Radiologic and MRI Technologists

Career, Salary and Education Information

What They Do: Radiologic technologists perform diagnostic imaging examinations on patients. MRI technologists operate magnetic resonance imaging scanners to create diagnostic images.

Work Environment: Radiologic and MRI technologists work in healthcare facilities, and more than half work in hospitals.

How to Become One: Radiologic technologists and MRI technologists typically need an associate’s degree. Many MRI technologists start out as radiologic technologists and specialize later in their career. Radiologic technologists must be licensed or certified in most states. Few states license MRI technologists. Employers typically require or prefer prospective technologists to be certified even if the state does not require it.

Salary: The median annual wage for magnetic resonance imaging technologists is $77,360. The median annual wage for radiologic technologists is $61,370.

Job Outlook: Overall employment of radiologic and MRI technologists is projected to grow 9 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Related Careers: Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of radiologic and MRI technologists with similar occupations.

Following is everything you need to know about a career as a radiologic or MRI technologist with lots of details. As a first step, take a look at some of the following jobs, which are real jobs with real employers. You will be able to see the very real job career requirements for employers who are actively hiring. The link will open in a new tab so that you can come back to this page to continue reading about the career:

Top 3 Radiologic Technologist Jobs

  • Radiographer Full time/Part time - Dr Jones & Partners Medical Imaging - Alice Springs NT 0870

    Work with excellent radiologists and staff. Excellent interpersonal skills and demonstrated ability to communicate effectively with patients, staff and other…

  • Radiographer - I-MED Radiology Network - Mount Isa QLD

    This full-time permanent position allows for the opportunity to be exposed to an interesting case mix with training and support provided.

  • Radiographer - Queensland Health - Central West QLD

    You will deliver a high standard of general, emergency, theatre and mobile radiography and assist in the mentoring and training of junior staff, graduates and…

See all Radiologic Technologist jobs

Top 3 MRI Technologist Jobs

  • Senior MRI/CT Medical Imaging Technologist - SKG Radiology - Currambine WA

    Working across MRI and CT with the expectation to jump into General from time to time also, the successful candidate is required to be multi-modality skilled…

  • MRI Technologist - Qscan Group - Gold Coast QLD

    Access to employee benefits and reward programs. Our team in Upper Coomera is seeking a qualified MRI Technologist to commence on a Permanent Full Time basis to…

  • Medical Imaging Technologist - MRI - Cabrini Health - Malvern VIC

    The successful applicant will be required to work a variety of shifts across a seven day roster. Strong MRI experience, preferably on Siemens 3T and 1.5T…

See all MRI Technologist jobs

What Radiologic and MRI Technologists Do[About this section] [To Top]

Radiologic technologists, also known as radiographers, perform diagnostic imaging examinations, such as x rays, on patients. MRI technologists operate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners to create diagnostic images.

Duties of Radiologic and MRI Technologists

Radiologic and MRI technologists typically do the following:

  • Adjust and maintain imaging equipment
  • Precisely follow orders from physicians on what areas of the body to image
  • Prepare patients for procedures, including taking a medical history and answering questions about the procedure
  • Protect the patient by shielding exposed areas that do not need to be imaged
  • Position the patient and the equipment in order to get the correct image
  • Operate the computerized equipment to take the images
  • Work with physicians to evaluate the images and to determine whether additional images need to be taken
  • Keep detailed patient records

Healthcare professionals use many types of equipment to diagnose patients. Radiologic technologists specialize in x-ray and computed tomography (CT) imaging. Some radiologic technologists prepare a mixture for the patient to drink that allows soft tissue to be viewed on the images that the radiologist reviews.

Radiologic technologists might also specialize in mammography. Mammographers use low-dose x-ray systems to produce images of the breast. Technologists may be certified in multiple specialties.

MRI technologists specialize in magnetic resonance imaging scanners. They inject patients with contrast dyes so that the images will show up on the scanner. The scanners use magnetic fields in combination with the contrast agent to produce images that a physician can use to diagnose medical problems.

Healthcare professionals who specialize in other diagnostic equipment include nuclear medicine technologists and diagnostic medical sonographers, and cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including vascular technologists.

Work Environment for Radiologic and MRI Technologists[About this section] [To Top]

Magnetic resonance imaging technologists hold about 42,000 jobs. The largest employers of magnetic resonance imaging technologists are as follows:

Hospitals; state, local, and private 57%
Medical and diagnostic laboratories 18%
Offices of physicians 13%
Outpatient care centers 3%

Radiologic technologists hold about 212,100 jobs. The largest employers of radiologic technologists are as follows:

Hospitals; state, local, and private 60%
Offices of physicians 19%
Outpatient care centers 7%
Medical and diagnostic laboratories 7%
Federal government, excluding postal service 3%

Radiologic and MRI technologists are often on their feet for long periods and may need to lift or turn patients who are disabled.

