Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Working in MRI

Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, procedures play an important role in diagnosing diseases and injuries. An MRI uses magnetic field and radio waves to produce images of the inside of the human body. When a patient lies inside the MRI machine, which is like a large tube, radio waves produce faint signals that create sectional images that are ultimately used by physicians to diagnose medical problems.

MRI technologists are highly-trained and possess the expertise for competent practice. They are mostly employed by hospitals but increasingly, jobs are becoming available in physician offices and imaging centers. The main duties of the MRI technologist include explaining the procedure to the patient, preparing the patient and positioning them correctly, operating the equipment, and recording the images for the physician to interpret. The patient might be in pain or distress, or they might feel claustrophobic. The MRI technologist will provide support while talking patients through the procedure and letting them know what to expect.

How the MRI program works

MRI scan of the left side of a patient's head.
MRI scan of the left side of a patient’s head.

The MRI program is offered through a partnership with other Michigan Community Colleges in the Michigan Radiologic and Imaging Science (MiRIS) Consortium. Each college enrolls students in the program under their admission criteria and each awards the degree according to that college’s completion requirements.

Students in the program complete MRI courses delivered in an online environment by one of the MiRIS colleges through Michigan Colleges Online ( Clinical education courses are arranged through the MiRIS Consortium’s educational coordinator in collaboration with the MRI departments of affiliating hospitals, clinics or other MRI provider facilities. These experiences are developed to meet the established objectives and eligibility requirements of the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) and prepare students to complete the MRI certification exam.

Program, tuition and clinical site information

You can find information about the MRI program at the Michigan Community College Association webpage.

You can find more information about tuition rates for the MRI program by visiting the Michigan Colleges Online courses web page and clicking on “MCO Tuition.”

Detailed information about clinical sites is available through Michigan Radiologic and Imaging Science (MiRIS).

Informational package

Attend an information session

Join us on campus to get all the answers you need about SC4’s MRI program from the expert instructors who will guide you in the classroom and out in the field.

To join an online session simply click on the "Join" link at the meeting time. You will be prompted to join or download Teams depending on the device used. You will need a smartphone or a webcam and microphone for a computer.

DateTimeType of sessionLink to join

Contact program director, Monica Rowling at for a one-on-one session to discuss the program and necessary requirements.

Program mission statement and goals

The mission and purpose of the MiRIS MRI Program is to provide for both the personal and professional career development of each MRI student. The general goals of the program are:

  1. The students will demonstrate entry level knowledge and competency in the practice of MRI.
  2. The students will demonstrate professional attitude values and behaviors necessary for professional success.
  3. Students that will demonstrate critical thinking and communication skills as responsible members of the health care team.
  4. Graduates will be employable and meet the needs of the health care community.
  5. Graduates of the program will be well prepared to successfully complete the ARRT certification examination.

Program outcomes/objectives

When students complete this program, they will be able to:

  1. Apply knowledge of anatomy, physiology, positioning, and MRI Sequence parameters to accurately demonstrate anatomical structures.
  2. Determine imaging parameters to achieve optimum imaging.
  3. Evaluate images for appropriate positioning, coil selection, and image quality.
  4. Apply the principles of ferromagnetic safety and contrast application for the protection of the patient, technologist, and others.
  5. Recognize emergency patient conditions and initiate life-saving first aid and basic life-support procedures.
  6. Evaluate the performance of MRI systems, know the safe limits of equipment operation, and report malfunctions to the proper authority.
  7. Participate in MRI quality assurance programs.
  8. Provide care and comfort in regard to holistic health of the patient and others.
  9. Provide patient education related to MRI procedures.

Program accreditation

The Associate in Applied Arts and Science degree in Magnetic Resonance Imaging is accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT), 20 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 2850, Chicago, IL 60606-3182. (312) 704-5304.

This program provides a thorough foundation in procedures, pathophysiology, and physics critical to the field of MRI. It is designed not only to foster the skills and knowledge necessary for competent practice, but also places emphasis on professional attitudes, values and behaviors that encourage the professional growth of the individual student.

Program effective outcomes and safety statement

For academic programs leading to professional licensure

SC4 Health Sciences Programs prepare students for State and National exams leading to professional licensure. Please be aware that additional steps (background checks, applications, fees, etc.) may be required to apply for licensing in the state of Michigan or other states. It is recommended that you contact the appropriate licensing agency in your state if you are considering an academic program leading to a professional license. It is your responsibility to understand the requirements in your state of residence.

Contact information

Monica Rowling, M.S., R.T. (R.) (M.)
Program Director
SC4 Radiologic Technology Program
SC4 MRI Program
Fax: 810-989-5777

Amy Lee, Ed.D., RT (R)(MR)
Director of Collaborative Programs / MiRIS Director
222 N. Chestnut St.
Lansing, MI 48933

MRI technologist in a control room.
Civilian technician, Jose Araujo watches as a patient goes through a Magnetic Resonance Imaging, (MRI) machine at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Warrant Officer 4 Seth Rossman.)

Getting started

  1. SC4 Student Application:
  2. Allied Health and MRI program applications:
  3. Placement Testing:
    • Assessment tests are required if the student has not previously attended college. Arrangements for assessments can be made by calling the Testing Center at 810-989-5555.
  4. Meet with an SC4 academic advisor
  5. Register for classes

MRI program

This link will take you to the current working catalog. On that page, you may also select other available catalog years from the drop-down menu located in the upper right.

