Although there are no master's degree programs in MRI technology, students who want to become MRI technologists can earn an associate's degree in the field. These two-year programs involve general education courses as well as classroom instruction and clinical rotations in MRI technology. After earning the degree, students typically take the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) or American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists (ARMRIT) Certification examination.
Students who have already earned an associate's degree in a different field may choose to enroll in a certificate program in MRI technology in order to direct their careers toward the field. Some programs require that students already have AART, ARMIT, or CPR certification; students who enroll in these programs are usually looking for more advanced studies in the field. These programs take six to twelve months to complete and usually cover the same topics as associate's degree programs, but without the general education requirements.
Associate's Degree or Certificate in MRI Technology
The following are some of the core classes that students earning an associate's degree or a certificate in MRI technology may take:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Radiographic and MRI physics
- MRI instrumentation
- MRI pathology
- MRI cross-sectional anatomy
- Imaging ethics
Popular Career Options and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) MRI technologists earned a median annual wage of $67,720 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). Employment in the field is expected to increase 9% between the years of 2014 and 2024, which is faster than the average for all occupations.
Some settings where aspiring MRI technologists may seek employment include:
- Outpatient clinics
- Emergency care centers
- Physician's offices
- Private MRI labs
Continuing Education and Career Information
After completing an associate's degree or certificate program, students are prepared to take the AART or ARMRIT exam. If they pass, they become certified and can seek employment. AART-certified MRI technologists are required to complete education courses every couple years to maintain certification.
Students seeking further education may enroll in a bachelor's degree program in a field related to radiologic technology. Some schools allow students to apply credits from associate's degree and certificate programs to a bachelor's degree. According to the BLS, MRI technologists can boost their career prospects and advance to leadership positions by earning higher degrees, such as a master's degree in health policy or business administration.
Despite the fact that it is not possible to earn a master's degree in MRI technology, associate's degree and certificate programs can provide adequate training in the field. Upon graduation, students can become certified and start practicing or seek additional education.