Cardiovascular sonographers are medical personnel who use technology to specifically look at the heart and circulatory system. They often work within a team of health care providers treating patients with cardiovascular health issues. There are education and certification requirements to work in this field.
Cardiovascular sonographers conduct procedures with ultrasound technology, recording images from inside a patient's body for physician interpretation. Prerequisites for this position vary based on experience in the health field, though an associate degree in cardiovascular technology is required, and most employers will also require professional certification.
|Required Education||Associate degree in cardiovascular technology and professional certification|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) *||22% for cardiovascular technologists and technicians|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$54,880 for all cardiovascular technologists and technicians|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Echocardiographers use ultrasound to examine the chambers of the heart and evaluate heart function. The ultrasound instrumentation used to create these images is called an echocardiogram. Once the echocardiogram is administered, the echocardiographer provides the physicians with the results for further evaluation.
Vascular technologists assist physicians in the diagnosing of disorders affecting circulation. Usually performed during or after surgery, vascular technologists use ultrasound to record blood flow, pressure and circulation in search for abnormalities. The technologist then provides a summary of these findings to the physician for diagnosis.
Cardiographic technicians specialize in electrocardiography, known as EKG or stress testing. Technicians attach electrodes to the patient's body and control switches on the EKG machine to obtain a reading. This reading is then printed out for a physician to interpret.
Education Requirements for a Cardiovascular Sonographer
A minimum of an associate degree in cardiovascular technology is required. Qualified individuals with a background in the health field may need only to complete one year of specialized instruction in non-invasive cardiovascular technology to become either an echocardiographer or vascular technologists.
Cardiographic technicians are often already working in the health care field and are trained on the job by an EKG supervisor or cardiologist. Professionals may take a 1-year certification program in lieu of job training.
Most employers require that those working in cardiovascular sonography be certified. Certification is available through organizations such as Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) and the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers(ARDMS). Requirements to become certified include graduation from an accredited allied health program and experience in the field. Continuing education is often mandatory to renew certification.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for cardiovascular technologists and technicians was expected to grow by 22% from 2014 to 2024. In 2015, the BLS reported an annual median salary of $54,880 for cardiovascular techs.
Cardiovascular sonographers work with technology, including ultrasound or EKG technology, to examine or produce images of the heart and circulatory systems. This information is usually provided to a physician for interpretation. An associate's degree is required for entry into this rapidly growing field, and some employers may require professional certification.