MRI technicians obtain specialization in Magnetic Resonance Imaging; this technique employs magnetic fields and radio frequencies to represent the interior organs of the patient in photographs. These technicians interact with physically fit as well as patients who are ill and are guided and administered by certified radiologists. To operate the MRI machine and help the patients undergoing diagnosis one requires an associate’s or bachelor’s degree or a certificate in Radiologic technology.
Training of MRI Technician mainly stress on the following curricula: imaging features and MRI scan setup, safety and screening protocols, cross-sectional anatomy, quality assurance, history of magnetic resonance imaging, surface coils, scanning parameters and computer simulation. These train the students for real-life MRI backdrops.
Employers look for MRI technicians who have had their post-secondary education experience, including associate degrees or bachelor’s degree or a certificate in Magnetic Resonance Imaging or Radiologic Technology. Most of the employers may even require the job seekers to have a prior experience in this field.
MRI technicians should have the ease to operate the MRI machinery, the peripheral equipment and monitors which they get from the clinical training during the training program. They should also be hospitable to the patient’s necessities to get detailed information, follow the instructions given by the healthcare professionals, and communicate well with the patients. In short they have to prepare the equipment and the patient before capturing the images.
Initial education programs furnish with both clinical training and classroom instruction offered at technical colleges, universities and MRI Technician schools.
Associate’s Degree in Radiologic Technology
The Associate of Science degree program in Radiology Technology can be accomplished in two years usually. During this program positioning of the patients during various radiological examinations and taking of X-rays students are learnt by the students. Procedures for patient care, Anatomy and physiology, Radiologic Technology and physics are also studied during the course.
Bachelor’s Degree in Radiology Technology
To enroll in this 4yr bachelor degree program in Radiology Technology, most of the schools ask for an associate’s degree in the very field. Courses like pharmacology, computed tomography, pathology and healthcare law are taken by the students in the bachelor’s degree program. There would also be an externship towards the conclusion of this program to offer hands-on experience to the students.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging Certificate
Once the bachelor’s degree is completed the student can do one to two years of MRI certificate program. The courses studied are cross-sectional anatomy, MRI principles, healthcare ethics and imaging applications. Most of these programs involve a minimum of 500 hours as clinical MRI interns.
One can use as an additional reference a lot of similar type of degrees including x-ray technologies, radiology, and ultrasound technology. These degrees are in extremely high demand and also there’s a high job growth, at least for the year 2012. As the technologies become more widely used and as the population ages, the demand for MRI Technologists is likely to increase.
Hence it is suggested that one should try and get a good training period so that they could get into organizations that pay them well. Level of training of MRI Technicians is one of the factors that affect the pay one might be expecting. So training well leads to placement in a good organization and this in turn leads to a high pay scale. So, become an MRI technician and be a competition rather than facing a competition.
In any field the better the school you attend the better will be the choice of your career. MRI Technology is not an exception. Those who attended the best schools are the ones who are hired for well reputed establishments as MRI Technicians. One need not attend a traditional campus school to receive good education. There are a vast number of schools available where one can pursue their studies online. How can you find out which one is the best option out of the many choices available?? So, let’s get into the details.
Path to become an MRI Technician
- Students who aspire to become an MRI technician should initiate by taking courses such as biology, microbiology, physics, physiology, anatomy, and chemistry. One has to register themselves in MRI Technician School in order to obtain a legitimate certification once they have completed high school. Also one should see to it that the school is accredited and recognized by the governing authorities, while choosing.
- The next move is to incur either an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in Radiology technology or Associated Health Sciences. Most of the programs related to associate’s degree provide clinical work and coursework in anatomy, radiation, physics and patient health care policies.
- After graduation one should also accomplish a certification program which renders 1-2 years of training in functions, operation of MRI technology. Also if one is highly experienced in health care they may become an MRI Technician with a certification program minus associate’s or bachelor’s degree
- The next step is to obtain a State Licensure and this may vary from state to state. The process involves passing a written exam.
- Many employers choose to employ only certified MRI tech. For the American Registry of Radiologic Technicians to provide with the certification one has to get through the exam and also need to cease their continuing educational requirements.
Types of MRI Technician Degrees and Certifications
The following are the MRI technologist training programs
Associate of Science in Allied Health Sciences: Students who are interested in applying to an MRI technologist school build up a strong base in the Allied health sciences and learn more regarding their future career path with the help of this degree. Courses like anatomy, chemistry, physiology, medical terminology and general education classes are a part of their curriculum. Courses from an allied health sciences degree may be transferred based on the MRI technologist program.
