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Echocardiology Technician Education Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an echocardiology technician. 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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Echocardiology technicians use diagnostic equipment to capture images of the human heart in order assist physicians with diagnosing medical conditions. An associate's degree is required and voluntary certification programs are available.

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Essential Information

An echocardiology technician, or echocardiographer, uses high frequency sound waves to create pictures of the human heart and identify possible medical problems. An echocardiology technician is typically required to complete a certificate or associate's degree program. Some employers prefer to hire certified technicians; credentials are available through organizations such as the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) and the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS).

Required Education Associate's or bachelor's degree in cardiovascular sonography or echocardiology
Other Requirements Voluntary certification
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 24% for cardiovascular technologists and technicians*
Median Salary (May 2015) $54,880 for cardiovascular technologists and technicians*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Overview

An echocardiology technician, also known as a cardiovascular sonographer, uses ultrasound technology to create images of the human heart and measure its performance. Echocardiology technicians work with cardiologists to diagnose and treat problems associated with the heart and peripheral blood vessels. Echocardiology technicians may be called upon to work with patients by preparing them for procedures, positioning them and manipulating the echocardiology machines to create accurate medical images.

Education Requirements

Those who wish to be echocardiology technicians normally choose one of two paths. Some technicians opt for on-the-job training by employers who prefer to train those who work for them personally. Positions for echocardiology technicians who are solely responsible for taking electrocardiograms (EKGs) are especially open to informal, on-the-job training, but may be reserved for those who are already in an allied health profession.

More commonly, echocardiology technicians enter the workplace only after completing a 2-year degree program in cardiovascular sonography or echocardiology, usually from an accredited community college or technical school. In such programs, the first year is spent taking core courses and the second year is offers courses specializing in either invasive or non-invasive procedures.

Although a bachelor's degree is not required in order to become an echocardiology technician, the degree is becoming increasingly common. One advantage of the bachelor's degree is that it offers greater opportunity for advancement, particularly into an administrative position.

Echocardiology technicians are not always required to be licensed or certified, but most employers prefer to hire those with credentials and may pay them more based on their certification. Licensing requirements vary by state, and some states do not require echocardiologists to be licensed at all. However, Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) offers four different certifications for echocardiologists and the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) offers two certifications.

Echocardiology technicians use imaging equipment to prepare diagnostic information for physicians' diagnostic use. They take images, analyze findings, and provide the results to physicians. An associate's degree is required to become an echocardiology technician.

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