A cardiac sonographer (echocardiographer) is the allied health professional who, after an extensive and comprehensive educational process, is qualified to perform an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart). The primary role of the cardiac sonographer is to obtain diagnostic recordings and measurements from the ultrasound image of the heart, including hemodynamic information. This individual assumes great responsibility for the performance of this exam. The techniques for obtaining the required images and recordings require great skill. A thorough understanding of cardiac anatomy, physiology, hemodynamics, and pathophysiology is required.
The cardiac sonography program is an online program accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) in the United States. It is a program leading to an Associate in Applied Science degree. The curriculum consists of integrated didactic and clinical coursework with a minimum of 1,136 supervised clinical hours with an approved clinical education affiliate. This program is designed to prepare the student for employment as a cardiac sonographer with positions located in hospitals, medical clinics, and other diagnostic imaging facilities. Upon successful completion, students are eligible to apply to the ARDMS (American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers) for board examinations that will award them the RDCS (Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer) credential.
There are special admission requirements to the sonography programs, and it is the student’s responsibility to understand the requirements and adhere to them. Entry into a program is competitive and based on a “point system.” Point values are based on grades earned in prerequisite coursework and the interview process.
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