MRI Technologist Vs MRI Technician Comparison

Although MRI technicians and MRI technologists can perform many similar duties, they may have different priorities. MRI technologists often consult with physicians, while MRI technicians may spend more time focused on patient preparation and care.

Comparing MRI Technologist to MRI Technician

MRI technologists and MRI technicians use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment to produce images of patients that can be used to diagnose their conditions. MRI technologists also work directly with physicians to determine if they've successfully captured all relevant data and determine whether more images are needed. MRI technicians may spend more time preparing patients for their scans.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary Job Outlook (2014-2024)*
MRI Technologist Associate's Degree $68,420 annually (2016)* 10%
MRI Technician Associate's Degree $29.57 per hour (2017)** 16% (for Health Technicians)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; **PayScale

Responsibilities of MRI Technologist compared to MRI Technician

MRI technologists and MRI technicians are both responsible for ensuring that patients who need MRIs are prepared for the procedure. This can involve injecting them with dye and filling out charts with information about the patient's medical history. They must make sure that patients are positioned correctly and then use the MRI scanners to capture images of the appropriate areas of the patient's body. MRI technologists also review the images with doctors and help decide if they need to take more images, while MRI technicians may be more involved with preparing the patients for the scans and helping to position them so that the right areas are scanned.

MRI Technologist

MRI technologists are medical professionals why usually prepare for their career by earning an associate's degree and certification in this field. It's common for radiologic technologists to aspire to this career, and many begin their medical career as radiologic technologists before becoming an MRI technologist. Since MRI technologists must follow instructions from doctors and keep records of their work, it's important that they are meticulous and document patient procedures thoroughly. Patient safety is important, so they need to be able to mix chemicals in the right amounts that are given to patients, and they also must ensure that areas that do not need to be scanned are protected from the MRI scanner. The majority of MRI technologists work in hospitals, and their hours may include overnight and weekend shifts.

Job responsibilities of an MRI technologist encompass the following:

  • Introduce themselves to patients and explain procedure
  • Answer any questions the patient has about the procedure
  • Ensure the patient is prepared for procedure and positioned correctly
  • Use MRI scanners to capture images of patients
  • Update patient records with the results of their scans

MRI Technician

MRI technicians are an integral part of the medical diagnostic team, and they follow directions from physicians when preparing patients for MRI scans. They interact with patients and explain the procedure, and they help position patients for the scans they are going to have. This part of their job can be physically demanding, since they spend a lot of time working on their feet, and they may also need to help move patients with limited mobility. It's common for MRI technicians to complete an associate's degree in a related field, and they also need to be licensed.

Job responsibilities of an MRI technician encompass the following:

  • Ensure equipment is prepared for procedure
  • Greet patients and prepare them for their scans
  • Cover parts of the patient's body that do not need to be scanned
  • Remove covers after scans are complete
  • If necessary, help the patient get back into a wheelchair

Related Careers

Those considering a career as an MRI technologist may also be interested in being a radiologic technologist since the work also involves scanning patients, although different equipment is used. Aspiring MRI technicians may want to consider pursuing a career as an obstetric or gynecological sonographer, since these medical professionals also use equipment to produce patient scans that help physicians diagnose their conditions or track fetal growth.

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