How to Become an MRI Tech: A Step-By-Step Guide | AIMS Education

Updated on November 30th, 2020

MRI training programs are designed to give you all the skills you need to find work in the allied healthcare workforce.  An MRI technologist program is an affordable education option for many but it also has a selective application process. 

Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of steps that will help you apply and enroll with ease. Learn how to become an MRI tech and what are the must have qualifications that will help you jump start your career. Keep in mind that depending on the school you choose requirements and procedures may vary slightly. 

1. Choose an MRI Tech School

Before you can apply for an MRI technologist program, you need to decide where you want to complete your training. This can be a formidable task, as there are thousands of MRI programs throughout the United States. 

Research Schools that Offer an MRI Tech Program

Many students love the option of staying near to – or in – their hometown. On the other hand, quite a few want a new beginning in a new area. Because you’ll be spending a lot of time there, it’s important to check out the school’s campus to see if it’s a good fit.

Once you know where you’d like to study, you can start preparing your application.

Plan to Visit the Campus of the MRI Tech School

Before applying, be sure to make an appointment with a member of the admissions team who will help you determine how to achieve your personal goals. You should go over your past educational and academic performance to see how it fits and contributes to the course you are about to enroll on. This is also the best time to discuss any specific enrollment procedures as well as relevant costs and financial aid opportunities.

2. See What Financial Aid Applies to Your MRI Tech Training

Most MRI training schools provide options for financing to cover tuition fees. In other words, MRI students are often able to pay for their education through financial aid programs.

We cannot recommend completing a FAFSA application enough. It is a free online application for federal student financial aid for college or graduate school. Ensure you submit your FAFSA application no later than four days before you apply to an MRI program. 

Registering for federal student aid is easier than most people think. In fact, it takes less than an hour to complete and 3 to 14 days to find out the outcome! 

3. Complete Your MRI Tech Application 

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash 

Students are typically required to apply for a magnetic resonance imaging program in person. During this appointment, they will need to submit all required documents and undergo an interview with the program director. They often have to pass the Wonderlic SLE (or another similar entrance exam) to meet the minimum entry-level requirements.

Remember to ask your school’s representative if they have rolling admissions. This means that prospective students can apply for MRI technician programs at any time since admission officers evaluate applications as they are received. Rolling admission will give you more time to make up your mind about this specialty as well as valuable time to complete the application forms and documents properly. 

Pass an Entrance Exam for Your MRI Tech Program

You shouldn’t be nervous about taking the Wonderlic SLE. Most educational, nursing, and police training programs require it from applicants before they are admitted. 

Wonderlic is widely regarded as the most precise way to determine a prospective student’s academic success. In a nutshell, the exam determines a candidate’s general mental capacity and competencies. It evaluates the student’s ability to meet the school’s educational requirements, and whether he or she will be able to retain new knowledge.

By assessing prospective students, MRI technologist schools can determine whether or not candidates are a good fit for the program they’re applying for. This also helps to reduce the number of frivolous student loans. 

Meet the Requirements for the MRI Tech Program

There are usually a variety of factors considered when a tech school reviews diagnostic MRI technologist applications. These likely include the highest level of education successfully completed, GPA, healthcare experience, points of reference, entrance exam scores, and your performance during the entrance interview. 

Strong applicants will have already completed college courses in health sciences. Due to the competitiveness of MRI Technologist programs, schools usually recommend that applicants hold an associate degree before applying to an MRI tech program.

Wait for the Decision  

Photo by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash 

Awaiting a school’s decision is likely the most nerve-wracking part of the entire application process. The silver lining here is that most MRI tech schools tend to fast-track their decisions, so you should hear if you’ve been accepted within two weeks. 

Finish Your MRI Tech Course Enrollment

The prospective MRI technologists are often expected to schedule an appointment to complete the registration process. This may include signing an enrollment contract as well as any other documents required by the school.

4. Attend the Orientation of Your MRI Tech Program

Before or on the first day of classes, students in MRI Tech programs will likely attend a mandatory orientation. Though it’s required, the orientation is still a great chance to learn more about the relevant policies and procedures at your school. 

5. Complete Your MRI Technologist Training

During the course of any first-rate MRI program, you’ll learn how to perform examinations by using advanced technology and tools. The hands-on MRI training is combined with classroom instruction and a clinical internship. You’ll learn a lot about patient care, technological procedures, evaluation of MRI images, cross-sectional anatomy, and much more. 

While studying, make sure to stay up to date on any technological changes in the field of MRI. Not only is this a fascinating and ever-changing sector, but ongoing learning will help you stay on top of innovations and thus climb up the career ladder easily.

Complete Your MRI Tech Clinical Internship

Once the class and lab instruction hours are completed, MRI students are required to participate in a 600-hour clinical internship. They are placed with an experienced allied healthcare mentor, who assists them with invaluable, real-world tasks in a professional setting. Usually, the school will have their MRI tech dedicated clinical affiliations where the students will do the internship.

6. Get Your MRI Tech Certification

 Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash 

MRI technologist certificate programs should be accredited with the American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists (ARMRIT). Once students have completed their training, they are eligible to take the ARMRIT national certification exam for MRI. 

If you are an MRI graduate with an associate degree, you can also pursue primary pathway certification through The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). 

7. Look for Entry-Level MRI Tech Jobs

Upon successful completion of their training and clinical internship, prospective MRI technologists can seek employment in various healthcare facilities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 16,800 new MRI tech job openings between now and 2029. 

Of course, employment possibilities vary across different states. For example, New Jersey offers some great opportunities for MRI techs. There are over 10 hospitals in the Garden State as they also tend to be the main employer of those professionals. 

8. Advance in Your Field for a Higher MRI Tech Salary

If you wonder why to become an MRI technologist, career advancement opportunities are one of the best reasons. Investing in your professional qualifications, associate degree, or even training in relevant medical procedures, would all be a great benefit to your portfolio. 

According to BLS, the median annual magnetic resonance imaging technologists’ salary was $73,410 in May 2019. This figure reached $101,580, earned by the highest-paid 10%. This is another proof that by investing in your education and gaining experience, you can accomplish a lot.

Start Your MRI Tech Education Today

Prospective MRI techs will be happy to learn that, after graduation, they’ll be entering into an extremely strong job market. According to the BLS, the field of MRI is expected to grow by 7% from 2019 to 2029. What’s more, as we already mentioned, MRI technologist salaries throughout the country are very generous! 

Choosing an MRI technologist training is a fantastic career move that is also rewarding in many ways. So if you live in the New Jersey area, make an appointment with an AIMS representative to start your MRI tech career today!