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Master's Degrees in Echocardiography

Learn about echocardiography careers as well as the employment outlook and professional certification in the field. Find out about degree levels, online courses and clinical requirements.

Are Echocardiography Master's Degrees Available?

Echocardiography - also known as cardiac sonography - programs are typically offered for associate's and bachelor's degrees; they are rare at the master's level. If you plan to enter a master's program, you must have a bachelor's degree. Typical prerequisite coursework includes biological sciences, physics, social sciences and humanities. The echocardiography master's degree program may require you to complete both online and on-campus courses, a practicum and an internship.

Undergraduate echocardiography degree program requirements may include a current CPR card, Hepatitis B vaccination and completion of prerequisites such as human anatomy, physics and algebra. Some bachelor's degree programs - which are degree completion programs - require you to be a registered diagnostic cardiac sonographer prior to enrolling. You can earn this credential by passing an examination from the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) and Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI).

Undergraduate Prerequisites Coursework, CPR card, vaccinations, professional registration may be required
Online Learning Interact with classmates and instructors using e-mail and online discussions, access courses through an Internet-based course delivery system
Common Courses Pediatric cardiac sonography, pharmacology, epidemiology, adult cardiac sonography, healthcare ethics
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 23% growth (for all cardiovascular technologists and technicians)*
Median Salary (2018) $56,850 (for all cardiovascular technologists and technicians)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Are Online Programs Conducted?

Echocardiography associate's and bachelor's degree programs are offered online. Your courses are typically delivered through an Internet-based course delivery system such as Blackboard, and you correspond with other students and instructors through online discussions or e-mail. Although most of your courses can be completed over the Internet, you will have to complete labs, clinicals and internships at a medical site.

What Will My Coursework Be Like?

Your undergraduate curriculum includes a combination of practice and theory. In addition to your coursework, you'll also participate in clinical education which includes supervised externships or practicums. Common topics covered in echocardiography programs at all levels include:

  • Pediatric cardiac sonography
  • Imaging physics
  • Patient management
  • Pharmacology
  • Doppler sonography
  • Epidemiology
  • Adult cardiac sonography
  • Invasive cardiac procedures
  • Healthcare ethics
  • Venous, vascular and arterial testing

If you're in the bachelor's degree program, you may be required to complete a senior project. For the master's degree, you'll have to prepare either a research paper for journal publication or a presentation for a conference. Additional master's-level coursework may cover advanced anatomy and physiology, medical writing and healthcare management.

What Are My Career Options?

As an echocardiographer, you'll be qualified to work in hospitals, clinics and emergency settings monitoring inpatients and at rehabilitation clinics for cardiac patients. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), over 77% of cardiovascular technicians and technologists - including echocardiographers - are employed in general medical and surgical hospitals (www.bls.org). The BLS also stated employment for this profession was projected to increase up to 23% from 2016-2026.

Associate's and bachelor's degree programs give you the knowledge and skills to study the anatomy of a patient's heart using ultrasound equipment. You might also administer medication to examine a patient's cardiac function during physical activity. A master's degree program can prepare you for a leadership position in a clinical setting or for doctoral studies in the health sciences.