MRI Technologists: Duties, Salary, and How to Become One

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MRI technologists play an important role in diagnosing critical conditions like dementia. Learn more about this impactful health care profession.

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Magnetic resonance imaging technologists use MRI scanners to create internal images of the human body. These scans are then used to diagnose a range of critical conditions, such as brain tumors and dementia, and inform the development of treatment plans to improve a patient’s health. 

MRI techs provide an important service that saves lives. In this article, you’ll learn more about MRI technologists, what they do, how much they make, and what you need to do to become one. At the end, you’ll also find suggested courses that can help you gain job-relevant knowledge right now. 

What is an MRI Technologist?

An MRI technologist uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology to take pictures inside the human body for diagnostic purposes. MRI technologists work in health care facilities, such as hospitals and clinics, where they provide patient care and conduct MRI scans that produce internal imagery of the human body using a combination of radio waves and powerful magnetic fields. 

Duties and impact 

MRI technologists are critical to diagnosing internal conditions, such as brain tumors, infections, and anomalous brain activity like that resulting from strokes, Alzheimer’s, and dementia. Some of the most common duties MRI techs perform include: 

  • Maintaining imaging equipment 

  • Preparing patients for MRI scans 

  • Working with physicians to identify where patients should be scanned

  • Operating imaging equipment during scans 

  • Maintaining relevant patient records 

MRI Technologists: Salary and job outlook 

Their skillset combined with a growing need for health care professionals means that MRI technologists are both in-demand and command a higher than average salary. 

MRI Technologist salary 

Those entering the MRI technologist field can expect a higher than average salary. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Radiologic and MRI Technologists made a median annual salary of $61,980 as of May 2021. [1]. 

MRI technologist job outlook 

The outlook for MRI technologists is positive with overall job growth expected to increase by nine percent between 2021 and 2031. During this period, the BLS notes that approximately 16,600 new jobs will open each year, indicating a healthy need for radiologic and MRI technologists for the foreseeable future  [2]. 

A key driver for this need is an aging U.S. population of baby boomers susceptible to conditions like Alzheimer’s, which require imaging technology to diagnose and monitor. 

How to Become an MRI technologist 

Typically, MRI technologists are required to have an associate degree in a related field of study like an Associate of Science in MRI Technology. Depending on the program, some degrees might even lead into a bachelor’s program. 

While some recent graduates might be able to get an entry-level MRI technologist position upon graduation, many employers prefer to hire those with previous experience in a related field like radiologic technologist. Depending on the state, MRI technologists may also be required to be certified or licensed to practice professionally. 

Get started today

A career as an MRI tech is possible with the right training and experience. 

Start preparing for your future as a health care professional by taking a flexible, online course like the University of Michigan’s Anatomy Specialization, which teaches the foundations of human anatomy, including the major organ systems, their functions, and their relationships within the body. 

The University of Pennsylvania’s Vital Signs: Understanding What the Body Is Telling Us, meanwhile, introduces course takers to the ways that the vital signs – heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, respiration rate, and pain – communicate important information about the physiological status of the human body.




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Article sources


BLS. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Radiologic and MRI Technologists,” Accessed August 9, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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