Echocardiography courses may be taken as part of an associate or bachelor's degree program in such areas as cardiovascular technology, occupational therapy, sonography or radiation therapy. Courses are also available through echocardiography certificate and diploma programs, which can range from 14-21 months long. Besides enrolling in a community, technical or 4-year college, students with at least an associate degree may be able to apply to echocardiography programs at hospitals and medical centers. Some echocardiography programs prepare students to take national credentialing exams, such as Cardiovascular Credentialing International's Certified Cardiographic Technician exam or the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Inc.'s Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer exam. Common course topics will include the following:
- 2-D imaging
- Frequency selection
- Cardiac physiology
- Circulation function
- Scanning motion
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List of Courses
Fundamentals of Echocardiography Course
Echocardiography is a technical field that requires specific knowledge about equipment and procedures. In this course students learn about the field, related terminology and the instruments used. This course is an overview of the field that teaches basic information, including ethics and safety procedures. This course is taken at the beginning of a program.
Clinical Procedures Course
Students will build upon previous courses to learn how to use echocardiography equipment in a clinical setting. The curriculum may include hands-on training. After completing this course, students should have a clear understanding of how echocardiography works and what is involved in the process. This course usually falls in the middle of a program.
Anatomy of the Heart Course
A clear understanding of the anatomy of the heart is essential to a person in this field. Being able to identify irregularities is an important part of the job duties, so this course provides students with instruction on the appearance and function of a normal heart. This course also teaches students how `to identify abnormalities. Heart anatomy courses usually fall towards the middle of a program.
Cardiac Testing Course
The focus of this course is to teach students about other methods of testing that may be used in conjunction with echocardiography. Students take this course near the middle of a program to learn how to use various imaging equipment. Students may learn about Holter monitoring, stress testing, cardiac catheterization and Thallium testing.
Abnormal Anatomy of the Heart Course
Through this course, students get an in-depth look into abnormalities of the heart and cardiac system. Students learn signs of abnormalities, how to diagnose conditions with echocardiography and treatment options. Students may learn about pediatric and adult heart conditions in this course. This course usually falls in the second half of a program.