Admission requirements/prerequisites

Applicants must have completed the following courses or be enrolled in them by February 1 of the application year. All courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or better, except PHY 110 and their MTH course, which must be completed with a grade of “B” or higher.

BIO 271Human Anatomy and Physiology I
MTH 110*Intermediate Algebra
ENG 101English Composition I
HE 102Medical Terminology
PS 101Introduction to Political Science
BIO 272Human Anatomy and Physiology II
PHY 110*Introduction to Physics
ENG 102English Composition II
SOC 101Principles of Sociology

* Must be completed with a grade of “B” or better.

Application to MRI program

Persons seeking admission to the MRI program must submit the following by February 1 to be considered for the program course sequencing beginning Summer-1 semester.

  • MRI Program Application – with Checklist (this application may have been completed during the “Getting Started” steps listed above)
  • MRI Job Shadow form
  • Written Expression document
  • Official high school transcript or GED
  • Official college transcripts, if applicable

Applicants are admitted to the MRI program through a competitive points and ranking system. Criteria for ranking includes grade point average (GPA), courses completed prior to the program, written expression rubric, job shadow, and health care experience. A panel may interview final candidates.

Job shadow

Prior to applying to the program, students are required to observe at least two hours in an Imaging Department of a hospital. Preferably, this will be in the MRI area but because locations are limited, other Imaging Departments will be accepted.

To meet this application requirement:

  • Students are responsible to arrange the Job Shadow on their own. Contact the Human Resources Department of the Imaging Center. Complete the Job Shadow Documentation form.
  • Obtain the signature of the Imaging or MRI Supervisor at the job shadow site. Have the Supervisor mail the documentation to the address on the form.
  • A request to waive the job shadow requirement may be made if prior experience working in a medical imaging setting. Please submit a letter with your application.

Instructions for student

  • Please dress comfortably and professionally (no jeans or t-shirts)
  • Keep in mind that the imaging equipment may cause the rooms to become warm
  • Please inform clinical staff of any medical procedures that you have difficulty observing
  • Please eat breakfast the morning of your site visit to prevent light-headedness
  • Please bring the Job Shadow Documentation form with you on the day of your site visit
  • If a student hasmedical imaging technologist experience, the job shadow can be waived.
    • Students must submit a letter with their MRI application asking for their job shadow to be waived.

Written expression

This Written Expression is part of the selective admission point scale, and therefore, does affect your prospects for admission into the MRI program. It is to be typed on a separate document and submitted with the program application, due February 1 annually, in order for your application to be considered complete. The Written Expression document should be a maximum of one page in length.

Please write a brief account of:

  1. Significant experiences, activities and employment.
  2. Your reasons for considering a career in MRI.
  3. How your job shadowing experience relates to your reasons for selecting a career in MRI.
  4. Your plans and aspirations for the future.

Written Expression Evaluation Rubric (maximum of 15 points possible): Use the following rubric as you compose your written expression. The admissions committee will use this when reviewing your Written Expression document.

Rating Criteria3 points2 points1 points0 points
Significant experiences, activities and employmentDescribes several pertinent life experiences, or describes a few pertinent life experiences in depth. Well thought out plans and aspirations for futureBriefly describes a few pertinent life experiences. Some thought given to plans and aspirations for the future.Describes only one or two life experiences. Detail is sparse. Little thought given to plans and aspirations for the future.No significant experiences, activities, and/or employment described.
Reasons for considering a career in MRIProvides substantive reasons for considering a career in MRI.Provides acceptable reasons for considering a career in MRI.Provides few reasons for considering a career in MRI.Provides no reasoning for considering a career in MRI.
Relating job shadowing experience to career decisionProvides ample evidence of relating job shadowing experience to career decision.Provides acceptable evidence of relating job shadowing experience to career decision.Provides little evidence of relating job shadowing experience to career decision.Provides no evidence of relating job shadowing experience to career decision.
Writing mechanicsExcellent writing mechanics. 2 or less errors noted.Acceptable writing mechanics. 3-4 errors noted.Poor writing mechanics. 5-8 errors noted.Unacceptable writing mechanics. More than 8 errors noted.
Expression of conceptsConcepts clearly expressed. Thorough but concise.Concepts expressed in acceptable manner. Thoroughness and/or conciseness slightly lacking.Concepts expressed poorly. Thoroughness and/or conciseness lacking.Concepts expressed in unacceptable manner.

Clinical education access requirements

Students formally accepted to the program are required to comply with clinical access requirements prior to and during clinical education placement in a hospital, outpatient clinic, or other clinical education provider. These requirements, according to MiRIS Consortium policies, include:

  • Students are required to undergo a physical examination, immunizations, a drug screen and criminal background check.
  • Students who have a misdemeanor or felony conviction will also be required to submit a pre-application to the American Registry of Radiologic Technology (ARRT) to determine eligibility to complete the MRI certification exam.
  • Students are required to secure and maintain CPR for Health Care Provider certification from the American Heart Association throughout their clinical education participation.
  • Students are required to maintain professional liability insurance as required by clinical education providers.
  • Students are required to adhere to the uniform and personal appearance standards as required by clinical education providers.