Cardiac Sonographer Job Description, Skills, and Salary
Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a cardiac sonographer. You can use our job description template in this article to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a cardiac sonographer.
Who is a Cardiac Sonographer?
A cardiac sonographer, also often called an echocardiographer or cardiac ultrasound technologist is a medical professional whose specialty is taking ultrasound images of human hearts and cardiovascular systems. He normally works alone in performing the procedure and recording the results. His job is commonly carried out in a medical setting such as a clinic, hospital, or doctor’s office.
Ultrasound imaging is often referred to as a sonogram. It is achieved by bouncing high-frequency sound waves off an organ or tissue to be evaluated. The procedure enables a cardiac sonographer to record images that typically reveal the beats and movements of the heart and the size and configuration of its chambers. He can usually evaluate how evenly and quickly the patient’s blood flows to the heart valves. Any cardiac muscular irregularities or deterioration are generally revealed in a sonogram of the heart.
Before a cardiac sonographer performs his job, he normally confers with the doctor to confirm what cardiovascular areas should be concentrated on when he sets up the sonogram. Once he determines this, he customarily readies his equipment and sets the switches and dials. The sonographer then usually meets with the patient to explain the procedure and answer any related questions.
To get a clear image of the heart and cardiovascular system, the sonographer normally places probes at several locations on the patient’s upper body. This provides several diverse views and angles of the region to be imaged. The procedure is considered non-invasive, and the patient normally does not need to fast or ingest any substances beforehand. A cardiac sonogram generally takes less than an hour to complete.
After the sonogram, the cardiac sonographer typically records the results and passes them on to the cardiologist for evaluation. He is not ordinarily authorized to interpret the report for the patient or doctor. If the results are inconclusive, the sonographer may be required to repeat the test.
Success in this position normally requires good communication skills to interact with doctors and patients. Attention to detail is generally preferred to properly record patient test results. The ability to put patients at ease before and during the procedure is usually considered an asset.
A cardiac sonographer position typically requires a minimum two-year associate’s degree in echocardiography. Some employers may require applicants to have a four-year bachelor’s degree to work as a cardiac sonographer. This additional education is normally perceived to be necessary to keep up with the rapidly advancing ultrasound technology. Some regions require licenses or certifications of applicants for this position as well.
Cardiac Sonographer Job Description
Below are the cardiac sonographer job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.
The duties and responsibilities of a cardiac sonographer include the following:
- Preparing patients for procedures by explaining instructions and procedures for testing, measuring blood pressure, and drawing blood for laboratory testing.
- Taking images of patients’ hearts using ultrasound equipment to assess blood flow in valves, chambers, and vessels.
- Recording patient medical information such as age, height, weight, medical history, medications, previous surgeries, and family history of heart disease.
- Working with diagnostic equipment to take images of the heart or other organs for diagnostic purposes.
- Preparing equipment for use in procedures by sterilizing equipment or installing sensors.
- Preparing patients for diagnostic tests by administering iodine solutions or other imaging aids.
- Performing ultrasounds on patients to diagnose cardiovascular disease and damage to the heart and major blood vessels.
- Reviewing images with physicians to detect possible problems or complications that may require further investigation.
- Performing other duties as requested by the supervisor.
- Performing echo-doppler studies.
- Calling the department and describing the problem in the system.
- Performing accurate echocardiograms on all patients including infants, adolescents, and adults.
- Scheduling patients for cardiac ultrasound procedures.
- Performing and reviewing diagnostic cardiac ultrasound examinations for adults and adolescents.
- Performing clinical and approved transthoracic echocardiography studies on adults, adolescents, and critically ill patients in the cardiology department or cardiac surgery department.
- Obtaining appropriate diagnostic laboratory results for physicians and optimizing tests.
- Keeping vans clean and being courteous to other drivers.
- Attending national and local conventions and symposiums.
