Medical resonance imaging (MRI) technicians are trained to use imaging equipment to see soft and hard tissues within the human body. Doctors then use these images to diagnose patients. The demand for MRI technicians is on the rise due to the aging baby boomer population. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certifies MRI technicians and most states require MRI technicians to be licensed.
The ARRT recognizes MRI technicians who enter a program specifically developed for MRI technician training, as well as health care workers who have completed a training program for other radiology programs, including sonography and nuclear medicine. Bachelor degrees, associate degrees and one-year certificate programs are available for those interested in a career as an MRI technician.
The ARRT is the only organization that offers certification for MRI technicians. You can be certified by the ARRT if you complete an ARRT-accredited program for radiology technicians, comply with ethics standards and pass a certification exam. You are also eligible for certification if you have clinical experience in certain subject areas, such as mammography, sonography and quality management.
Candidates who have completed the educational requirements and are eligible for certification must submit an application and send a fee to the ARRT. You must attest to good moral character and should not have any criminal convictions or military court martials on your record. An exam administered by the ARRT on the clinical procedures and knowledge of skills of technologists must be passed.
To be certified as an MRI technician, you must take and pass the ARRT test within five years from graduation of an ARRT-accredited school. In addition, you are only allowed to take the test three times within a three-year limit. After you become certified, registering with the ARRT on an annual basis lets employers know that you are certified and have completed all the necessary requirements for this profession. In order to maintain your registration, you must complete 24 hours of continuing education every two years.
Many states also have individual licensure requirements for MRI technicians, in addition to initial certification. According to the ARRT website, 36 states use the scores from the ARRT test for their licensing decisions. You must be granted permission to practice as an MRI technician in these states. You must follow your state's laws, which can usually be found on your state's Department of Health website, regarding application and renewal of state licenses.
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