How To Become A Cardiac Sonographer
How do you become a cardiac sonographer? A cardiac sonographer is a type of cardiac technologist who uses ultrasound technology to view a patient's heart and blood vessels. This helps doctors diagnose and treat heart problems. Another name for a cardiac sonographer is an echocardiographer.
To become a cardiac sonographer, follow these steps:
- Most cardiac sonographers complete a 2-year program resulting in an associate's degree or certificate. These programs can be found at junior and community colleges as well as at some hospitals. As of 2009, there were about 200 of these types of programs in the United States. There are also four year programs available, which allow for more intensive specialization.
- In addition to education, it is important that a cardiac sonographer be good with technology, be able to follow complex instructions, and have a friendly and relaxed manner that puts patients at ease.
- After graduating from a cardiac sonography program, you can apply for credentialing with the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS). Though credentialing is voluntary, it is increasingly required by most employers. Credentialing requires taking the Sonography Principles and Instruction examination, along with a specialty examination in Adult Echocardiography, resulting in certification as a Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer.
- Most cardiac sonographers work in hospitals, though jobs are also available in doctor's offices and diagnostic laboratories. Employment opportunities for sonographers are expected to increase 24 percent through 2018. The average cardiac sonographer made $47,010 in May 2008. Technicians who have more specialization are likely to have the most varied and most highly paid job prospects.