Most MRI technologists are radiologic technologists (the proper term for x-ray techs) first. MRI is usually learned on the job, and requires no additional formal training. You can get on the job training, and take the national licensing examination in MRI, after you become a RT.
Don't waste your time or money on a straight up MRI school. Most of these programs exist for the sole purpose of taking your money and leaving you unemployable after you graduate. If you are not a licensed RT, most imaging departments, within a hospital or free-standing imaging centers, won't hire you. They want an employee who can do more than JUST MRIs.
There are many schools in many states where you can get trained to be a radiologic technologist. Before you can attend a RT program, you will need to attend and complete certain college level prerequisite courses. I spent 1.5 years at my local community college, then went to a RT program. You can attend a hospital based program (and earn a certificate), a 2 year college program (AS degree), and even a 4 year college program (BS degree). The hospital based programs are the least expensive, and honestly, I think the education received there is superior. Once you graduate and take your registry exam, no future employer is going to care what type of educational program you went through. All they care about is your license. You can find an accredited RT program at this site. Just search "radiography" and your state...links are provided which will give you additional information on each program (cost, duration of program, contact person):
RTs do more than just x-rays of bones. We do fluoroscopy studies (involving the intestinal tract and barium), arthrograms (assisting the radiologist with injecting contrast or dye into joints for evaluation) and myelograms (assisting the radiologist with injecting contrast into the spinal canal). If you work in a hospital setting, you will do portable exams in ICU, CCU, the ER and even surgery. Some RTs take x-rays in the morgue.
Most RTs will also become proficient and licensed in other modalities, such as mammography, CT and/or MRI. This training does not require any additional formal training, and is usually learned on the job. The more licenses you have, the more money you can make, as you will be in higher demand. With additional schooling, you can also do ultrasound.
Well, I work in a free standing imaging center. My office is only open M-F, 8:00-5:00. No weekends, nights or call work. In a hospital, most imaging departments are staffed 24 hours a day. You could be scheduled to work nights, PM shifts, weekends, holidays....anytime really!
I highly recommend you do an observation in both a hospital imaging department and a free standing imaging facility. Until you see what RTs do, you won't know if it is the job for you! It would also give you a wonderful opportunity to talk to RTs in your area. Best wishes.....
Oh, another good resource....check out the student area of the ASRT website:
And the ARRT:
The American Society of Radiologic Technologists just did a large salary survey, in 2007. The salary varies, depending on your experience, specialties and geographical area. To view, the survey, and see the average salary in your state, you can go to this link: