Colleges for Aspiring Cardiac Sonographers: How to Choose

Schools for cardiac sonographers instruct students in how to use ultrasound machines to create echocardiographs, or images of a patient's heart. Curricula in these programs will often involve anatomy, pathology and ultrasound physics. Students interested in this field have the option to pursue a certificate, associate and bachelor's degree in various cardiovascular imaging disciplines.

Cardiac and general sonography programs can be found through the cardiovascular technology or continuing education departments of career institutes, community colleges and universities. Typically, aspiring cardiac sonographers complete an associate degree program in cardiac sonography or echocardiography; however, some certificate programs and bachelor's degree programs are also available.

Schools with Cardiovascular Sonography Programs

These schools offer cardiac sonography or echocardiography programs:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2015-2016)*
Arkansas Tech University Russellville, AR 4-year, Public Associate $6,192 in-state, $11,352 out-of-state
Augusta Technical College Augusta, GA 2-year, Public Associate $2,644 in-state, $4,780 out-of-state
Bunker Hill Community College Boston, MA 2-year, Public Associate $3,576 in-state, $8,520 out-of-state
Central Georgia Technical College Warner Robins, GA 2-year, Public Associate $2,674 in-state, $4,810 out-of-state
Central Piedmont Community College Charlotte, NC 2-year, Public Associate $2,664 in-state, $8,808 out-of-state
Chattanooga State Community College Chattanooga, TN 2-year, Public Certificate $3,973 in-state, $15,373 out-of-state
City College of San Francisco San Francisco, CA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate $1,598 in-state, $7,554 out-of-state
Delaware Technical Community College - Stanton/Wilmington Wilmington, DE 2-year, Public Associate $3,632 in-state, $8,522 out-of-state

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

College Selection Criteria

Here are some considerations for students interested in this discipline:

  • Though certification is voluntary for cardiac sonographers, students may consider schools that prepare them for examinations, because certification may be preferred by employers.
  • Students who want to pursue a specialized career in the field should look for a school that provides adequate training for certification through an organization such as the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography.
  • Aspiring cardiac sonographers should make sure any school they're interested in has up-to-date, on-campus medical facilities with cardiac ultrasound machines.
  • Students should look for programs offering internship and clinical practicum experiences so that they get hands-on training relevant to their professional interests.

Certificate for Cardiac Sonographers

Certificate programs for aspiring cardiac sonographers provide cardiac sonographers a fundamental education in the field. Clinical experiences are commonly available at this level. Completion of this program may qualify graduates for national certification in electrocardiography.

Associate Degree for Cardiac Sonographers

Associate degree programs in cardiac sonography may be completed in two years, and they can qualify students for employment as cardiac sonographers. General education courses and clinical experiences are common in associate degree programs.

Bachelor's Degree for Cardiac Sonographers

These 4-year programs typically cover vascular sonography, as well as other specialty areas such as abdominal sonography and invasive cardiology. Clinical experiences and internships provide students with practical hands-on experience in the field.

By pursuing an undergraduate degree or certificate at an accredited school, aspiring cardiac sonographers can get the hands-on experience they need for success in the field, as well as the background education that can prepare them for certification exams.

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