From the time it was first clinically used in the 1950s, cardiac sonography has evolved into one of the most important diagnostic tools in the healthcare field. It is an essential part of assessing, preventing, and diagnosing cardiovascular conditions in patients and provides a career path for those looking to help others. Let’s break down what cardiac sonography is and why it’s important for patient care.
What is cardiac sonography
Cardiac sonographers, also known as echocardiographers, are the heroes of the heart who help doctors diagnose and treat a variety of heart disease, defects, and other medical conditions. Using ultrasound technology, cardiac sonographers take digital images of the heart, including the chambers, walls, valves, and blood vessels. Doctors use these images to identify a wide range of abnormalities and to assist in the development of treatment plans for patients to help improve their health and save lives.
Typical duties of a cardiac sonographer
Working with a new generation of ultrasound equipment to capture those valuable diagnostic images of the heart is the primary task of a cardiac sonographer. There are other responsibilities to the job description as well. Some additional duties you can expect as a cardiac sonographer include:
- Monitor and maintain ultrasound equipment and supplies
- Communicate with patients before, during, and after exams including the ability to safely move and lift patients
- Use of interpersonal skills to collaborate with colleagues and physicians
- Prepare preliminary reports for reading physicians
- Explain procedures in detail and answer questions
- Think clearly and act calmly in stressful situations
What kind of training does a cardiac sonographer need?
Employers require credentialing through the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) or Cardiac Credentialing International (CCI) to be eligible for employment. An Associate degree of applied science is required in order to sit for these credentialing exams. Upon graduation, you will be eligible to take the Registered Cardiac Sonography (RCS) exam through CCI to further enhance your career candidacy. Overall, if you’re considering a career in cardiac sonography, you should look for a program that provides hands-on training from instructors with real-world experience. In addition to the technical training required, most cardiac sonography programs include instruction in basic patient care, medical and legal ethics, interpersonal communication, and more.
Finding a well-rounded program that covers all of the above will help you hit the ground running once you complete your training and are ready to start your career as a cardiac sonographer.
Job outlook for cardiac sonographers
The future looks bright for cardiac sonographers. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the industry will continue to grow at a faster than average rate adding nearly 15,000 jobs by 2031. Combine future job growth with an average annual pay of over $75K you can see this is a career path worth considering.
Where to look for work
So many medical facilities depend on the skills of cardiac sonographers to diagnose and treat their patients. You can find employment in hospitals, emergency rooms, outpatient clinics, diagnostic imaging centers, healthcare clinics, doctor’s offices, research facilities, or even on the go with traveling contracts and mobile units.
If you are interested in pursuing a future in cardiac sonography to help save lives as a vital member of the patient care team, you should check out the Cardiac Sonography program at Caris College. With an accelerated 24-month program that includes a 1,320-hour externship in an actual medical facility, Caris is training the next generation of heart health heroes. Contact us today for more information or schedule a campus tour.