How to Choose a School with Echocardiogram Technician Programs
Certificate and degree programs exist through traditional and online learning options which train students for careers as echocardiogram technicians. Graduates may qualify for entry-level positions in medical clinics, hospitals and diagnostic laboratories. Optional professional certification generally enhances employment opportunities.
Selecting a School with Echocardiogram Technician Programs
Echocardiography programs are available at community colleges, technical schools, teaching hospitals and universities.
Summary of Important Considerations
- Degree level
- Hospital affiliations
- Program focus and prerequisites
Many options exist for students interested in entering the medical profession as echocardiogram technicians. An associate program may prepare a graduate for entry-level employment, though bachelor's degrees and professional certification may increase job opportunities. Certificate programs offer specialized training in echocardiogram monitoring for new or experienced professionals and may be taken to fulfill continuing education requirements to maintain certification.
Several schools with echocardiogram technician programs affiliate themselves with regional hospitals and clinics, offering students excellent learning and networking opportunities. Some nationally acclaimed medical centers offer programs which provide access to cutting-edge technology in a diverse environment. Prior to enrolling in a degree or certificate program, students are encouraged to weigh the reputation of the training, educators and facility.
Program Focus and Prerequisites
Certificate programs often focus on the specialization of an echocardiogram technician. Degree programs may provide a broader education, covering subjects in diagnostic sonography and radiologic sciences. Associate and bachelor's programs also typically require general education courses, many covering sciences such as chemistry and biology. Applicants should verify prerequisites prior to enrollment to any program, which may include registration, college-level courses or previous observational experience.
Echocardiogram Program Overviews
Echocardiography Certificate Program
Schools that offer echocardiography degree programs may include the core courses in a shorter program which confers a certificate of completion. In some cases, college credit may be applied from the certificate program toward a degree. Programs typically provide practical experience through lab work and clinical practice using 4-D technology, noninvasive diagnostic techniques and echocardiographic analysis. Some programs have no prerequisites, though others may require applicants to have previous experience, a degree or professional credentials. Certificate courses might include:
- Ultrasound physics
- Cardiac anatomy and physiology
- Congenital heart disease
Associate Degree Programs in Echocardiography
Typically a 2-year program, courses are often designed to prepare a graduate for professional certification. Some schools offer an Associate of Applied Science degree, which is often considered a terminal degree, while others develop a curriculum that allows a graduate to transfer to a bachelor's degree program for advanced studies. Core courses introduce students to performance and monitoring of echocardiogram procedures, and students typically must complete one or more clinical rotations on-campus or at an affiliated medical center. Examples of courses at the associate degree level include:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Echocardiography techniques
Bachelor of Science in Echocardiography
A bachelor's program often exposes students to basic echocardiography methods, but may also include specialized training in neonatal, pediatric and stress echocardiogram procedures. Some programs may include emerging technologies, such as speckle tracking and tissue Doppler imaging within the curriculum. These programs often require extensive clinical practicums and a research project. Coursework in a comprehensive program may cover:
- Stress echocardiography
- Patient care techniques
- Ultrasound physics
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