three years of education after high school.  These years include two years of school to become a radiology technician and one year to be trained to use MRI technology.

Salary Expectations

The average salary for an MRI technician fresh out of training might be around thirty five thousand dollars a year.  After some experience, the median income can jump to nearly sixty thousand dollars a year.  These numbers can both be higher if the MRI technician chooses to work near a large city or in a large medical center.  More experience and more training equals a higher paycheck for an MRI technician. 

Where Do MRI Technicians Work?

Primarily, MRI technicians work in a hospital setting.  They can also work in outpatient diagnostic centers, free-standing buildings where only diagnostic testing procedures are completed. MRI technicians can accept travel assignments as well.  They can get paid at a higher hourly rate to accept assignments on a short-term basis.  Often, MRI technicians who do this get paid a housing allowance and perhaps even completion bonuses.  In the future, more technicians will be able to find jobs in more diverse settings.

What Does the Future Hold for MRI Technicians?

MRI studies are diagnostic tests that are relatively new to medicine.   It wasn’t so many years ago when patients outside of major metropolitan areas had to travel long distances to obtain an MRI.  Now that MRI machines are more readily available and the technology is a little older, more MRI will need to be completed. This technology is especially valuable, because unlike X-rays and CT scans, MRIs do not expose the patient to radiation. They are also great tests to diagnose many problems like strokes, herniated disks, and a number other problems.

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Skills for an MRI Technician
Jan 28, 2011

If you enjoy the technical aspects of anatomy and medicine, training to be an MRI tech might be a good choice for you.

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