Cardiovascular Technologist Education in Minnesota
Echocardiograph technicians, also called cardiac ultrasound techs or sonographers, work closely with physicians and surgeons to assess and monitor a patient’s cardiac activity. Echo techs use advanced ultrasound equipment to perform tests on the cardiovascular areas of the body. These areas include the heart, blood vessels, and blood flow to surrounding tissues. The equipment creates images that are often used to make life saving decisions about a patient’s course of care.
You can find a full listing of all the echo tech schools in Minnesota below, and we recommend contacting each to get program details.
Echo techs meet with multiple patients daily to discuss medical histories, and explain and conduct imaging procedures. They use sophisticated technology to perform tests on pediatric and adult patients, and communicate their findings to the medical team. Given the intense nature of the work, comprehensive training and education is required in this field.
Echo Tech/Cardiac Ultrasound Education in Minnesota
In Minnesota, educational programs for cardiac ultrasound technicians can include opportunities to earn Bachelor’s degrees, Associate’s degrees, or certificates. Core courses include cardiac anatomy, ultrasound physics, heart disease, instrumentation, and options for concentrations in adult or pediatric procedures. In addition to classroom based education, students will typically need to gain up to six months of clinical experience. Programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.
In a typical Diagnostic Medical Sonography program with a concentration in Echocardiography, you can plan to enroll full time for 24 months to earn an associate’s degree. Classes cover general education, core courses, and clinical practicum for a total of 71 credit hours.
There are also certificate programs in Echocardiography in Minnesota. For acceptance into the certificate program, you must have an associate’s degree with pre-requisites in a range of college-level math, science, and English courses. There is a strong emphasis on practical learning, and two-thirds of the 66 credits are for clinical rotations. The program must be attended full time for 21 months.
Financial assistance for college is available from a number of sources including scholarships, grants, loans, and employment opportunities. Many students rely on public and private loans to pay for a substantial portion of their degrees. Students are urged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) early in the application process. This form is used to calculate how much students are expected to contribute to college costs, as well as eligibility for federal grants and loans. Some professional organizations and foundations, including the American Society of Echocardiography, offer scholarships.
Echo Tech Careers in Minnesota
Upon completion of a degree or certificate, it is recommended that you apply for credentialing with The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). This national organization requires passing two comprehensive exams before awarding credentials of Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer. Minnesota does not have licensure requirements, but it is increasingly common for employers to require that employees are registered.
Echo techs most often work in hospitals, but may find employment in clinics and private offices. They typically have 40 hour work weeks, but may be required to staff an on call schedule covering evenings and weekends. In Minnesota, cardiac ultrasound techs earn an average of $28/hr or $58,000 annually (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013). Faster than average job growth is predicted in this field due to the aging population, with up to 30 percent increase in new positions over the next 10 years.
Reach out to the cardiac sonography schools you see on our site to learn more.