What Degree Do You Need to Be an MRI Tech?

MRI techs are in high demand! Here’s everything you need to know about what degree you need to be an mri tech

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To become an mri tech you will need at least an Associate’s degree in Radiologic Technology. However, some employers may prefer that you have a Bachelor’s degree. There are also certificate programs available that will give you the specialized training you need to perform MRI scans.

Types of programs

There are three types of education programs for mri techs certificate, associate degree, and bachelor’s degree. The type of program you choose will depend on your time commitment and career goals.

certificate programs typically last one year
associate degree programs usually take two years to complete
bachelor’s degree programs typically take four years to finish

While you can become an mri tech with a certificate or associate degree, many employers prefer to hire workers who have a bachelor’s degree. With a higher level of education, you may be able to advance to positions with more responsibility, such as lead MRI tech or manager.


MRI technicians, also called MRI technologists, operate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners. They prepare patients for procedures, monitor patients during scans and ensure that the images produced are of high quality. MRI techs typically need an associate degree in radiologic technology or a related field. However, some employers may prefer or require candidates to have a bachelor’s degree. Those who complete a bachelor’s program in diagnostic medical sonography or radiation sciences may have an advantage in the job market. Some states require MRI techs to be licensed or certified.

On the Job

MRI techs are in high demand, and the job outlook is very good. You can often get a job with just an associate’s degree, but you may have better job prospects and earn a higher salary if you have a bachelor’s degree.

What you’ll do

An MRI tech, or magnetic resonance imaging technologist, uses sophisticated machines to capture images of a patient’s body. These images are then used by doctors to diagnose various conditions and illnesses.

MRI techs must be able to follow detailed instructions and maintain focus for long periods of time. They also need excellent customer service skills to deal with patients who may be anxious about their procedure.

Most MRI techs have an associate’s degree in radiologic technology or a related field, although some may have a bachelor’s degree. MRI tech programs typically last anywhere from two to four years and include classroom instruction as well as hands-on training.

Work environment

Most MRI techs work in hospitals. Some may work in outpatient care centers, mobile diagnostic services, or physicians’ offices. Regardless of the work setting, all MRI techs must follow strict safety protocols to minimize the risk of exposing patients and themselves to excessive amounts of ionizing radiation.

MRI techs typically work full time. They may occasionally be required to work evenings, weekends, or holidays to cover shifts or help meet the needs of their patients.


MRI techs are among the highest-paid health care professionals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for MRI techs was $74,530 in May 2018. The top 10 percent of earners made more than $102,080, and the bottom 10 percent made less than $50,640.

Advancement Opportunities

Although an Associate’s degree may be all that is needed for some entry-level MRI tech positions, many employers prefer or require workers to have a Bachelor’s degree. MRI techs with a Bachelor’s degree may have better job prospects and may be able to advance to management positions.

Further education

To progress in your career as an MRI technologist, you will need to further your education and complete a Bachelor’s degree in radiologic technology or a health-related field. This will give you the necessary skills and knowledge to advance in your career and take on more responsibility. You may also choose to complete a Master’s degree in health administration or business administration if you wish to move into a management role.


In order to advance to management, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree in MRI technology or a related field. With experience, you may be able to advance to a position such as lead MRI technologist or department manager. In some cases, you may need a master’s degree in MRI technology or management for these positions.

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