The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) offers voluntary MRI technician certification for MRI technicians and radiologic technologists. In addition, most States use ARRT-administered exams for State licensing purposes.  

A great many MRI technicians are first  licensed or certified radiologic technologists who have the required amount of work experience in magnetic resonance imaging to meet certification standards. Beginning in 2016, MRI technicians must complete a set number of imaging examinations and 16 hours of formal education to be certified.

If you do not have experience as a radiologic technologist you must first complete a formal education program before taking the MRI certification examMRI certification is available from the ARRT and is accepted by most states for licensure. For specific state requirements, contact your state’s health board.

To be eligible for MRI certification, technicians must graduate from an ARRT-approved accredited MRI program and pass an examination. The MRI technician exam has three sections of 80 questions each.  The MRI certification examination is a combination of true false and multiple choice questions.

The first section deals with:

  • MRI physics
  • basic, intermediate and advanced physics
  • tissue characteristics and
  • electromagnetism

The second section is about:

  • clinical applications
  • pulse sequences
  • image parameters
  • spatial localization
  • image quality
  • enhancement agents
  • types of MR magnets
  • coils and peripheral equipment

The third section of the MRI exam deals with:

  • bioeffects
  • safety and patient care
  • MRI cross-sectional anatomy

Many employers prefer to hire certified MRI technicians. In order to maintain an ARRT certification, 24 hours of continuing education must be completed every 2 years.

Federal legislation protects the public from the hazards of unnecessary exposure to medical and dental radiation by ensuring that operators of radiologic equipment are properly trained. It is up to each State  to require MRI technician licensure and most States do require licensure. Licensing requirements vary by State; for specific requirements contact your State’s health board.

Information on this page summarized from:
(1)  Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Radiologic and MRI Technologists, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/radiologic-technologists.htm
(2) "Radiologic technologist." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiologic_technologist
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