Echocardiography: Become an Echocardiographer in 5 Steps
Echocardiographers use echoes and Doppler signals to collect data, analyze blood flow and provide needed information for optimum diagnosis. They typically enroll in 2-year training programs, but 4-year programs are also common in this field. Schools offering Cardiovascular Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Step 1: Research Job Description
Echocardiographers create medical images called echocardiograms by using ultrasound, according to Mayo Clinic, www.mayo.edu. These images of the heart and blood vessels are used for diagnosing patients. Echocardiographers can also help physicians perform transesophageal echocardiography, a procedure in which a tube is placed into the patient's throat to produce ultrasound imaging.
Step 2: Complete Training
Most echocardiographers complete programs at junior colleges that last two years, but 4-years programs are also becoming common. These programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Professionals, www.caahp.org. During these programs, students are given intensive technology training.
Step 3: Obtain License
It is a requirement in some states that echocardiographers be licensed before practicing. Those intending to enter the profession should check with their state medical board to determine if licensure is necessary.
Step 4: Get Certified
Certification is available from Cardiovascular Credentialing International and the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers, notes the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), www.bls.gov. It is sometimes necessary to be certified before obtaining licensure, but even in states where this is not the case, it is beneficial to be certified when seeking employment as an echocardiographer. Those who obtain certification from the CCI earn the credential Registered Cardiac Sonographer.
Step 5: Explore Career Opportunities
Echocardiographers can work in several different settings, including medical imaging centers, hospitals, physician's offices and clinics, hospitals being the most common. The job market is projected to grow a great deal, according to the BLS, with room for upward movement as experience is gained.
To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below: