About the Profession

What is a Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologist?

A magnetic resonance imaging technologist uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to create images of the human body.

The magnetic field causes atoms inside the body to become aligned. After alignment, a radio wave is issued to "excite" the atoms. Once the radio signal is turned off, the atoms give off a small characteristic signal. Those signals are then measured with a sensitive antenna called a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) coil. This process is repeated many times until enough measurements are detected to create a series of detailed images. MRI does not use any ionizing radiation, and can create images of almost any body part oriented in any direction.

MRI technologists use these innovative technologies to create diagnostic images by determining and setting technical parameters, and positioning the patient to create images that accurately display anatomy and pathology. In addition to technical expertise and computer literacy, excellent communication skills are essential for MRI technologists who are responsible for patient education, instruction, and safety.