MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING (MRI)


MRI Technologists get the chance to really see what’s inside people! MRI scans reveal detailed 3D images of even the most hidden, unreachable parts of the human body.

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Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Technology Degree Program

What is a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Technologist?

A Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Technologist is an allied health professional who operates specialized MRI equipment to capture 3D images inside the body. Technologists view the images to ensure they are of good quality. They may administer an intravenous contrast medium to the patient. The contrast medium enters the blood stream and enhances the quality of the MRI images.

MRI technologists provide a highly technical and medically necessary service. They interview patients to determine if there are any contraindications for an MRI such as pregnancy, tattoos, any metal objects implanted in the body, and more.

woman with brown hair wearing white jacket

Program Director, MRI – Simone Quinto

The MRI exam requires patients to lie on a gurney and be rolled inside a tube where they must lie very still while the machine takes its pictures. Technologists explain the procedure to patients and determines if they have any claustrophobic issues that may prevent them from undergoing the exam.

The technologist positions the patients on the examining table and make sure they are comfortable.

The technologist enters important data into the computer such as the patient’s relevant medical history and the anatomical area that will be scanned. An MRI s a non-invasive way for a physician to view what is going on inside the body.

MRI Technologists offer vital contributions to the healthcare community. Their skills are used for many different medical needs including:

  • Assessing brain cell and blood vessel damage following a patient’s stroke or heart attack.
  • Evaluating lower back pain and spinal injuries.
  • Providing cancer screenings on various organs.
  • Measuring heart health.
  • Writing notes to physicians summarizing the testing procedure and outcome.
  • Working with physicians to evaluate the images and determine if additional images should be taken.

An MRI technologist needs technology skills such as knowing how to:

  • Use various software programs such as electronic medical records (EMRs) and electronic health records (EHRs), medical imaging processing software, and other relevant software.
  • Analyze data and preparing reports.
  • Perform simple repairs of the MRI equipment.
  • Maintain the MRI equipment.
  • Process the MRI images.
  • Calculate the proper amount of radiation emitted in imaging procedures.

If you are detail-oriented, good at math, enjoy interpersonal skills for communicating with patients and their physicians, and have technical skills, a career as an MRI technologist may be for you.

How Do You Become a Medical Resonance Imaging Technologist?

Once you have decided, or are close to deciding, that you want to become an MRI technologist, the next step is learning how to become one. This generally requires a formal education.

An associate degree from a qualified, accredited school is the minimum requirement. Some states or hiring organizations require a professional certification.

Casa Loma College is a non-profit college that has been serving the Los Angeles professional health care community since 1966. The college offers an MRI Technology Degree program which combines in-depth classroom course work in medical concepts and terminology with hands-on, clinical experience.

The program follows the curriculum recommendations and guidelines of the:

  • American Registry of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologists (ARMRIT)
  • American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT)
  • American Registry of Radiographic Technologists (ARRT)

The goal of the Casa Loma College Medical Resonance Imaging program is to prepare you for certification exams, making sure you put your best foot forward in the pursuit of a new career, and helping you develop the skills necessary for a career as an MRI technologist.

Some states do not require an MRI technologist to be certified. Regardless of state requirements, it is typically standard for employers to require, or at a minimum prefer, MRI technologists who are certified.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Medical Resonance Imaging Technologist?

At Casa Loma College, our goal is to help you earn your associate degree in less than two years. We work with you to design a program to meet your specific needs. You can combine in-person and online classes to fit your schedule.

You can earn your associate degree in less than two years. The program requires completion of 94 semester hours and can be completed in 22 months.

You can complete your application to the MRI degree program at Casa Loma College without obligation.

Program NameCIP CodeCreditsMonthsInstructional WeeksAwardTerms
Magnetic Resonance Imaging *51.092094.0 semester22 months92 weeksA.A.S. Degree6 semesters

What is the Job Outlook for MRI Techs?

This is a good time to become an MRI technologist in the U.S. in general and in California.

U.S. growth: The U.S. Department of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) projects growth for medical resonance technologists from 2021 to 2031 to be 6%. This is as fast as average. It means that there will be about 17,000 more technologists needed across the U.S. every year until 2031.

California job growth for MRI technologists is expected to be 12 percent between 2020 and 2030. This means a need for 210 more technologists every year until 2030.

California source: Projections Central 2020-2030 long-term projections and O*Net OnLine California Employment Trends.

United States source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021-2031 employment projections.

“Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period. “Projected annual job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

What Will I Learn at Casa Loma College's MRI Program?

Graduates of the Casa Loma College Magnetic Resonance Imaging program receive the education they need to sit for the certification exams and to be fully qualified for jobs in their field. Some course you will take include:

  • Physics and Instrumentation
  • Patient Care & Management
  • Clinical Externship: Prerequisites: Successful Completion of All MRI Core Classes This course is designed to provide students with hands-on experience in a supervised clinical setting.
  • MR Imaging and Procedures: This course provides the student with an overview of the fundamental principles of Magnetic Resonance Imaging terminology, safety, instrumentation, imaging, protocols, and procedures. The students receive an introduction to instrumentation, physics, principles, and advanced imaging concepts later discussed in MRI Physics. To better prepare the student to recognize the need for protocol and procedure adjustments, the course familiarizes the students with common pathologies, disease processes, and characteristics found in magnetic resonance imaging. The course is set up in multiple supporting facets: imaging & procedure lecture, pathology lecture, and lab practicum. The student learns to image throughout the body based on characteristics that are presented in the patient history, diagnosis, treatment, and/or physician’s order.
  • MR Imaging and Procedures. This course is a continuation of MR Imaging and Procedures I. It provides the student with an overview of the fundamental principles of Magnetic Resonance Imaging terminology, safety, instrumentation, imaging, protocols, and procedures. The student learns to image throughout the body based on characteristics that are presented in the patient history, diagnosis, treatment, and/or physicians instructions.
  • MRI Safety. This course is designed to express the importance of Safety in the MR environment. The complexity of MRI makes MRI safety considerations important in many aspects such as: Personnel training, Site Planning, Instrumentation, Equipment, Patient Screening, Medical Implants, Hazards, Special MRI environments and Medical Emergencies. Students learn in detail the fundamentals of the hazards of MRI, understand how to address issues and follow recommendations from the ACR Manual on MRI Safety.
  • MRI Course and Clinical Application Review. Prerequisites: Completion of All MRI Core Classes This is a comprehensive review, at an advanced level. The course reviews and focuses students who are studying for advanced level exams. The course includes mock exams, topic quizzes, and homework/study assignments.

In summary, you will learn:

  • How to interview patients to determine if there are any contraindications to an MRI procedure.
  • How to put patients at ease who are stressed and in pain so that the technologists can obtain usable images.
  • The MRI relevant physics theories and principles.
  • Pulse sequence parameters and image optimization.
  • How to perform MRIs according to doctors’ orders and facility protocols.
  • How to properly film, format, and archive imaging studies.
  • Effective and appropriate communication skills with patients and colleagues.
  • How to always act in a professional and ethical manner.

“I used to think I was too old and inexperienced to go back to school, but here I am, a week away from my first Final and I couldn’t be happier with my choice to believe in myself and believe in Casa Loma Colleges’ MRI program. From the start, they have helped me stay pointed in the right direction. The faculty not only teach but they are additionally working MRI techs that bring current scenarios to the lectures that really help lock in the material. You start with Anatomy and Physiology in semester one and it really lays the foundation for future courses. I couldn’t be happier with my decision and cannot wait to experience the next 18 months.” – K. K.

How Much Does an MRI Tech Make?

The job outlook for an MRI Technologist in the U.S. and in California is growing and offers a competitive salary. Wages vary by geographical location. As a guideline:

In the United States: The most recent data available is from 2021:

  • The median annual salary was $77,360. The median wage is what half the workers in the occupation earn. Half earn more and half earn less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $59,110. The highest 10 percent earned more than $100,870.
  • The highest paying employers are found at outpatient care centers. Others with comparable pay include medical and diagnostic laboratories, physician’s offices, and hospitals.

In California:

  • Workers on average earn $107,450.
  • 10% of workers earn $69,260 or less.
  • 10% of workers earn $143,510 or more.

California Employment Trends

Recent Employers of Casa Loma College MRI Graduates

Graduates from the MRI Diagnostic at Casa Loma College have no trouble finding employment. Some of their recent employers are:

  • Access
  • Adventist Health Bakersfield
  • Carlsbad Imaging Center
  • Imaging Specialists of Pasadena
  • Liberty Pacific Advanced Imaging
  • Radiology Associates
  • Radnet
  • Radnet Imaging Suite 100
  • Rolling Oaks Radiology-St. Johns
  • SMI Imaging Center of San Diego
  • St. Charles Imaging Center
  • Torrance Memorial Medical Center
  • UCSD School of Medicine (Dept of Radiology)
  • Valley Orthopedic Institute

“Casa Loma College in Van Nuys has been an amazing experience for myself and my family. Since day one, I have been provided with the tools necessary to exceed in the MRI course. Every staff member was available 24/7 for every single question, concern, or comment I had.” – Fortino R.

Financial Aid

For those who are eligible, financial aid is an excellent tool to help reduce the out-of-pocket costs to attend college. Casa Loma College has a committed team of financial aid professionals on call to help students and parents navigate the process.

Casa Loma College participates in many programs to help reduce the cost of college, including:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  • Federal Work Study
  • Federal Direct Loans (Subsidized, Unsubsidized, Parent PLUS)
  • CSAC Cal Grant

To learn more about the financial aid process, and what loans or grants you may be eligible for, please refer to our financial aid page.

Veteran’s Benefits

For those who qualify, Casa Loma College is approved by the California State Approving Agency for Veterans Education (CSAAVE) to offer academic programs under Title 38, United States Code, to enroll veterans and other eligible persons who qualify for educational benefits.

For a full list of benefits, and to learn more, please visit our Veteran’s Benefits page.