Ultrasound technicians, also known as diagnostic medical sonographers, use specialized technology to view the interiors of the human body without invasive surgery. Ultrasound machines bounce high-pitched soundwaves off the body's soft tissues and measure the resulting echo to create an image. Technicians can use these images to track a pregnancy, look for abnormalities, or diagnose a medical condition.
Minnesota is a popular location for outdoor enthusiasts while also boasting a lively culture. As home to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, the state is considered a leader in health care. Minnesota has more than 55 acute-care facilities throughout the state.
Minnesota Ultrasound Technician Schools
Students in Minnesota have several options to choose from when it comes to pursuing an education in sonography, especially in the highly populated Twin Cities area. Here are four schools with programs in the field:
- Argosy University: Located in the Twin Cities, this school offers a two-year Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography. A full six months are spent in a real-life clinical setting working with health care professionals, and students may choose to specialize in general sonography, echocardiography, or vascular technology.
- Mayo School of Health Sciences: This 21-month sonography certificate program is offered at the Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota, and includes both classroom and clinical work. Students can specialize in many areas, including obstetrics, vascular, or abdominal sonography. The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). There's also an option to earn a bachelor's degree upon completion.
- University of Minnesota Rochester: The Bachelor of Science in Health Professions (BSHP) Sonography track at this school is offered in collaboration with the Mayo School of Health Sciences. Both clinical and classwork combine in this program to offer students training for entry-level ultrasound work.
- St. Catherine University: This private liberal arts university in St. Paul, Minnesota, offers a Bachelor's of Science (BS) in Sonography. The program includes a blend of liberal arts education with technical coursework. Graduating students complete 1,200 hours of clinical experience at one of the many hospitals and clinics in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
What to Expect from Minnesota Sonography Programs
Students who study in Minnesota will find a rich community and large health care industry. Hospitals, clinics, medical centers, and medical service companies are all job options in the state. The diagnostic ultrasound field is a technical, ever-changing career that requires both caregiving skills and the ability to operate and maintain specialized healthcare equipment. Students and graduated sonographers in Minnesota have many options to choose from for both training and job location.
Most sonography programs in Minnesota allow students to focus on a certain area of sonography by taking specialized classes. Common specializations include vascular, cardiovascular, OB/GYN, breast, or abdominal sonography.
While curriculum will vary by school and specialty, most sonography programs include training in the following areas:
- Medical terminology
- Ultrasound instrumentation
- Patient care
Many programs also require a clinical component in which students learn on the job under the supervision of a professional sonographer. This typically takes place at a local hospital, physician's office, or other health care facility.
Minnesota Ultrasound Technician Licensing and Certification
There are no specific licensing requirements for ultrasound technicians in Minnesota. However, employers often prioritize candidates who are certified by a nationally recognized organization, and have graduated from programs accredited by the CAAHEP. Upon graduation, students can gain a certification with the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) or via Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) through examinations. Students who wish to specialize in a certain area of sonography may apply for an additional certificate in their focus. Most ultrasound technicians obtain at least one post-graduation certification, but multiple certifications can help further your career.
Resources for Minnesota Ultrasound Technicians
- CAAHEP: This commission is the nation's largest health sciences accreditor with more than 2,000 accredited educational programs.
- Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography: This organization was formed to advance and promote the science of sonography, and includes physicians, nurses, teachers, and students in the field.
- American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine: An association of more than 9,000 health care professionals in the ultrasound field.