MRI Technologist certification: Students who have already got some experience in radiography and medical imaging can opt for the MRI technologist certificate programs. Students who have enrolled themselves for on campus program or an online MRI technologist program will take classes in MRI technology systems and MRI procedures. It may take one year to complete most of the programs.
Associate of Science in Radiography or Radiology Technology: This program which combines medical imaging classes with general academics and trains the students for entry-level work as radiography technologists takes 2-3 yrs for its completion. One may be eligible for MRI technologist degree program or MRI Technologist certificate once they have gained experience as Radiography technologist.
How to choose a School?
Any school chosen should be accredited by either a national or state organization for radiology. Most of the employers don’t even consider a candidate who is from a school with no accreditation. Get the degree or certification from an accredited school or else remember that without accreditation one may not even qualify for grants or scholarships. Also check out for the track record of the schools.
In most of the MRI Technician schools importance is given to the learning of the following:
- Patient safety
- Medical terminology
- Imaging procedures
- Radiology technology
- Physiology and Human anatomy.
- Radiographic positioning
- Other prospects of clinical training.
An MRI Technologist also requires the following knowledge, skill and ability requirements:
- Physical Demands
- Communication and Interpersonal Skills
- Patient Care/Diversity
- Clinical Knowledge
The following are some of the best schools available for becoming an MRI Technician:
Grand Canyon University: For those who are looking to become MRI Technician this is the best online school that provides a perfect academic degree. The Bachelor’s degree program in Medical Imaging Science of this school aims at gearing up its students for a professional life in the branch of medical imaging involving MRI, CT, X-ray, radiology and sonography.
Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences: BS in radiological sciences offered by this school may be a perfect academic degree for those who aspire to become MRI Technician or advancement in their career. The credentials needed by the professionals of medical imaging are provided to its students to advance in a greater extent to administrative career roles with the help of this degree.
Kaplan University: This University provides AS in medical assisting degree program, an education designed to train students for entry-level positions within the healthcare industry. Graduates of this program can assist in routine medical procedures and lab tests, including MRIs.
Bryant and Stratton College: AAS in medical assisting degree program provided by this school prepares its students for an exciting career as medical assistants. A medical assistant is an integral member of the medical team whether they are assisting in patient intake, or preparing an MRI machine for use. Graduates work in a hospitals, private practice, government agency or clinics.
DeVry University: This University provides a BBA in health services management which is an online degree curriculum, centering on the information regarding healthcare and accomplishments needed to become MRI tech. For superior positions, the university develops student’s administration abilities.
Pima Medical Institute: The AOS in radiography and BS in radiologic sciences programs at this institute groom the students as MRI techs. Also one can larn how to position the patients exactly, ascertaining that it gives rise to a prime diagnostic image.
Virginia College Online: Bachelor’s degree in health services management from this school is majorly valued for its adaptability and affordability in terms of course calendaring. One can study at their own tempo, online in order to pursue careers as MRI technologist.
Keiser University: The Medical assistant associate’s degree imbibes the students with the masterships wanted to machinate examination rooms, record critical signs, provide aid in laboratory operation, take X-rays, perform MRI scans, etc.
Brookline College: In AS in health administration curricula educatees are submerged in reality market, business and administration accomplishments with particular knowledge in today’s growing health care field. The program stresses on practical, ethical and legal matters felt in the day-to-day performances of a healthcare office comprising organization, medical records, administration and privacy.
Walden University: In BS in Healthcare Informatics online degree program of this school one will study evaluating and analyzing info processing demands and draw methods from dynamic set of technologies.
South University: The University’s AS in allied health science curriculum caters its educatees, general education with importance given to life science subjects including nutrition, biology, chemistry and anatomy.
Nowadays, many prefer to pursue MRI Technician jobs and radiology related careers. Throughout the world, there are scads of chances available for employment in many health facilities, for the MRI Technicians. So choosing a good MRI Technician School would be o great help to start a bright career.
Working of MRI
Human body mainly consists of water which is nothing but hydrogen atoms. The nucleus of this atom is used most often to perform MRI scanning in the following manner. The patient is made to lie inside a large, tube shaped magnet where radio waves which are 10,000 to 30,000 times stronger than the earth’s magnetic field are sent through the body of the patient. This disturbs the atoms of the body, causing the nuclei to drift in different positions. They transmit signals when they move back into their own positions. These are picked up by the scanner and converted into pictures by using a computer.
