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Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography: Salary and Career Information

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a diagnostic cardiac sonographer. 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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Diagnostic cardiac sonographers utilize high frequency sound waves in order to assist physicians in making heart health diagnoses. They explain and carry out sonography procedures and then determine which images to pass along to the primary physician. Most sonographers have at least an associate's degree in diagnostic medical sonography.

Essential Information

Diagnostic cardiac sonographers create pictures of the human heart using high frequency sound waves. Professionals in this field work directly with patients and must normally complete a two-year degree program to find employment. Certification is voluntary, but recommended for advancement in the field.

Required Education None mandated by law; however, most sonographers hold an associate's degree or higher in diagnostic medical sonography
Certification Voluntary through the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 26% for diagnostic medical sonographers*
Median Salary (May 2015) $68,970 for diagnostic medical sonographers*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Salary Information for Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographers

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage of diagnostic medical sonographers, including diagnostic cardiac sonographers, was $68,970 in May 2015. Those who worked in physicians' offices made an average of $68,460 per year, and those who worked in general medical and surgical hospitals earned $70,500 on average.

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Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography Career Information

Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer Job Description

Diagnostic cardiac sonography, also known as echocardiography, is the use of high frequency sound waves to create images of the human heart. Diagnostic cardiac sonographers may specialize in fetuses, children or adults, and often work for hospitals or medical clinics. Echocardiographers use a sound projector that creates a conical or rectangular beam of sound waves, which bounce off a patient's heart tissue and return to a computer via a receiver to create images of the inside the human heart.

Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer Job Duties

Preparing both patients and machinery for the imaging procedure is the first duty of diagnostic cardiac sonographers. Normally, this involves explaining to the patient what the procedure will entail, positioning the patient and applying sound-transmitting gel to the patient's skin. After the imaging is complete, the sonographer is responsible for determining which images should be kept and which should be discarded. Images are then given to physicians for them to review and make a diagnosis.

Education and Career Requirements for a Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer

Diagnostic cardiac sonographers are not required by law to have any particular education other than a high school degree. However, employers normally hire only those who have an associate degree in diagnostic medical sonography and professional certification through the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Certification may be necessary for employment opportunities and career advancement.

Diagnostic cardiac sonographers are primarily concerned with the understanding and operating of sonography equipment on the heart. They typically need an associate's degree for entry level positions and may pursue optional certification in order to increase their career advancement opportunities. Tremendous job growth is projected in this field between 2014-2024, and the median salary in 2015 was about $69,000.

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