Injuries and Illnesses for Radiologic and MRI Technologists

Like other healthcare workers, radiologic and MRI technologists may be exposed to infectious diseases. In addition, because radiologic technologists work with imaging equipment that uses radiation, they must wear badges that measure radiation levels in the radiation area. Detailed records are kept on their cumulative lifetime dose. Although radiation hazards exist in this occupation, they are minimized by the use of protective lead aprons, gloves, and other shielding devices, and by badges that monitor exposure to radiation.

Radiologic and MRI Technologist Work Schedules

Most radiologic and MRI technologists work full time. Because imaging is sometimes needed in emergency situations, some technologists work evenings, weekends, or overnight.

How to Become a Radiologic or MRI Technologist[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Radiologic and MRI Technologists near you!

Radiologic technologists and MRI technologists typically need an associate's degree. Many MRI technologists start out as radiologic technologists and specialize later in their career. Radiologic technologists must be licensed or certified in most states. Few states license MRI technologists. Employers typically require or prefer prospective technologists to be certified even if the state does not require it.

Education for Radiologic and MRI Technologists

An associate's degree is the most common educational requirement for radiologic and MRI technologists. There also are postsecondary education programs that lead to graduate certificates or bachelor's degrees. Education programs typically include both classroom study and clinical work. Coursework includes anatomy, pathology, patient care, radiation physics and protection, and image evaluation.

The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) accredits programs in radiography and the American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists (ARMRIT) accredits MRI programs. Completing an accredited program is required for licensure in some states.

High school students who are interested in radiologic or MRI technology should take courses that focus on math and science, such as anatomy, biology, chemistry, physiology, and physics.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation for Radiologic and MRI Technologists

MRI technologists typically have less than 5 years of work experience as radiologic technologists.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations for Radiologic and MRI Technologists

Radiologic technologists must be licensed or certified in most states. Few states license MRI technologists. Requirements vary by state.

To become licensed, technologists must usually graduate from an accredited program, and pass a certification exam from the state or obtain a certification from a certifying body. Certifications for radiologic technologists are available from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Certifications for MRI technologists are available from the ARRT and from the American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists (ARMRIT). For specific licensure requirements for radiologic technologists and MRI technologists, contact the state's health board.

Employers typically require or prefer prospective technologists to be certified even if the state does not require it.

Important Qualities for Radiologic and MRI Technologists

Detail oriented. Radiologic and MRI technologists must follow exact instructions to get the images needed for diagnoses.

Interpersonal skills. Radiologic and MRI technologists work closely with patients who may be in extreme pain or mentally stressed. They must put the patient at ease to get usable images.

Math skills. Radiologic and MRI technologists may need to calculate and mix the right doses of chemicals used in imaging procedures.

Physical stamina. Radiologic and MRI technologists often work on their feet for long periods during their shift and they must lift and move patients who need assistance.

Technical skills. Radiologic and MRI technologists must understand how to operate complex machinery.

Radiologic and MRI Technologist Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for magnetic resonance imaging technologists is $77,360. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $59,110, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $100,870.

The median annual wage for radiologic technologists is $61,370. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $46,850, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $94,880.

The median annual wages for magnetic resonance imaging technologists in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Outpatient care centers $101,020
Medical and diagnostic laboratories $77,580
Offices of physicians $77,210
Hospitals; state, local, and private $77,030

The median annual wages for radiologic technologists in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Federal government, excluding postal service $71,530
Outpatient care centers $67,240
Medical and diagnostic laboratories $62,410
Hospitals; state, local, and private $61,670
Offices of physicians $59,500

Most radiologic and MRI technologists work full time. Because imaging is sometimes needed in emergency situations, some technologists work evenings, weekends, or overnight.

Job Outlook for Radiologic and MRI Technologists[About this section] [To Top]

Overall employment of radiologic and MRI technologists is projected to grow 9 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

About 20,800 openings for radiologic and MRI technologists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

See all medical jobs.

Employment of Radiologic and MRI Technologists

As the baby-boom population grows older, there may be an increase in medical conditions, such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, which require imaging as a diagnostic tool. Radiologic and MRI technologists will be needed to take the images.

Employment projections data for Radiologic and MRI Technologists, 2020-30
Occupational Title Employment, 2020 Projected Employment, 2030 Change, 2020-30
Percent Numeric
Radiologic and MRI technologists 254,000 275,700 9 21,600
  Radiologic technologists 212,100 230,300 9 18,300
  Magnetic resonance imaging technologists 42,000 45,300 8 3,400


A portion of the information on this page is used by permission of the U.S. Department of Labor.


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