MRI Tech education and employment questions?

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skunkaperecords asked:

I am a recently displaced Records Specialist in the Human Resources industry. I am in the middle of changing careers and I am very interested in becoming an MRI Tech. I was looking into the Radiology Program at Orange Coast College in CA as well as Cypress College in CA and I see that there are over two years of classes (as well as long waiting lists) to sit for the exam to become certified (and this isn’t even an MRI Tech but certified Radiologist). In addition I understand that you need to have your AS Degree before graduating the program. Currently I only have my AA Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with an Emphasis in Arts and Humanities. So I would also have to take a bunch of classes to get my AS Degree and thus making my AA Degree virtually useless.

I recently learned that the American College of Radiology MRI Acreditation Commitee (ACR) has recognized the American Registration of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists(ARMRIT) as an autonomous certifying body meeting the ACR accreditation requirements for MRI Techs, as of July 17, 2008.

If I want to become an MRI Tech do I have to first go through the Radiology Program and then pursue more courses to become an MRI Tech? The reason I am asking is because there is this private institution called West Coast Ultrasound Institute in Ontario, CA that has it’s own 15 month MRI Tech program that will allow me to sit for the ARMRIT exam to become a certified MRI Tech. The course is very, very expensive but I was just wondering if you know if it is legit and if I will be able to find many opportunities as an MRI Tech with no Radiology experience?

I was thinking that I could always learn Radiology after I become an MRI Tech first since it is very hard to even get into a Radiology Program right now with waiting lists and such. Besides, isn’t MRI the most technically advanced option trumping the outdated X-Ray anyways? Wouldn’t hospitals hire me as an MRI Tech and not “expect” me to also do X-Rays?

Your advice would mean very much to me in making my decision as to where I should go from here.
I just wanted to add some notes based on what “**df**” said in her answer. I know that the “traditional” route to becoming an MRI Tech did involve completing a Radiology Program first but recently in July of 2008 the American College of Radiology (ACR) has recognized that (ARMRIT) is an autonomous certifying body meeting the ACR accreditation requirements which means that in order to become an MRI Tech that you DO NOT have to first go through a Radiology Program like before. This is a HUGE change in the system and it benefits people who just want to become MRI Techs and not X-Ray Techs first.

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I am currently in a Rad Tech program in Wa state so there might be differences between the states but as far as I know, you have to complete the Rad Tech program before being allowed to take the MRI classes and then Registry to become an MRI tech. The school you talked about in Ontario is expensive because it gets you ready for the registry exam faster (15 months vs 2 years). We have a similar school here in Seattle that gets you through the Rad Tech program much faster but it costs a lot more. These schools charge more because they don’t accept students based on their grades, just if they can pay or not. Whereas my school you had to be accepted with good grades, experience, and medical background. So you have to choose either take the Rad Tech route or the Ontario school and pay out of pocket.

Either way, I don’t think you can just take MRI classes. You first have to be a Radiologic Technolgist and then go on to MRI, not the other way around.

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