What can MRI show?
Use of MRI scanners enables us to take pictures of almost all the body tissues. Tissues like bones turn out dark when they have least number of hydrogen atoms and tissues such as fatty tissues turn bright when they have most number of atoms. To get the details regarding different types of tissues we should change the time of the radio wave pulses. The technique is most useful in the case of examining the spinal cord and brain, as MRI also shows clear pictures of body parts that are surrounded by bone tissues. It is the best technique in case of finding tumors and also whether it has spread to any nearby brain tissues. The heart and the large blood vessels in the surroundings can also be shown. Due to this, it is possible to find any heart defects that might be building up since childhood. This type of method can also be used to examine the spine, joints and sometimes the soft parts of the body like the kidneys and liver.
Examples of MRI scans
To see which parts of the brain are active when the patient is doing different things, MRI scans are used. Few examples showing different stimuli are:
MRI scans vs. CT scan
Most people often get confused with MRI and CT or CAT (Computed Axial Tomography) Scans but both are quite different.
|MRI Scan||CT Scan|
|MRI scan uses radio waves and magnets to produce images used for diagnosis. Unlike CT it doesn’t use any X-rays. The patient is slid into a large donut shaped magnetic tube to collect the images which are processed by a computer.||It is a special kind of X-ray where the patient is made to lie down and slid into a large, circular tube which then rolls around the patient to collect images processed by a computer.|
|Coming to the production of images they are produced when computer sends radio wave throughout the patient’s body in order to obtain signals through atoms in the body’s cells. An antenna collects the details and transfers them to the computer. Although similar to CT images they are clearer when it comes to the soft tissues of the body.||In CT scans Iodine-based agents are sometimes used. The tumors are seen n the resulting images as these substances get absorbed by the abnormal tissues.|
|These types of scan tests are most useful for imaging of soft tissues of body. They can produce pictures related to cranial pain, joints, including fingers and toes, sensory and neutral parts of the body, tumors in brain, etc.||These types of scan tests are most commonly used for the imaging of the bones, chest, abdomen, skull and the pelvis.|
|Takes more time when compared to CT scan (30 mins).||Takes less time when compared to MRI scan (5mins).|
|Costlier when compared to CT.||Not as costly as MRI.|
Based on our medical history and symptoms the doctors will be able to advise the correct exam.
MRI vs. Ultrasound
|Often the doctors use MRI to detect diseases related to spine, bones and brain. It is a type of radiology technique which uses magnetic field and radio waves to produce images through a computer.
|In Ultrasound devices called as transducers are used to send sound waves through the body of the patient in order to produce images of their organs. It is the type of technique used in cases of identifying the conditions of the nervous and digestive system.
Stop worrying and like your MRI scan
One can make MRI scanning a more patient friendly diagnostic experience by reducing their anxiety both before and during the scan. Lack of attention from the MRI technician, wrong information and unfamiliarity with the procedure are the reasons for the cause of anxiety. To overcome these issues one can visit the MRI center even before appointed scan schedule. Usually the centers run on somewhat tight schedules but a visit during the morning can help to meet up with the technician and come to know about the procedure in advance. Trying to get comfortable with the technician who is going to deal with scanning may bear you from any stress. There is a continuous two-way communication with the MRI operator and also one will be constantly watched, on a patient monitoring system. Also one may not be able to see the camera and the microphone but they are there.
The noises made by the MRI are very unfamiliar and loud. Most modern MRI systems have stereo systems, so one can also carry their favorite CD with them to enjoy through the comfortable ear phones. If this is ones first MRI they can bring a friend or a relative along with them, as having someone beside, might be comforting rather than staying isolated in a machine. As one is already familiar with the staff, the machine and the facility, on the day of the examination they may be as comfortable as possible. Before starting with the tests the patients are checked for any metal objects as they may be causing serious troubles during MRI scanning. Also the technicians make sure that the patients do not have any implants. Once the patient is Okayed for the test, the scanning begins. One is reminded constantly not to move and to remain still as moving might cause distorted images and the entire test has to be repeated. Relax and don’t move as the more you move the longer it takes. Take some consolation to know the fact that it would have taken an hour to perform the same test 15 years ago, but now it is nothing more than half an hour.