A cardiac sonographer must have the following qualifications:
Cardiac sonographers must have at least an associate’s degree to work in this field. They may have a degree in cardiovascular technology, echocardiography, or diagnostic medical sonography. These programs typically last two years and include courses in anatomy, physiology, medical ethics, patient care, and diagnostic imaging.
Training and Experience
Most employers require candidates to complete a clinical internship to be certified. During the clinical placement, the candidate will work under the supervision of a certified cardio-sonographer. He or she will learn to perform cardiac ultrasound procedures and interpret the results. They will also learn to operate the equipment and use the necessary imaging software.
The cardiac sonographer may also take on-the-job training to learn more about the hospital or clinic where they work. They can learn more about the specific imaging equipment and software they use.
Certification and Licenses
Many employers require cardiac sonographers to be certified. Being certified can also give you an advantage over non-certified candidates looking for a job.
Cardiac sonographers use echocardiography to examine the heart and surrounding structures. They may also use it to assess blood flow, valve function, and other aspects of heart health. Cardiac sonographers must be able to interpret images accurately to provide accurate information to their patients and physicians.
Cardiac sonographers must be patient when working with patients. It may be necessary to wait for the heart rate to change before taking the picture, or to wait for the patient to calm down to take an accurate reading. The cardiac sonographer must also be patient when explaining procedures and answering patients’ questions. This allows them to provide patients with complete information and ensure their comfort throughout the procedure.
- Continuous Wave Doppler
Cardiac sonographers use continuous wave Doppler to analyze blood flow in the heart. This technology allows them to detect any abnormalities in the heart, such as blockages or tumors. Cardiovascular sonographers can report these problems to a cardiologist for treatment.
- Doppler Ultrasound
Cardiac sonographers use Doppler ultrasound to study the heart and surrounding blood vessels. This technology allows them to see how well your heart is working and if there are any blockages in the arteries or other problems that may need treatment. Cardiac sonographers also use Doppler ultrasound to assess the flow of blood through the veins and arteries of the body.
- Attention to detail
Cardiac sonographers must be detail-oriented in the performance of their duties. They often have to read and interpret very small images, so they must notify any changes in the image. For example, if a patient has an irregular heartbeat, the sonographer must find the exact location of the problem and determine the necessary treatment.
- Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is the ability to analyze a situation and make decisions that lead to a positive outcome. Cardiac sonographers use critical thinking when interpreting images, making treatment recommendations, and performing procedures. For example, if an image shows irregularities in the heart’s electrical system, the cardiac sonographer may recommend repositioning the patient or adjusting the equipment to obtain a clearer image.
- Anatomy and physiology
Cardiac sonographers must have a good understanding of anatomy and physiology to do their job effectively. Anatomy and physiology are the foundation for understanding how the body works, including the cardiovascular system. Cardiac sonographers use this knowledge when performing procedures on the heart and other organs of patients. They also use it to interpret images taken during procedures.
M-mode is a type of ultrasound that can be used to measure the size and speed of blood flow in the heart. Cardiac sonographers use this skill when performing an echocardiogram, a procedure that uses sound waves to study the structure and function of the heart. M-mode allows cardiac sonographers to assess the health of their patients’ hearts by measuring the volume of blood flowing through them.
- Interpersonal Skills
Cardiac Sonographers must be able to work with patients and other healthcare professionals in a friendly and professional manner. They must also be able to communicate clearly with colleagues through written or verbal means. The cardiac sonographer may have to interact with patients who are nervous about the procedure or who ask questions about what is happening.
- Two-dimensional Imaging
Cardiac sonographers use two-dimensional imaging to create images of the heart and surrounding areas. This skill requires knowing how to operate the machine that creates these images and how to interpret them. Cardiac sonographers can also use 2-D images to track changes in the body over time, which is useful for diagnosing conditions such as aneurysms or tumors.
