A 2-year Associate of Science in Cardiac Sonography degree program is designed to introduce students to the basic concepts of medical imaging and diagnostics, but it also includes additional courses related specifically to the cardiovascular system. It's important for these programs to be accredited; programs with accreditation prepare graduates to sit for the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography Examination. Aspiring diagnostic medical sonographers complete both didactic and clinical courses, where they learn the basic concepts of human anatomy and cardiovascular systems.
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Associate of Science Degree in Cardiac Sonography Overview
Many schools offering associate's degree programs in cardiac sonography require incoming students to hold a high school diploma, to have a strong understanding of the English language and to take a college placement examination. As the program is in the healthcare field, many schools also require incoming students to show proof of immunization records. Courses in the first year of an associate's degree program in cardiac sonography focus on the basic concepts of medical imaging, patient care and echocardiograph machines. The second year of the program is focused more toward hands-on training in clinical situations. Examples of courses include:
- Anatomy and physiology, cardiac pathophysiology, cardiac hemodynamic
- Patient care
- Basics of medical imaging
- Ultrasound physics, echocardiography
- Vascular ultrasound
- Cardiac sonography clinical practicum
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), diagnostic medical sonographers in general numbered upwards of 61,250 individuals in 2015 (www.bls.gov). The job outlook for cardiac sonographers is expected to increase by 26% in the 2014-2024 decade according to the BLS. Diagnostic medical sonographers earned a mean annual salary of $70,880 in May 2015. PayScale.com reported annual median earnings of $58,692 for cardiac sonographers in January 2016.
All diagnostic medical sonographers can gain certification through the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). The organization also offers separate credentials for sonographers who deal with cardiovascular systems. Sonographers in the field can become registered as adult echocardiographers, child echocardiographers or fetal echocardiographers.
An Associate of Science in Cardiac Sonography program teaches topics such as patient care, medical imaging, and echocardiography to prepare students to become certified with ARDMS and go into the fast-growing field of diagnostic medical sonography.