Vascular Ultrasound Training, Schools and Certification

Vascular ultrasound technicians help doctors and nurses analyze patients' hearts, and they also assist patients with their cardiac health. Learn about certificate and degree programs in ultrasound and sonography, and review the eligibility requirements and examination process for certification. Get more info about what you'd do as a vascular ultrasound technician. Schools offering Diagnostic Medical Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Vascular Ultrasound?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a vascular ultrasound is another name for a cardiac ultrasound (www.bls.gov). An ultrasound refers to the use of soundwaves to reflect off human tissue. When the soundwaves reverberate back, a computer program is able to calculate and create a digital image of the body tissue. In terms of the vascular system, physicians use ultrasounds to see the health of a patient's cardiac system ranging from the heart to veins or arteries.

What Training and School Programs Are There?

The BLS states that training for sonographers varies depending on their desired career route. Vascular ultrasound training may occur at the certificate, associate's and bachelor's level. You may choose to enroll in general programs in allied health, such as diagnostic medical imaging and then use your work experience to gain experience in vascular ultrasound. Training specifically in vascular ultrasound may last one to four years, depending on the degree level obtained and typically includes a mix of courses in the applied sciences, anatomy and physiology, along with laboratory and patient-based experience.

How Do I Obtain Certification?

There are two tiers of certification for vascular ultrasound technicians. The first tier requires that you're eligible for the Sonography Principles and Instrumentation exam (SPI). There are numerous pathways to this initial level of certification.

According to the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS), the institution that provides the SPI exam, you may attend a certificate or degree program specifically in diagnostic medical sonography, diagnostic cardiac sonography or vascular technology. Alternatively, you may attend a program lasting a minimum of two years in any allied health field then gain at least one year of experience in vascular sonography or ultrasound. A third pathway is obtaining a bachelor's degree in any field, followed by one year of experience in vascular sonography or ultrasound.

Once you complete the SPI, the second level of certification is the ARDMS Vascular Technology exam (VT). This certifies you as a Registered Vascular Technician (RVT). Reviewing the RVT highlights the specific courses and training you should focus on within your school and training programs. Although many certificate or degree programs may be too general, you can help yourself by investing in courses related to these typical exam sections that are on the VT exam:

  • Heart anatomy
  • Venous (veins and arteries) anatomy
  • Heart illnesses and diseases
  • Cardiac damage assessment
  • Interpreting ultrasound images
  • Abdomen physiology

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:

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