- Color Doppler
Cardiac sonographers use color flow Doppler to visualize blood flow through the heart. This technology uses sound waves to create an image of the heart that can help cardiac sonographers identify any abnormalities in that organ. Color Doppler imaging is also used to detect blockages in arteries and veins that could lead to stroke or other cardiovascular diseases.
- Stress Tests
Cardiac sonographers use stress testing to assess the heart’s response to exercise. They may perform this test on patients with a history of cardiovascular disease or other conditions that may cause heart rhythm abnormalities. Stress tests help determine if a person is at risk for cardiac arrest and allow sonographers to identify any hidden health problems in the patient.
How to Become a Cardiac Sonographer
- Obtain an associate degree in diagnostic medical sonography
The first step in becoming a cardiac sonographer is to obtain an associate degree in diagnostic medical sonography. These programs typically last two years and teach the basics of sonography, including physics, anatomy, patient care, and equipment operation. You can find these programs at community colleges or professional schools. Some even offer online options for those who want to advance their career while working.
- Get a clinical internship
The next step in becoming a cardiac sonographer is to complete an internship at a medical facility. This will allow you to gain hands-on experience and network with professionals in the field.
The American Sonography Education Association (ASEA) recommends that you complete an internship within the first two years of your degree in diagnostic medical sonography. You may be able to complete an internship during your associate degree program, but if not, it should not take you more than one year after graduation to complete this requirement.
- Obtain certification from the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS).
The ARDMS certificate is a certificate confirming your competence as a medical diagnostic sonographer. To obtain this certification, you must pass an examination covering topics such as patient care, safety and ethics, equipment operation and maintenance, scanning techniques, and image interpretation.
ARDMS offers several specific certifications for cardiac sonographers. The first is the Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS) certification, which requires passing an exam covering general cardiovascular principles, patient care, scanning techniques, and image interpretation. You can also become a Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT) by passing an exam on vascular assessment, patient care, scanning techniques, and image interpretation. Finally, you can become a Registered Phlebology Technologist (RPT) by passing an exam on vein assessment, patient care, scanning technique, and image interpretation.
- Obtain a license from your state if necessary.
Some states require cardiac sonographers to be licensed to practice. Contact your state licensing board for specific requirements and qualifications. You may need to take an exam that includes both written and practical components, such as the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) national certification exam.
- Gain experience working with cardiac patients.
Cardiac sonographers must have experience working with patients with heart disease. You can gain this experience by volunteering or moonlighting at hospitals that specialize in treating cardiovascular disease. This will help you build a network of contacts and make it easier to find a job as a cardiac sonographer.
You can also consider working as a “shadow” cardiac sonographer – it’s a great way to learn about the field and gain practical skills.
- Keep abreast of technological changes and new developments in the field.
Technology in the field of diagnostic medical sonography is constantly changing, and cardiac sonographers need to keep up with these changes. For example, new 3D imaging techniques are being developed to allow for better visualization of cardiac structures.
Cardiac sonographers also need to stay abreast of new developments in the treatment of cardiovascular disease. There may be new drugs or procedures that can affect the way you do your job.
- Join professional organizations such as the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (SDMS).
The Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (SDMS) is a professional organization that provides continuing education, communication, and support to its members. SDMS guides the profession and promotes high standards of diagnostic medical sonography.
Joining this or a similar organization can help you find employment, as well as keep you informed of new developments in your field.
Where to Work as a Cardiac Sonographer
Cardiac sonographers work in hospitals, clinics, and private practices. They may work in diagnostic centers offering a variety of imaging services. Most sonographers work full time and some work evenings or weekends. They may work on call, which means they must be available at all times. Cardiac sonographers may have to lift and move patients weighing up to 300 pounds. They also have to stand for long periods and may be subject to infectious diseases.
Cardiac Sonographer Salary Scale
The median annual salary for cardiac sonographers in the United States is $91,623, while the median annual salary for those in Canada is $71,497. In the United Kingdom, salaries for cardiac sonographers can range from £40,056 to. £53,218, depending on experience and location.