Radiologic technologists must follow exact instructions to get the images needed to diagnose and treat the patient.
Radiologic technologists and MRI technologists typically need an associate’s degree. Many MRI technologists start out as radiologic technologists and specialize later in their career. Radiologic technologists must be licensed or certified in most states. Few states license MRI technologists. Employers typically require or prefer prospective technologists to be certified even if the state does not require it.
An associate’s degree is the most common educational requirement for radiologic and MRI technologists. There also are postsecondary education programs that lead to graduate certificates or bachelor’s degrees. Education programs typically include both classroom study and clinical work. Coursework includes anatomy, pathology, patient care, radiation physics and protection, and image evaluation.
The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) accredits programs in radiography and the American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists (ARMRIT) accredits MRI programs. Completing an accredited program is required for licensure in some states.
High school students who are interested in radiologic or MRI technology should take courses that focus on math and science, such as anatomy, biology, chemistry, physiology, and physics.
Work Experience in a Related Occupation
MRI technologists typically have less than 5 years of work experience as radiologic technologists.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Radiologic technologists must be licensed or certified in most states. Few states license MRI technologists. Requirements vary by state.
To become licensed, technologists must usually graduate from an accredited program, and pass a certification exam from the state or obtain a certification from a certifying body. Certifications for radiologic technologists are available from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Certifications for MRI technologists are available from the ARRT and from the American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists (ARMRIT). For specific licensure requirements for radiologic technologists and MRI technologists, contact the state’s health board.
Employers typically require or prefer prospective technologists to be certified even if the state does not require it.
Detail oriented. Radiologic and MRI technologists must follow exact instructions to get the images needed for diagnoses.
Interpersonal skills. Radiologic and MRI technologists work closely with patients who may be in extreme pain or mentally stressed. They must put the patient at ease to get usable images.
Math skills. Radiologic and MRI technologists may need to calculate and mix the right doses of chemicals used in imaging procedures.
Physical stamina. Radiologic and MRI technologists often work on their feet for long periods during their shift and they must lift and move patients who need assistance.
Technical skills. Radiologic and MRI technologists must understand how to operate complex machinery.