Best MRI Tech Programs

Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.
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Updated May 30, 2024
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MRI technicians benefit from above-average salaries and high demand. And you can become an MRI tech with a two-year degree.

Before applying to MRI certification programs, you must decide whether to earn a certificate, associate degree, or bachelor’s degree. Enter this exciting field by finding the best MRI tech program for your career goals.

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Why Become an MRI Tech?

Becoming an MRI tech can launch or advance your healthcare career. Some reasons to become an MRI tech include:

  • Fast-Track Career: You can become an MRI tech in about two years. Or, if you’re a radiologic tech, you can pursue MRI tech jobs with a certificate that typically takes less than one year.
  • High Salaries: MRI techs earn a median annual salary of $83,740 per year, according to 2023 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). MRI techs in outpatient care centers and hospitals reported even higher salaries.
  • In-Demand Skills: MRI certification programs train you in the most advanced medical imaging technologies. Demand for MRI techs remains high, with 6% job growth from 2022 to 2032, which is faster than the national average, according to BLS projections.

How Do I Become an MRI Tech?

Ready to start your healthcare journey? Follow these three steps to become an MRI tech.

Step 1: Choose an Accredited MRI Tech School

You can become an MRI tech with a certificate, associate degree, or bachelor’s degree. When researching MRI certification programs, make sure to consider accreditation, location, tuition, and graduate outcomes. You’ll also need to consider your previous education and career goals to choose the right program.

  • MRI Certificate Programs: If you’re a radiologic technologist who wants to become an MRI tech, a certificate program might be the best fit. These programs build on your prior training to expand your knowledge of imaging procedures and strengthen clinical skills. MRI certificate programs often take less than one year.
  • MRI Associate Programs: Designed for learners without allied health experience, an associate program for MRI techs builds foundational knowledge and skills. You’ll explore sectional anatomy, medical terminology, and safety procedures. You’ll also strengthen your clinical skills. These programs take around two years and prepare graduates for registry and certification as an MRI tech.
  • MRI Bachelor’s Programs: A bachelor’s degree in MRI technology prepares graduates for advanced roles in the field. With a four-year degree, you’ll stand out in the job market. Registered radiologic technologists can also advance their education with an RT-to-BS degree.

If possible, try to prioritize MRI tech programs that have been accredited by JRCERT or that are offered by schools whose radiology tech programs hold JRCERT accreditation.

In addition, look into what type of facilities the school has and what type of training it provides. For example, you might find additional value in schools with simulation labs and state-of-the-art technology.

Step 2: Complete All MRI Tech Coursework and Training

While MRI tech programs can vary somewhat in their course offerings, you can typically expect to take classes covering basic anatomy, medical terminology, and how to perform MRIs.

The courses you can take at an MRI tech school may include:

  • Sectional anatomy
  • Image production and analysis
  • Medical ethics
  • Medical terminology
  • Pathology
  • Patient care

MRI tech programs often include in-class clinical training that covers examination procedures and MRI technology.

You’ll also get hands-on training through practicums, which take you to medical sites like hospitals and doctor’s offices. There, you’ll observe and learn imaging techniques and practices while working directly with patients.

Step 3: Get Certified

Certification as an MRI technologist isn’t always necessary, but most states require radiology techs — and sometimes MRI techs — to be certified or licensed. Many employers prefer to hire MRI techs who are certified.

Certification generally involves graduating from an accredited MRI tech training program and passing a certification exam. MRI certification programs help students meet the certification requirements.

You can get MRI tech certifications from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) and the American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists (ARMRIT).

You might also consider getting certified in an area related to MRI technology. ARRT, for example, offers the following certifications:

  • Sonography: Commonly known as ultrasounds, sonography is another form of diagnostic imaging that uses sound waves.
  • Computed Tomography: CT scans are advanced X-rays that create cross-sectional images of body tissues.
  • Nuclear Medicine Technology: Technologists use radioactive chemicals to produce reactions in the body that translate into visual representations.

