Echocardiography technicians are required to have postsecondary training in echocardiography. An associate's degree is typically preferred; however, one-year certificate programs are also available. Most echocardiography technicians work in hospitals, although some work in diagnostic labs and doctor's offices.
Employed in hospitals and other healthcare facilities, echocardiography technicians administer ultrasounds in the diagnosis of heart-related illnesses. This requires knowing how to use special diagnostic equipment, and most technicians gain their skills through classroom and laboratory training as part of a certificate or associate's degree program in echocardiography. Although only some states require licensure or registration for these professionals, many employers require that technicians are certified.
|Required Education||Certificate or associate's degree in echocardiography|
|Other Requirements||Certification and/or state licensure or registration|
|Projected Job Growth||24% from 2014-2024* (for diagnostic medical sonographers, and cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including vascular technologists|
|Median Salary (2015)||$54,880 annually* (for cardiovascular technologists and technicians)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Educational Requirements for Echocardiography Technicians
Echocardiography (ECG) technicians typically need to earn associate's degrees in echocardiography; however, many schools also offer 1-year certificate programs. Such education can be obtained through community colleges and vocational schools. Course topics tend to include diagnostics, lab techniques, cardiac pathophysiology, ultrasound instrumentation and stress testing. In addition to coursework, students complete laboratory studies and participate in internships.
Certification and Licensing Requirements
While certification is typically not state-regulated, it is required by a majority of employers. According to the American Society of Echocardiography, two states require ECG techs to be licensed. Licensure typically involves credentialing through the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography or Cardiovascular Credentialing International. Additionally, some states require you to be registered before you can perform stress echo tests. You may be required to maintain licensure, certification or registration regularly by completing continuing education.
Career Information for Echocardiography Technicians
ECG technology is actually a specialized branch of a larger field known as cardiovascular technology. Cardiovascular technicians and technologists assist physicians in diagnosing problems with patients' hearts using special equipment and techniques. ECG techs, specifically, use an ultrasound device to create images of patients' hearts and surrounding valves.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment of cardiovascular/vascular technologists and technicians is projected to grow 24%, or much faster than average, in the years 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). According to the BLS, the median annual wage for cardiovascular technologists and technicians was $54,880 in May 2015.
With high job growth projected through 2024 there should be many employment opportunities for those who complete a certificate or associate's degree in echocardiography. Echocardiography technicians use specialized equipment to perform tests or create images to help doctors diagnose patients and perform a vital role in the medical field.