How To Become an MR Technologist
The SMRT is often asked, “How do I become an MR Technologist?” The SMRT offers educational material pertaining to the field of MR, but does not provide training courses in how to be an MR Technologist. The following information is intended to help provide you some direction in your quest to become an MR Technologist.
Click here for a list of MR Training Programs.
The most common method for becoming an MR Technologist in the United States is to be working as a Radiographer in an institution that has an MR System, express an interest, and learn how to operate the scanner from another Radiologic Technologist (on the job training). Most accredited hospitals and health care imaging providers in the United States prefer that employees be registered through the ARRT.
On the job training, by another Technologist knowledgeable in the field, is also the way most MR Technologists are trained in many countries around the world.
ARRT Registered Radiographer
Frequently, in the United States, the Technologists involved both in teaching and learning are registered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). These Technologists have completed a course of study in Radiography and successfully completed the registry examination. The ARRT also has an advanced examination in MR for those who meet the eligibility requirements. As of January 1, 2000 those requirements include documented clinical competency. See the ARRT web site (http://www.ARRT.org) for more information.
Nuclear Medicine Technologist
An MR Technologist may come from a Nuclear Medicine background. This Technologist may have been registered through the ARRT by completing the course of study as a Radiographer with additional training in Nuclear Medicine. The ARRT advanced level examination in MR is available to those Nuclear Medicine Technologists who have also completed the MR clinical competencies.
Nuclear Medicine Technologists may have received their training within a dedicated Nuclear Medicine course, and completed an examination through the Nuclear Medicine Technologist Certification Board (NMTCB)(http://www.nmtcb.org/). There is a limited opportunity for these Technologists to take the ARRT advanced level examination in MR. See the ARRT web site (http://www.ARRT.org) for more information.
Technologists with an Ultrasound background, or a Sonographer, may also work in MR. The Sonographer may be registered by the ARRT in Radiography and receive additional training in Ultrasound. Those who have the ARRT eligibility, and who have also completed the MR clinical competencies may take the ARRT advanced level examination in MR. See the ARRT web site (http://www.ARRT.org) for more information.
An individual working as a Sonographer may have completed a dedicated program in Ultrasound and be registered through the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) (http://www.ardms.org/) . These individuals are not eligible at this time to take the ARRT advanced level examination in MR.
Other Educational Backgrounds
MR Technologists may have received training in a college-based program in biology, biochemistry, biophysics or related areas. Generally, these Technologists have a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. At this time, these individuals are not eligible to take the ARRT advanced level examination in MR, unless their educational courses meet the standards of ARRT, including proof of clinical competency. They would then need to successfully complete the ARRT Radiographer level examination. Their training would continue by working in an MR department and be monitored to complete the required MR competencies before being able to take the ARRT advanced level examination in MR.
These individuals may find employment in MR, without completing the ARRT examinations. This will depend on the institution and the regulatory issues governing that situation. Most accredited hospitals and health care imaging providers in the United States prefer that employees be registered through the ARRT.
There are some MR equipment manufacturers that provide MR training when purchasing new equipment or upgrading existing equipment. Generally speaking, these courses enable an individual to operate a specific scanner, with a minimum of background education. MR Technologists who receive only this type of training are quite limited in employment opportunities, in the United States.
MR Educational Programs
There are several sites linked to the SMRT that offer “MR Training”. These sites are linked for information purposes only. The SMRT does not endorse or inspect any of these educational offerings, other than those provided directly from the SMRT or ISMRM or those specifically noted as endorsed by the SMRT or ISMRM. It is your responsibility to ensure that the program you may select will in fact, provide you with the necessary education and clinical experience to meet the requirement for the MR job you are seeking. Regulations vary from institution to institution, state to state, and country to country. Your review of specific regulations for your locality should begin at the institution with which you are seeking employment. You must also check at the state level for licensure and any other requirements necessary if you wish to work in the United States. For countries outside of the United States check with the governing body that regulates health care facility employees.