Cardiac Sonography Training Programs and Schools

Cardiac sonographers help doctors determine a patient's medical condition. Get information about the training requirements as well as nationally recognized certifications. Schools offering Diagnostic Medical Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Sonographers are professionals who use specialized equipment on a body region to find further details concerning a patient's health or to uncover potential problems. In the case of cardiac sonography, also called echocardiography, the sonographic images are used to assess cardiac muscles, major arteries and veins around the heart.

Degrees Associate of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Bachelor of Applied Science in Cardiac Sonography, Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Certificates Certificate in Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography, Certificate in Echocardiography
Courses Anatomy and physiology, ultrasound physics, cardiac functions, heart diseases, echocardiography for children, vascular technology, Doppler physics

How Can I Start a Training Program?

With a medical background, you could participate in an on-the-job training program at a hospital or medical facility or enroll in a school's certificate program. If you have no previous medical experience, several community colleges and universities offer training programs at the associate and bachelor's degree levels. Some schools that offer associate's or bachelor's degree programs in cardiac or cardiovascular sonography or diagnostic medical sonography include:

  • Cape Fear Community College
  • Harper College
  • Jackson College
  • Nova Southeaster University
  • Eastwick College
  • Clemson University
  • Oregon Institute of Technology
  • Adventist University of Health Sciences

What Are the Admission Requirements?

You might need to provide health records, submit to a background check and obtain certification in CPR. Prior coursework, such as classes in biology and anatomy and physiology, is typically requested. In some cases, programs that limit class sizes might require you to apply for both the classroom portion of the program and the clinical portion separately.

What Will I Learn?

The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) sets training standards for sonography programs. In an ARDMS-approved program, you'll gain hands-on experience in addition to the lessons you learn in the classroom. You could learn to use various methods to capture images of the cardiac region, including echocardiography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or nuclear medicine techniques.

Other courses might include:

  • Ultrasound or sonographic physics
  • Sonographic instrumentation
  • Vascular sonography
  • Cardiac sonography theory

Can I Find Training Online?

A few schools give you the opportunity to take your classes online. However, most online programs require that you have some previous experience or sonography certification. Some schools do require on-campus lab work, and you'll usually need to complete clinical requirements at a medical facility in your area. Online programs are available at the certificate through the master's degree level.

What Certifications Can I Earn?

The ARDMS offers voluntary certification, though some schools and employers could recommend or require it. You can earn the Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer designation in adult, fetal or pediatric echocardiography. You'll first need to pass the general test on sonography procedures and equipment before taking a specialty exam. To qualify for the general exam, you'll need to meet education and experience requirements, which can include a minimum of a 2-year training program and at least a year of sonography experience (www.ardms.org). Credentials are valid for ten years and require you to complete an online, open-book assessment for renewal.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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