MRI Scanning is non-invasive that is it does not require puncturing of the skin. So, taken necessary precautions and following the instructions given by the MRI operator one can nervelessly get their tests done.
Just a few decades and the use of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners has sprung up enormously. To name just a few, doctors order MRI scan to help diagnose cancer, multiple sclerosis, torn ligaments, brain tumors, strokes and tendonitis. Without any piercing of instruments into the body, an MRI scan is the most adept way to look inside the human body. Is it really true that this ordeal is truly better than another imaging technique, such as an X-ray or a CAT scan??? Check how.
The Prima Players: MRI Magnets
The main characteristics of a magnet are:
- Type of the magnet used is superconducting electromagnet.
- Strength of the magnet measured in Tesla (T) or gauss. In current clinical practice, these create a magnetic field which varies from 0.5 to 2.0 T.
The magnet is the heart of an MRI system. A horizontal tubes runs through the magnet from front to back. But don’t think that what we are dealing with is just a magnet. This is an unbelievably strong system that is capable of creating an ample and static magnetic field.
Some other Components of MRI
Other components include a patient table which allows sliding the patient in and out of the MRI machine, a very powerful computer system and a set of coils that send radiofrequency waves into the body of the patient. Different coils are used for different parts of the body like the neck, knees, head and wrist and so on. The part of the body which has to be examined determines whether a patient goes in head of feet first. The scanning can began once the body of the patient is at the isocenter of the magnetic field.
Role of atoms in the working of MRI
Billions of atoms that make up the human body are taken into the MRI when the patient slides into the machine for scanning. These atoms spin in random directions around their individual magnetic field. They line up either north or south in the magnetic field produced by the MRI. There may be a few unmatched atoms but atleast half of them go each way. When radiofrequency waves are applied those unmatched atoms spin the other way. The extra atoms return to the normal position emitting energy once the radiofrequency is turned off. This emitted sends signals to a computer which then uses a mathematical formula to convert it into image.
Imaging of MRI
The advantage of MRI scanner is that it can pick out even the minute points inside the body of the patient when required. The system goes point by point into the patient’s body forming a map and then it combines all these to create 3-d or 2-d images using a mathematical formula called FOURIER TRANSFORM. The spinning atoms send the signal to the computer as mathematical data which is then converted into an image.MRI Safety Concerns MRI scanning requires the patients to hold still as long as the tests are being perform and even the slightest movement may cause distorted images which may lead to entire scan being performed again.
There are no known biological risks involved when a patient is exposed to magnetic field of the strength used in MRI machines. So one need not worry about their safety unless they are carrying any metal objects as it may cause serious troubles like being pulled out without any warning towards the opening of the magnet at very high speeds. However patients who have implants like aneurysm clips in the brain, metallic fragments in the eye, dental implants (if magnetic) and so on are preferred to stay away from this type of scanning.Price of the MRI equipment Depending on potency and strength the prices of MRI equipment differs. The more the strength then more is the cost of the equipment as the images produced by it are of high quality. The cost of the MRI machines ranges from $1 to $3 million. The assemblages may require an additional $500,000. The overall cost involved in buying and maintaining of the MRI equipment requires a huge investment. The life-cycle of the machine is assessed to be around 7 years.Hope the magnets of this mighty machine drew you to understand well the working of the MRI machine. These machines are fast evolving so that they are more patient friendly.
The best career track one can choose to go up in life is to become an MRI technician. According to PayScale, as of December 2010, the average salary of an MRI technologist is between $49,176 and $66,896.
As a part of medical unit, MRI techs operate the MRI equipment. Their responsibility is setting up any test like explaining the procedure, preparing the patient and operating the equipment according to the requirement of the physician. They guide the patient during the imaging and record all the essential data, process the images and for further readings and diagnosis submit the test results to the concerned officials. They receive several years of MRI technician training, often terminating in a certificate program or an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Requirements vary from place to place and most of the states require professional certification and licensing.
Factors affecting the Pay
- Level of Education: The more you learn the more you can earn. This applies to anything. MRI Technicians are not an exception. Once they are out of school they get around $22,000 per annum. So one can imagine the amount of bucks they could be earning as they keep increasing their level of excellence is this field.
- Certifications: Those who have a certification add up to the strength of any field because of their knowledge and interest in the field .Henceforth those who have certifications are sold better and earn much more than those who do not have.
