Online Echo Tech Schools
'Echo tech' is an informal name for electrocardiograph technology, a field that involves diagnostic imaging of the heart. Although no accredited online programs in echo tech are available, you can find related diagnostic medical sonography programs in a hybrid format; however, even these are rare. Get more info about locating an accredited program, find out how hybrid programs work, and review coursework in echo tech. Check the requirements for certification in this field.
If you're looking for a career in echocardiography, online or hybrid format education programs are available to you. Learn more about the requirements and contents of these programs, as well as where they are offered, in this article.
How Do I Find an Online Echo Tech School?
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) offers an online, searchable database of postsecondary schools. Within these records exist at least 200 institutions that offer electrocardiograph technology or diagnostic medical sonography programs; among them, a few offer distance learning certificate and undergraduate degree programs (http://nces.ed.gov). You can generally find appropriate programs offered through an institution's school or department of cardiopulmonary science or allied health.
The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) is recognized as a legitimate accrediting body by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. The CAAHEP doesn't accredit any online or distance education programs in cardiovascular or electrocardiograph technology. However, it does accredit online programs in diagnostic medical sonography that include courses in echocardiography, though these choices are limited (www.caahep.org).
How Do Online Programs Work?
All online echo tech programs are offered in hybrid format. This means that you're able to complete didactic or classroom instruction online. However, there are mandatory clinical, lab or practicum components that you must complete in person. Schools often establish agreements with hospital or diagnostic facilities located in numerous areas so that you can complete these requirements locally. If a local affiliated medical institution isn't available, some schools could review and accept an alternative clinical facility at your request.
What Degrees Are Available to Me?
You can earn an Associate of Science, Associate of Applied Science or Associate of Occupational Science. Consisting of 48-64 credits, an online program in cardiac sonography or diagnostic medical sonography can take 1.5-2.5 years for you to complete. Typical programs include several clinical or externship rotations in pediatric and adult echocardiography and diagnostic imaging. Courses teach you principles of cardiovascular treatments, how to use different instrumentation and proper medical terminology, as well as the basics of anatomy and available health occupations.
You can also enroll in a partially-online programs leading to a Bachelor of Science. Often, these are degree-completion programs that require you to already hold an associate's degree. Bachelor's programs often enhance the studies of an associate's degree program with topics in echocardiography and non-invasive vascular imaging techniques. Additionally, if you're already employed in a health care profession, you could find online certificate programs in echocardiography and cardiovascular ultrasound to augment your medical skills.
These programs might require you to hold certifications, such as a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) offered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) or a Registered Cardiac Sonographer (RCS) designation provided by Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI). You'll usually receive credit for preliminary courses you've taken, certifications you've earned and previous experience.
Which Schools Offer Online Certificate Programs in Echocardiography?
A number of schools offer echocardiography related programs at the certificate level. Some of these institutions are:
- Weatherford College provides an online Echocardiography Certificate program
- Washburn University has a Diagnostic Medical Sonography Certificate program available online
- Ferris State University houses an online Vascular Ultrasound Certificate program
Which Schools Offer Online Associate's Degree Programs in Echocardiography?
A variety of colleges and universities house online associate's degree programs in echocardiography or a related field. Here's a couple of them:
- El Centro College provides an online Cardiac Sonography Associate in Applied Sciences degree program
- Baker College offers an online Associate of Applied Science in Cardiac Sonography degree program
- Baptist School of Health Professions has an online an Associate of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography program
Which Schools Offer Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in Echocardiography?
Many schools provide a chance to earn a bachelor's degree in echocardiography or a similar field online, including the following institutions:
- Misericordia University has an online Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography program
- Adventist University of Health Sciences houses an online Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography program
- Oregon Institute of Technology has a Bachelor of Science in Echocardiography program available online
Does a Degree Mean I'm Certified?
Certification doesn't automatically accompany graduation from a program. However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, although credentialing for an echo technologist or technician is voluntary, most employers require it (www.bls.gov). Credentials are offered through CCI and ARDMS in sonography and echocardiography in a number of disciplines, such as cardiovascular, pediatric and abdominal imaging.
Though there are a number of online degree programs in echocardiography and similar fields, most of them are hybrid format and require clinical work, which can often be done in the student's local area. That being said, you still have a good deal of choice in provider and level of education as you look to enter the workforce or expand your career horizons.