Radiologic technologists must follow instructions exactly to get the images needed for diagnoses.
Radiologic technologists and MRI technologists typically need an associate’s degree. MRI technologists may start out as radiologic technologists. Most states require radiologic technologists to be licensed or certified, but few states require licensure for MRI technologists. Regardless of state requirements, employers typically require or prefer to hire technologists who are certified.
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, and physics.
An associate’s degree is the education typically required 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 academic 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 magnetic resonance, and the American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists (ARMRIT) accredits MRI programs. Some states require candidates for licensure to complete an accredited program.
Work Experience in a Related Occupation
MRI technologists typically need less than 5 years of experience in a related occupation, most often from working as a radiologic technologist.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Most states require radiologic technologists to be licensed or certified. Few states require licensure for MRI technologists. Requirements vary by state.
To become licensed, technologists usually must graduate from an accredited program and either pass a certification exam from the state or obtain certification from a credentialing organization. Technologists may be certified in multiple specialties. Certifications for radiologic technologists are available from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Certification for MRI technologists is 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. Employers also may require or prefer that prospective technologists have certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or basic life support (BLS).
Detail oriented. Radiologic and MRI technologists must follow instructions exactly to get the images needed for diagnoses.
Interpersonal skills. Radiologic and MRI technologists work closely with patients who may be stressed or in pain. They must put patients at ease to get usable images.
Math skills. Radiologic and MRI technologists may need to calculate the proper amount of radiation or magnetic resonance emitted in imaging procedures.
Physical stamina. Radiologic and MRI technologists often work on their feet for long periods during their shift and must be able to lift and move patients who need help.
Technical skills. Radiologic and MRI technologists must understand how to operate complex machinery.