Echocardiography Training Programs and Requirements
Echocardiography training programs are designed to teach those with health care training or experience how to produce ultrasound images of the heart. Students may also learn to assist physicians in performing other cardiac procedures through hands-on practice during clinical training.
Echocardiography training programs are offered by colleges and universities. An echocardiography education program's goal is to train a specialist, for example, an echocardiographer, who can supervise an echocardiography lab. Echocardiographers, also called cardiac sonographers, use sound waves to create images of the heart. Students learn how to operate the sonogram equipment.
- Prerequisites: Associate's degree, completion of medical coursework(medical terminology, anatomy, physics etc.), experience working in health care settings
- Program Length: 1-2 years
- Other Requirements: Clinical training
Training Program in Echocardiography
The coursework in a training program in echocardiography might teach students about the different types of echocardiograms, such as transthoractic and transesophageal. Students study the principles of echocardiography, as well as the physics behind it. Studies may include:
- Echocardiography principles
- Anatomy of the cardiovascular system
- Physics of ultrasound
- Stress echocardiography
- Echocardiography for critically-ill patients
- Medical ethics
Job Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for all types of cardiovascular technologists and technicians is expected to increase by 39% from 2012-2022 due to an aging population and the prevalence of heart disease (www.bls.gov). According to Salary.com, the median salary for an echocardiographic technician was $67,945 in 2015.
While professional certification is not mandatory, most employers hire only echocardiographers who hold professional credentials. The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) and Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) both have credentialing programs. ARDMS offers the Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS) credential in three areas - adult, pediatric and fetal echocardiography. CCI offers the Registered Congenital Cardiac Sonographer (RCCS) and Registered Cardiac Sonographer (RCS) credential.