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Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography Certificate: Programs Overview

Learn about the curriculum and possible prerequisite requirements of a diagnostic cardiac sonography certificate program. Find out about employment and certification options for graduates.

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Essential Information

A diagnostic cardiac sonography certificate program can prepare individuals to test, examine and diagnose patients with heart ailments or conditions. Programs offer training alongside experienced professionals in using sonography equipment and can give instruction about the anatomy and function of the heart. A certificate program may enable individuals to qualify for certification and employment upon graduation.

Program lengths vary from about a year to almost two years. Most programs are held in a school's medical center or in conjunction with a hospital to allow students access to a clinical setting for practical coursework. Some programs require prior work experience in the medical field or completion of related college courses.

Education Prerequisites

Entry into a cardiac sonography program may require previous college-level coursework in anatomy, English, physiology, medical terminology, physics and algebra. In addition, schools may require students to complete a health screening, pass a criminal background check, provide letters of recommendation and provide proof of work experience in a medical setting.

Course Topics

The curriculum of a certificate program focuses on providing extensive work with professionals in the field of cardiac sonography to allow students to gain experience in performing diagnostic procedures and learn how to function in the role of sonographer. Students also study the anatomy of the heart and the equipment used in cardiac sonography. Some topics covered in the coursework of a program include:

  • Stress testing
  • Echocardiography
  • Cardiac physiology
  • Patient assessments
  • Heart disease
  • Abnormal heart functions

Career Options

A diagnostic cardiac sonography certificate program is designed to prepare graduates for work with sonography equipment in the field of cardiac health care. Graduates of a program may become diagnostic medical sonographers to provide non-invasive cardiac testing. Sonographers may work in different medical environments, including:

  • Hospitals
  • Medical clinics
  • Independent cardiac testing centers

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for diagnostic medical sonographers is projected to increase by 46% from 2012 to 2022 (www.bls.gov). In 2012, the BLS estimated the yearly median salary of these imaging professionals was $65,860.

Certification Information

Sonographers are not required to be licensed, but they may choose to become certified. Certification is available through professional organizations, such as the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers.

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