How to Become an Ultrasound Technician in Minnesota

Diagnostic medical sonography is a field that is expected to offer many employment opportunities, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), who predict an employment growth of 30% between 2012 and 2022. If becoming an ultrasound technician in Minnesota appeals to you, read below and learn everything you need to know.

Ultrasound Technician Requirements

To become an ultrasound technician in Minnesota, you must complete a formal training program. Ultrasound technician programs, generally called diagnostic medical sonography programs, are generally associate or bachelor degree programs, although associate degree is the most common. Students in an ultrasound technician program take courses in anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, physics and cross-sectional anatomy.

Sonography programs usually offer areas of specialization such as breast sonography, abdominal sonography, cardiovascular and vascular sonography. In addition to coursework, students have lab courses and complete clinical internships where they obtain hands-on training in the various areas of sonography.

Is Any Prior Education or Training Required?

Ultrasound technician programs don’t typically have prior education requirements but applicants must complete prerequisite courses and meet specific admission requirements that may apply to this program. Requirements may include submitting to a criminal background check and providing proof of drug and health screenings, current immunization and health insurance. Students must also have CPR certification.

Are Ultrasound Technicians Required to be Certified?

Ultrasound technicians in Minnesota are not required to be certified by law, but most employers prepare, and some may required, that their ultrasound technicians obtain certification.

How Can an Ultrasound Technician Become Certified?

An ultrasound technician can obtain certification through the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). The student must pass a certification examination; passing two exams is required to obtain the Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonography credential. To be eligible to take a certification exam, the applicant must have completed an accredited program in sonography. Individuals can pursue certification in various specialized areas of sonography such as abdominal ultrasound, ultrasound physics, gynecological and obstetrical ultrasound, echocardiography and vascular technology.

Is Continuing Education Required?

To maintain certification, sonographers must complete continuing education. ARDMS certification is good for 10 years; however, the individual must complete at least 30 hours of continuing medical education during the final three years of their certification. ARRT certification is valid for two years. To maintain ARRT certification, the individual must complete at least 24 hours of continuing education. Of the required 24 hours, at least 16 must be in their specialist area of sonography. For instance, a sonography wishing to keep certification in vascular sonography must complete at least 16 hours in vascular sonography continuing education.

Low/Medium/High Salary for Ultrasound Technicians in Minnesota

The salaries earned by ultrasound technicians in Minnesota vary by level of training, work experience and location. According to a 2014 salary report, the average wage for echo sonographers working in Minnesota was $45,000, while diagnostic medical sonographers in earned about $52,000. One of the higher wages of $77,000 was earned by GYN sonographers in Minnesota. These wages are very consistent with the nationwide averages of $66,000, as reported by the BLS in 2012. In a 2013 report by the Society of Diagnostic Sonography, it was indicated that men in this career earned slightly higher wages than women.

What Job Duties Can an Ultrasound Technician Perform in Minnesota?

Ultrasound technicians prepare patients for diagnostic imaging procedures and also prepare the diagnostic imaging equipment used for the testing. They also operate the equipment that perform the tests. They take and record the patient’s medical history and keep track of their medical records. Upon performing the procedure, the technician analyzes the diagnostics so they can provide the physician with a summary of their findings. They’re also trained to differentiate a normal from an abnormal reading.

How Long Does it Take to Become an Ultrasound Technician in Minnesota?

The length of time it takes to become an ultrasound technician depends on the program the student chooses to complete. Associate degree programs take approximately two years, while bachelor degree programs generally take four years to complete. Individuals who are already employed in medical jobs such as radiation therapists may complete a certificate program in sonography, which is usually takes about one year to complete.