MRI Skills Certificate: Deadline Extended

K. Patricia Bouweraerts

MRI Machine and Patient Image

The first 12 graduates of the new MRI Certification Program—class of 2016-2017 at Truckee Meadows Community College—are looking ahead to what experts say is a promising future in the field of Radiologic Technology.

There is an increasing need locally and nationally for radiologic technologists with certification in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

“It’s becoming more and more of a diagnostic tool,” said Warren Hejny, Radiologic Technology Program Coordinator. “The use of MRI is growing, just like Computerized Tomography (CAT Scan or CT Scan) expanded after it was first developed.”

He added that MRI is an imaging process that doesn’t use radiation, and it can assist with complex diagnoses because it creates a better image of soft tissues.

“It’s a safer way of imaging,” Hejny said. “It’s done with high-power magnets, without the ionizing radiation that X-ray equipment uses. When physicians order imaging exams, they may prefer MRI to X-ray exams because of the increase in information obtained imaging soft tissue structures.”

MRI Instructor James Phillips agrees.

“MRI shows ligaments, tendons and muscles that X-rays don’t show,” he said. “MRI will also be employed more in research fields.”

They concurred that radiologic technologists with the MRI certification will be more in demand by hospitals and clinics.

“Hospitals are looking for people trained in multiple credentials—X-ray, CT, and MRI,” Phillips said. “Techs with MRI certification are also one of the highest paid careers among the types of medical imaging modalities, along with medical ultrasound.”

The United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of radiologic technologists will grow "faster than the average for all occupations" between 2014–2024, as the population grows older.

The Deadline to Apply for MRI Training is May 15

TMCC offers an MRI Certification Program, with graduates earning a Skills Certificate—Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

Students have expressed to Hejny and Phillips that the training is convenient and cost-effective. Formalized coursework can be completed online, which is a prerequisite to taking the national certification exam. TMCC’s Program meets the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) required hours of formalized education.

“Our radiography program has almost a 100 percent pass rate over the past 30 plus years and we hope to duplicate that with the MRI program,” Hejny said.

The two instructors are confident that the 12 new MRI grads will do well on their certification exam. Graduates of the Program apply for the test and it’s offered at a regional testing center.

The 17-credit MRI certificate is approved by the ARRT and can be completed from any state in which the student lives, submitting coursework on a Web-connected computer.

Out-of-state students may apply with TMCC Admissions and Records as a Distance Education (DE) student and qualify for the DE tuition rate that falls at about $150 per credit, close to the halfway point between in-state and out-of-state tuition.

Students may also complete the in-person clinical training through their own workplace, or by adding the three-credit clinical course that TMCC offers in partnership with local providers.

“Some people are taking the clinical portion at the place where they work,” Phillips said. "The clinical has to be done to be eligible for ARRT’s MRI certification, but that part doesn’t have to be done at TMCC.”

To date, about half of those who complete the MRI Program have been out-of-state students.

TMCC Program is the Only Online MRI Skills Certificate in Nevada

The MRI Certification Program is the first of its kind in the Silver State.

“This online MRI program will allow radiography graduates to remain in the area while opening the door for education in MRI, as well as allowing students from other radiography programs here in Nevada and across the United States to obtain that same education,” Hejny said.

TMCC’s existing accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities will apply to the MRI technology course sequence. For more information about the Radiologic Technology Program at TMCC, call 775-850-4045.