Radiologic and MRI Technologists

Career, Salary and Education Information

Top 3 Radiologic Technologist Jobs

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Top 3 MRI Technologist Jobs

  • CT/MRI Technologist - MRI - Mount Carmel - Mount Carmel Health System - Columbus, OH

    This is what truly sets Mount Carmel apart. In return, Mount Carmel provides excellent learning and growth opportunities, excellent benefits and

  • MRI Technologist, FT - Mary Washington Hospital - Fredericksburg, VA

    Prepares patients for MRI examinations by confirming physicians' orders, verifying patients' identities, and obtaining adequate medical histories to

  • MRI Technologist (Full Time)- Chinle, AZ - Shared Imaging - United States

    Distinguished by our unmatched access to capital and strong balance sheet, we are able to provide our clients with the latest technology and

See all MRI Technologist jobs

What Radiologic and MRI Technologists Do[About this section] [To Top]

Radiologic technologists, also known as radiographers, perform diagnostic imaging examinations, such as x rays, on patients. MRI technologists operate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners to create diagnostic images.

Duties of Radiologic and MRI Technologists

Radiologic and MRI technologists typically do the following:

  • Adjust and maintain imaging equipment
  • Precisely follow orders from physicians on what areas of the body to image
  • Prepare patients for procedures, including taking a medical history and answering questions about the procedure
  • Protect the patient by shielding exposed areas that do not need to be imaged
  • Position the patient and the equipment in order to get the correct image
  • Operate the computerized equipment to take the images
  • Work with physicians to evaluate the images and to determine whether additional images need to be taken
  • Keep detailed patient records

Healthcare professionals use many types of equipment to diagnose patients. Radiologic technologists specialize in x-ray and computed tomography (CT) imaging. Some radiologic technologists prepare a mixture for the patient to drink that allows soft tissue to be viewed on the images that the radiologist reviews.

Radiologic technologists might also specialize in mammography. Mammographers use low-dose x-ray systems to produce images of the breast. Technologists may be certified in multiple specialties.

MRI technologists specialize in magnetic resonance imaging scanners. They inject patients with contrast dyes so that the images will show up on the scanner. The scanners use magnetic fields in combination with the contrast agent to produce images that a physician can use to diagnose medical problems.

Healthcare professionals who specialize in other diagnostic equipment include nuclear medicine technologists and diagnostic medical sonographers, and cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including vascular technologists.

Work Environment for Radiologic and MRI Technologists[About this section] [To Top]

Radiologic technologists hold about 197,000 jobs. MRI technologists hold about 33,600 jobs.

The industries that employ the most radiologic technologists are as follows:

Hospitals; state, local, and private 59%
Offices of physicians 21
Medical and diagnostic laboratories 8
Outpatient care centers 4

The industries that employ the most MRI technologists are as follows:

Hospitals; state, local, and private 59%
Medical and diagnostic laboratories 20
Offices of physicians 14

Radiologic and MRI technologists work in healthcare facilities. Technologists are often on their feet for long periods and may need to lift or turn patients who are disabled.

Injuries and Illnesses

Like other healthcare workers, radiologic and MRI technologists may be exposed to infectious diseases. In addition, because radiologic and MRI technologists work with imaging equipment that uses radiation, they must wear badges that measure radiation levels in the radiation area. Detailed records are kept on their cumulative lifetime dose. Although radiation hazards exist in this occupation, they are minimized by the use of protective lead aprons, gloves, and other shielding devices, and by badges that monitor exposure to radiation.

Radiologic and MRI Technologist Work Schedules

Most radiologic and MRI technologists work full time. Because imaging is sometimes needed in emergency situations, some technologists work evenings, weekends, or overnight.

How to Become a Radiologic or MRI Technologist[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Radiologic and MRI Technologists near you!

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.

Radiologic and MRI Technologist Education

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. 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 American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (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.

Important Qualities for Radiologic and MRI Technologists

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. Technologists must be able to 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 be able to lift and move patients who need assistance.

Technical skills. Radiologic and MRI technologists must understand how to operate complex machinery.

Radiologic and MRI Technologist Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for radiologic technologists is $56,670. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $38,110, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $81,660.

The median annual wage for magnetic resonance imaging technologists is $67,720. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $46,690, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $94,550.

The median annual wages for radiologic technologists in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Hospitals; state, local, and private $57,950
Outpatient care centers 56,820
Medical and diagnostic laboratories 56,660
Offices of physicians 51,610

The median annual wages for MRI technologists in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Medical and diagnostic laboratories $68,080
Offices of physicians 67,680
Hospitals; state, local, and private 67,380

Most radiologic and MRI technologists work full time. Because imaging is sometimes needed in emergency situations, some technologists work evenings, weekends, or overnight.

Job Outlook for Radiologic and MRI Technologists[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of radiologic technologists is projected to grow 9 percent over the next ten years, faster than the average for all occupations. Employment of MRI technologists is projected to grow 10 percent over the next ten years, faster than the average for all occupations.

As the population grows older, there will be an increase in medical conditions, such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, which require imaging as a tool for making diagnoses. Radiologic and MRI technologists will be needed to take the images. In addition, the number of individuals who have access to health insurance is expected to continue to increase because of federal health insurance reform.

However, employment growth of radiologic and MRI technologists may be tempered, as many medical facilities and third-party payers encourage the use of less-costly, noninvasive imaging technologies, such as ultrasound.

Radiologic and MRI Technologists Job Prospects

Technologists who graduate from accredited programs and those with multiple certifications will have the best job prospects.

Employment projections data for Radiologic and MRI Technologists, 2014-24
Occupational Title Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24
Percent Numeric
Radiologic and MRI technologists 230,600 251,200 9 20,700
  Radiologic technologists 197,000 214,200 9 17,200
  Magnetic resonance imaging technologists 33,600 37,100 10 3,500


*Some content used by permission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

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