- Experience: An individual’s years of experience could determine how much he/she could be expecting. Beginners in this field could be expecting $39,305 to $50,000 per year on an average. Those who have 1-yr experience can expect around $37,232 to $53,493 annually while those who have 5-yrs of experience could be paid $49.726 to $62,138 per annum. MRI Technicians who have 10 yrs or more experience have earned $51,282 to $77,389 annually. Finally those who have been in this field for 20 yrs have been given a pay of $57,914 and $71,768 annually.
- Location of work: One can be expecting their pay depending on the location of their workplace. Also pay varies from state to state. Working in the state of California one can earn a highest pay of $50,000 to $90,000 annually. MRI Techs of the Texas state, enjoy an annual wage of $36,407 to $80,000 while Florida workers receive $45,000 to $58,000 per annum. Working in Illinois can help you earn $32,556 to $52,438 and MRI technicians in New York get paid around $59,495 to $77,902.
- Type of Employer: An MRI Technician can work for a government employer, private practice or a hospital. As of December 2010, working for a government employer can bring you an average salary of $39,677 to $59,309. According to PayScale, those working in hospitals earn between $40,739 and $61,965 per year and those working for a private practice earn salaries of $46,646 to $61,674.
Benefits given to MRI Technicians
To retain the employees and woo skilled workers most of the employers offer many benefits to their employees. Popular benefits include sick pay, paid vacation, insurance and education assistance, bonus incentives, travel opportunities, free housing allowance and expense compensation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the benefits add to the value of the salary by as much as 30 percent of the annual salary.
As there is a huge demand for skilled technicians, the career development path of MRI technicians is growing rapidly. One can increase their employment opportunities and move on to handle larger roles with further specialization in radiology subjects.
Career as MRI Technologist is one of the most intriguing, although there are many other rewardingly good opportunities in the domain of health care. MRI is the latest technology widely used by the doctors due to its exactness in aiding them to get a detailed look of the patient’s internal body parts. Because of the high level of information and due to safety it is rapidly expanding to hot stuff in this field. So the demand for MRI Technicians. As this field is highly specialized it has got real good service openings even for the recent grads.
How MRI serves?
The MRI cranks out images of the body. It relies on powerful magnetic and radio waves. In most of the MRI machines passing an electric current through serial wires causes magnetic field. Another set of wires transmit and receive radio waves surrounding the person in the MRI unit. Then a series of images rendering an extremely thin slice of body can be produced by a computer. These can be looked at in various angles by the doctor to determine the illness. In the MRI machines morbid details of the tissues that surface are more crystal clear than any other imaging tests that are available.
Role of MRI Techs
MRI Technologist, also referred to as MRI Technicians are highly qualified, disciplined and trained well work with a technique that does not involve puncturing the skin or entering a body cavity i.e non-invasive instrument and secure images of internal structures and organs with the purpose of helping the doctors come up with a proper remedy and treatment route. One should be able to follow the directions and instructions given by the physician impeccably. MRI machines are donut shaped tunnel like tubes. During the test, patients are made to stay inside this tube which may cause fear in most of them. Hence it is the work of the MRI technicians to see to it that the procedure is explained well in advance to their patients as well as the people accompanying them. They should be able to speak with the patients and reassure them that they won’t be facing any kind of inconvenience during the test. They should also be able to position the patients in a right manner (even in case of disabled ones) for optimal imaging. One should be able to understand what the MRI monitor shows and also they should be able to change the software options and scanning parameters during the adjustment of MRI scanner. For comparison purport MRI technicians should obtain previous reports like the X-rays or any other reports necessary, before conducting the MRI scan. One of their important responsibilities is to check for the working conditions of the equipment and report to the concerned officials in case of any failure.
MRI Tech get to work in decent, speckless and sterilized environments. Most often they might be working in hospitals or their attaching facilities like doctor’s clinic, diagnostic imaging centers, urgent cares, trauma centers, etc and guiding the patients and operating the equipment may require some amount of physical activity. They should possess good physical toughness as they need to be standing for long durations. Some of them might be working in travelling units. These units travel to patients, usually in rural areas, to perform diagnostic imaging.
In days to come as the world’s aging population rises, the need for MRI Technician may also increase. Recent studies also found that the job openings available for the MRI technicians are growing faster than their available qualified number and so, many hospitals are eyeing for temporary MRI techs to help them meet the demands. Why not give it a shot????