How Does Accreditation Work for MRI Tech School?

Accreditation can affect your job prospects as an MRI tech. But how does accreditation work for MRI tech schools? College accreditation is a quality verification process. Accreditation can also affect financial aid, transfer credits, and licensure. That’s why it’s important to always check accreditation when researching MRI programs.

At the institutional level, accreditation should come from accrediting agencies recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the U.S. Department of Education.

At the programmatic level, look for MRI tech schools accredited by ARMRIT or the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). These programs meet the highest standards for academic quality.

Top 10 MRI Tech Programs

#1 Best MRI Tech Programs

William Rainey Harper College

  • Location-markerPalatine, IL
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$9,372
  • Out-of-state$11,184
  • Retention Rate75%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled12,199
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment86%
  • AccreditationYes
#2 Best MRI Tech Programs

Sinclair Community College

  • Location-markerDayton, OH
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$3,649
  • Out-of-state$7,396
  • Retention Rate75%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled18,687
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment80%
  • AccreditationYes
#3 Best MRI Tech Programs

Albany Technical College

  • Location-markerAlbany, GA
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,400
  • Out-of-state$4,800
  • Retention Rate64%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled3,022
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment86%
  • AccreditationYes
#4 Best MRI Tech Programs

Truckee Meadows Community College

  • Location-markerReno, NV
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,562
  • Out-of-state$10,039
  • Retention Rate0%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled10,249
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment88%
  • AccreditationYes
#5 Best MRI Tech Programs

Washburn University

  • Location-markerTopeka, KS
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$8,652
  • Out-of-state$19,656
  • Retention Rate70%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled5,880
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment47%
  • AccreditationYes
#6 Best MRI Tech Programs

Mercy College of Ohio

  • Location-markerToledo, OH
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$16,200
  • Out-of-state$16,200
  • Retention Rate71%
  • Acceptance Rate40%
  • Students Enrolled1,561
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment87%
  • AccreditationYes
#7 Best MRI Tech Programs

Bucks County Community College

  • Location-markerNewtown, PA
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$7,920
  • Out-of-state$11,880
  • Retention Rate67%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled6,988
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment57%
  • AccreditationYes
#8 Best MRI Tech Programs

Forsyth Technical Community College

  • Location-markerWinston-Salem, NC
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$1,992
  • Out-of-state$7,008
  • Retention Rate59%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled7,587
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment87%
  • AccreditationYes
#9 Best MRI Tech Programs

Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health

  • Location-markerOmaha, NE
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$15,089
  • Out-of-state$15,089
  • Retention Rate78%
  • Acceptance Rate92%
  • Students Enrolled1,212
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment78%
  • AccreditationYes
#10 Best MRI Tech Programs

Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College

  • Location-markerOrangeburg, SC
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$5,544
  • Out-of-state$7,320
  • Retention Rate60%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled2,257
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment84%
  • AccreditationYes

Did You Know…

MRI techs working in outpatient care facilities report the highest median wage, earning $121,740 annually.

Source: BLS

How Much Do MRI Techs Make?

MRI certification programs prepare graduates for high-paying careers. In May 2023, MRI techs earned a median annual salary of $83,740, according to the BLS.

The top 10% of MRI techs earned $112,420, while the lowest-paid professionals earned $61,470.

Your MRI tech salary will vary depending on your experience, credentials, employer, and location.

For example, MRI techs in California earn an average salary of $114,680, according to BLS data. By contrast, MRI techs in Mississippi earned an average of $67,650.

Use the map below to learn more about MRI tech salary expectations by state.

Frequently Asked Questions About MRI Tech Jobs

You can become an MRI tech with a certificate, associate degree, or bachelor’s degree. Certificate programs offer MRI training for rad techs, while associate degrees offer entry-level training. A bachelor’s degree can help you launch or advance your MRI tech career.

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