Become an Echocardiographer in 5 Steps
Research what it takes to become an echocardiographer. Learn about job duties, education and licensure requirements, employment outlook and average wages to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Cardiovascular Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Career Information at a Glance
Echocardiographers use their knowledge of specialized equipment to image the heart and vascular system. The following chart gives you an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.
|Degree Required||Most positions require an associate or bachelor's degree|
|Licensure Requirements||Most employers require certifications and licensure|
|Key Responsibilities||Knowledge of current medical technology, physical stamina, interpersonal skills|
|Job Growth (2012-22)||30% (much faster than average)*|
|Average Salary (2014)||$55,210*|
Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics
Step 1: Complete an Education Program
Aspiring echocardiographers can complete associate or bachelor's degree programs in sonography from colleges and universities. These programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Professionals and include coursework in anatomy, physics, sonography, health care technology and cardiovascular principles. During these programs, students are given intensive technology training.
Step 2: Get Certified
Certification is available from Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) and the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS), according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). 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.
Step 3: Obtain a 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: Explore Career Opportunities
Echocardiographers can work in medical imaging centers, hospitals, physician's offices and clinics, but hospitals are the most common employer. According to the BLS, the job market for cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including echocardiographers, is projected to grow by 30% from 2012 to 2022. This is much faster than the average of 11% growth projected for all occupations during that period. In May 2014, the BLS reported that cardiovascular technologists and technicians earned a mean annual salary of $55,210.
Step 5: Continue Your Education
If you earn a 2-year degree in cardiovascular sonography, you may want to complete a 4-year degree. Additionally, in order to maintain certification, you must complete continuing education units.
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