From uncovering a tumor that leads to an early cancer diagnosis to determining if a pitcher will require season-ending Tommy John surgery, MRIs help inform millions of diagnoses every day through detailed images that reveal what CT scans and X-rays often can’t. If you want to join this in-demand healthcare field that lets you work directly with patients and advanced medical equipment, online MRI programs are an increasingly popular option to get the training you need.
This guide will help you find an online MRI program that’s right for you and learn more about what you can expect, whether you’re a rad tech looking to take the next step in your career or you’re just starting your healthcare career journey. Keep reading to learn about top online MRI tech programs, accreditation, cost and financial aid, and everything else you need to know before choosing a school.
MRI Tech Online School Spotlights
The online MRI tech programs highlighted below are three of the best in terms of affordability, curriculum comprehensiveness, and study convenience and flexibility. These accredited programs, while not the only quality online programs available, provide a good idea of what you should expect from the program you eventually choose.
Types of Online MRI Programs
MRI tech online program types include postsecondary certificates and associate and bachelor’s degrees. Additionally, programs may focus on students who are radiologic technologists or technicians in closely related fields (postprimary pathway). Others programs are for students with no previous academic or professional credential (primary pathway). All these program types provide graduates with the education and training needed for MRI technologist licensure eligibility, if they intend to practice in a state requiring licensure, and for success in their professional MRI tech careers.
What You’ll Learn in an MRI Tech Online Program
MRI tech degree and certificate programs vary somewhat in their academic approaches and curriculum structures. The basic goal of all these programs, however, is the same: preparing graduates for jobs as professional MRI technologists able to competently operate magnetic resonance imaging equipment that creates images used by doctors to diagnose medical issues and effectively treat patients. Expect your MRI tech online program to provide you with the professional knowledge and skills described in this list of learning outcomes.
- Competent inpatient care
Demonstrated ability to perform all relevant procedures (e.g., patient positioning, coil selection, safety and radiation protection, etc.) in an appropriate, effective, and compassionate manner consistent with entry-level requirements for an MRI tech.
- Communication skills
Ability to demonstrate effective oral and written interpersonal and communication skills when interacting with patients and their families, superiors, peers, team members, and others in the healthcare profession.
- Critical thinking and problem-solving
Demonstrated critical thinking, deductive reasoning, and problem-solving skills and the ability to apply them in the clinical setting. Specific applications include the analysis and critiquing of image quality, identification of the best methods of treatment in specific cases, and positioning adaptation for trauma patients.
- Professional practice and ethics
Demonstrated commitment to performing all professional duties responsibly and ethically and adhering to organizational rules and regulations as well as established principles of the MRI technology and larger healthcare fields.
- Professional development
An increasing understanding of the importance of professional growth and development throughout your academic and professional career. Commitment to participation in continuing education programs and professional activities that advance MRI technology practice.
FAQs About Online MRI Tech Schools and Programs
How much do online MRI tech training programs cost?
Costs for MI tech online programs vary widely from program to program. Major factors influencing costs include the type and level of the program (associate degree, bachelor’s degree, or certificate), total program length, and whether the program is offered by a public or private institution. (Private schools tend to be more expensive.) Below are the current tuition prices for three online MRI programs to give you an idea of program costs. Keep in mind, however, that the total price tag will be higher due to additional fees and the cost of books, study materials, uniforms, etc.
Can I complete my MRI tech training 100% online?
All online MRI programs, degrees, and certificates feature didactic coursework accessed and completed either entirely or partially online. However, all MRI programs also include clinical practice components like internships or practicums that provide students with essential hands-on training that must be attended in person.
Is financial aid available for online MRI tech training programs?
Financial aid available to students enrolled in programs at online MRI tech schools includes scholarships and grants (both in-house and external) as well as work study programs. Employee reimbursement programs are a strong possibility for students currently employed by a hospital or similar healthcare facility. The most popular type of financial aid, the student loan, is also available to students in properly accredited programs like any of the ones mentioned in this guide. Find out more about funding opportunities for your online MRI tech program through EduMed’s student loans, scholarships, and financial aid guides.
Accreditation for Online MRI Tech Training Programs
Accreditation assures that degree and certificate programs and the schools offering them meet standards of academic quality. When it comes to online MRI programs, there are two basic types of accreditation to consider: institutional and programmatic. Institutional accreditation concerns the soundness of postsecondary schools overall and is handled by several independent national and regional accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Institutional accreditation is an absolute must for any MRI tech schools, online or in-person.
Programmatic accreditation vets specific degree and certificate programs themselves. Programmatic accreditation of U.S. MRI programs is overseen by two accrediting organizations: the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) and the American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists (ARMRIT).
Accreditation information for online MRI programs can usually be found on a school’s website. You can also confirm institutional accreditation by visiting the websites of the various accrediting agencies. Current MRI tech programmatic accreditation status can also be found by checking ARMRIT’s approved program list and this JRCERT program search engine.
Employment and Salary Outlook for MRI Techs
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for MRI techs in the U.S. in 2020 was $74,690, substantially higher than the $45,620 for health technologists and technicians generally and the $41,950 total for all occupations. Other MRI tech median annual salary estimates for the same period include $52,880 for the lowest 10% of earners and $104,210 for the highest 10% of earners. In terms of job outlook, the BLS estimates a solid 7% increase in demand for MRI techs between 2019 and 2029, substantially higher than the 4% for all occupations combined during the same period.
MRI Tech Licensing and Professional Certifications
Only a few states specifically license MRI techs. A majority, however, require radiologic technologist licensure, which may or may not be a prerequisite for MRI tech practice in those states. It’s important to gain a full understanding of all licensing requirements in the jurisdictions in which you intend to practice before you enroll in any MRI tech online program. To find out about specific state licensure requirements, start by visiting this ASRT Individual State Licensure Information webpage.
Another important factor to consider in MRI tech practice is professional certification. Professional certification refers to a process of recognizing that individuals have met certain qualifications and possess specific competencies related to practice in a given profession. Professional certification is typically awarded by private organizations dedicated to the assurance and advancement of quality practice in their professions. Both the ARRT and the ARMRIT recognize MRI techs with professional certification and registration. Some states, including these five states currently requiring ARMRIT certification for state license eligibility, require such certification to obtain state licensure.
Related Online Medical Imaging Programs You May Be Interested In
Online Resources for MRI Technician Students and Professionals
- American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists (ARMRIT)
- American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT)
- American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT)
- HOSA – Future Health Professionals
- How MRI Works
- Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT)
- Lambda Nu (National Honor Society for Radiologic and Imaging Sciences)
- MRI Technologists Interested in the Field (Facebook Group)
- Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (SCMR)
- Society for MR Radiographers & Technologists (SMRT)