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Cardiac Echo Tech: Career Profile

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a cardiac echo tech. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

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With an associate's or bachelor's degree in sonography or cardiovascular and vascular technology, it is possible to begin a career as a cardio echo tech. Cardio echo techs use ultrasound and other testing equipment to assist with the diagnosis and treatment of cardiac illness.

Essential Information

Cardiac echo techs, also called echocardiographers or cardiac sonographers, use non-invasive echocardiography testing equipment, such as ultrasound instruments, to assist in diagnosing and treating cardiac patients. In order to become a cardiac echo tech, individuals need to complete formal training through a certificate or associate's degree program. Work opportunities can be found in hospitals, private and public health centers, and other clinical settings.

Required Education Associate's or bachelor's degree in sonography or cardiovascular and vascular technology
Other Requirements Voluntary Certification through the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) and the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS)
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 24% for all diagnostic medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including vascular technologists*
Median Salary (May 2015) $54,880 for all cardiovascular technologists and technicians*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median annual salary for cardiovascular technologists and technicians was $54,880 in May 2015 (www.bls.gov). Due to the aging population and the prevalence of heart diseases, cardiovascular and vascular technology employment is expected to grow at a much faster-than-average rate of 24% during the years 2014-2024.

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Required Education for Cardiac Echo Techs

Although some cardiac echo techs receive on-the-job training, most complete a 2-year associate's degree program. Classes may include electrocardiography, cardiac diseases, stress testing techniques and skills, diagnostic testing, and echocardiography imaging and techniques. While the first year is devoted to core courses, students typically spend the second year learning actual procedures. Some schools may offer this program through a certificate program.

Certification

Although certification may not be required, many cardiac echo techs choose to obtain this credential to help employment opportunities. Both the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) and the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) offer certification examinations.

The CCI offers a choice of the Registered Vascular Specialist, Certified Cardiographic Technician, Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist and the Registered Cardiac Sonographer certifications. The ARDMS offers the Registered Vascular Technologist and the Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer. Continuing education is required to maintain certification.

The 24% projected job growth for cardio echo techs from 2014-2024 is much faster than average. Applicants with an associate or bachelor's degree in a related field should be able to compete effectively for jobs. Practical experience gained through an internship or practicum will also help applicants appeal to potential employers.

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