Cardiovascular Echo Sonographer: Salary, Requirements & Career Info

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a cardiovascular echo sonographer. Get a quick view of the requirements, as well as details about job duties and outlook to find out if this is the career for you.

Cardiovascular echo sonographers are also known as echocardiographers. They are required to have an associate's degree in their field, and some employers may prefer applicants who have professional certification. American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) and Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) both offer certification programs.

Essential Information

Also known as echocardiographers and cardiac sonographers, cardiovascular echo sonographers use ultrasound technology to produce images of the heart and blood vessels. They spend much of their time in direct contact with patients, obtaining medical histories, explaining procedures and taking ultrasound images. To become an echocardiographer, an individual must complete an associate's degree program in sonography or a related field. Voluntary professional certification is available and may be preferred by some employers.

Required Education Associate's degree
Other Requirements Professional certification may be required by some employers
Projected Job Growth* (2014-2024) 22% for cardiovascular technologists and technicians
Median Salary* (2015) $54,880 for cardiovascular technologists and technicians

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Cardiovascular Echo Sonographer Career Information

Cardiovascular echo sonographers use ultrasound instruments to send sound waves through a patient's body. The reflected sound waves are used to produce an image, which is then used by physicians to identify and diagnose health issues. Cardiovascular echo sonographers specifically use this technology to produce images of the heart chambers, vessels and valves. Vascular technologists, or vascular sonographers, are a type of cardiovascular echo sonographer who uses ultrasound technology to produce images specifically of the blood vessels. These images help them determine blood pressure, blood flow, circulation and oxygen saturation. Physicians then use this information to diagnose disorders that affect circulation.

Cardiovascular echo sonographers are responsible for explaining the ultrasound procedures to patients. Duties in this profession include taking medical histories, maintaining patient records and managing equipment. Sonographers also view the images that they produce, make preliminary evaluations, and choose which images to show to physicians for the official diagnosis.

Cardiovascular Echo Sonographer Requirements

Cardiovascular echo sonographers usually receive training in the form of a 2-year associate's degree program in sonography. However, there are also 1-year certificate and 4-year bachelor's degree programs available. The 1-year certificate programs are usually designed for those who already work in the healthcare industry and are seeking a career change or want to increase their marketability.

Certification is not required for cardiovascular echo sonographers, but it is an option. Many employers prefer those who have earned certification since it is a reflection of professional ability. The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) offers the registered diagnostic cardiac sonographer (RDCS) designation, and Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) offers the registered cardiac sonographer (RCS), registered congenital cardiac sonographer (RCCS), registered phlebology sonographer (RPhS) and registered vascular specialist (RVS) designations. Completion of an approved education program is usually necessary to sit for these certification exams. A certified cardiovascular echo sonographer generally must complete continuing education requirements in order to maintain certification.

Cardiovascular Echo Sonographer Salary and Career Outlook

In 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the hourly wage for most cardiovascular technologists and technicians fell between $13.66 and $41.91, with the median annual salary being $54,880. Faster than average employment growth of 22% was predicted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for these professionals during the 2014-2014 decade.

Cardiovascular echo sonographers use ultrasound equipment to capture images of the heart and blood vessels. They may take patient histories and explain the procedures they perform with the patients, and can opt to specialize within their field as a vascular technologist. Although certification is not required, it may be preferred by some employers.


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