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Cardiac Sonographer: Salary, Duties And Requirements

Who is a Cardiac sonographer? He or she is one who creates diagnostic images of the heart commonly referred to as echocardiograms using ultrasound technology, and then delivers them to physicians who access them, and look for diseases, abnormalities, or medical conditions.

Worthy of mention is the fact that they are also referred to as Echo sonographers.

In this article, we will be looking at all there is to know about Cardiac sonographers including their salary, duties, and responsibilities, job and educational requirements, skills required of them, as well as their work environment.

Read on to find out.

Salary Information For A Cardiac Sonographer

Sonographers in the 90th percentile or higher as at May 2020, earned from $105,340 and above annually whereas Sonographers who worked in surgical or general medical hospitals earn mean annual wages of $77,510.

As for cardiovascular technologists and technicians in the 90th percentile or higher, they earn $96,790 or more yearly while the ones who worked in surgical or general medical facilities earn  a mean annual salary of $59,630.

Having said that, it has been stipulated that in the next decade, there will be higher employment opportunities for cardiac sonographers as long as healthcare providers keep using imaging technology in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. 

Additionally, the aging population is prone to heart disease and strokes, and they will need cardiac sonographers to manage their condition, so the need for them keeps increasing.

Duties And Responsibilities Of A Cardiac Sonographer

Going forward, we will be looking at the duties and responsibilities of a Cardiac sonographer, and they include:

1. Preparing patients for procedures by explaining test instructions and procedures, measuring blood pressure, and drawing blood for lab tests

2. Taking images of patients’ hearts using ultrasound equipment to evaluate blood flow through valves, chambers, and vessels

3. Recording medical information about patients like age, medical history, medications, height, weight, past surgeries, and family history of cardiac issues.

4. Operating diagnostic imaging equipment to capture images of the heart or other organs for diagnostic purposes

5. Preparing equipment for use in procedures by sterilizing equipment or setting up transducers

6. Preparing patients for diagnostic tests by administering iodine solutions or other agents to enhance image quality

7. Performing ultrasound scans on patients to diagnose cardiovascular conditions and injuries to the heart and major blood vessels

8. Reviewing images with physicians to identify possible concerns or complications that may require further investigation

9. Actively participate in continuing education opportunities to keep abreast of new developments in the field of cardiac sonography

10. Serve as a resource to patients, families, physicians, and other members of the healthcare team by providing them with information about cardiac ultrasound procedures

11. Assist in the development and implementation of new departmental policies and procedures related to cardiac ultrasound

12. Perform quality control checks on all images and documents prior to sending them to the physician for interpretation

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13. Keep accurate and up-to-date patient records

14. Schedule appointments and manage patient flow in the department

15. Handle billing and insurance paperwork as needed

16. Participate in research studies as needed

17. Performing other duties as requested by the supervisor

18. Perform diagnostic cardiac ultrasound examinations according to established protocols

19. Maintain a high standard of medical ethics at all times and be self-motivated to increase your level of understanding and knowledge of the field as you evolve professionally

20. Help maintain a clean and organized work environment, including the upkeep of all equipment and supplies

21. Adhere to infection control and safety guidelines at all times

Job Requirements Of Cardiac Sonographer 

Below are the job requirements of a cardiac sonographer:

1. Education

Before you can become a Cardiac sonographer, you need at least an associate’s degree in echocardiography, cardiovascular technology, or diagnostic medical sonography. 

You can also get a Bachelor’s degree in diagnostic medical sonography, ultrasound technology, or a connected field.

However, note that these programs will take you at least two years to complete and this include courses in physiology, medical ethics, anatomy, patient care and diagnostic imaging.

2. Training & Experience

Some employers will ask you to complete a clinical internship where you will learn how to perform cardiac sonography procedures, the equipment and use the necessary imaging software, and interpret the results under the supervision of a certified cardiac sonographer. 

The minimum time it will take you to learn this is 1-2 years, however, some employers allow for on-the-job training, however, the ones who have experience working with diverse patients will be prioritized.

3. Certifications & Licenses

Certifications are also important as they can place you on an edge over non certified candidates, especially when job hunting. 

Some of the important certifications include:

– Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) certification

– ARRT certification in cardiac sonography

– Proficiency in Spanish or another language

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Important Skills Necessary For A Cardiac Sonographer 

For you to be successful as a Cardiac sonographer, you need the following skills:

1. Communication Skills

Communication skills with patients and other medical professionals are essential for cardiac sonographers. 

Additionally, they must be able to communicate to patients and their family the scan results. 

Excellent communication skills are needed for this, including speaking, listening, and writing abilities.

2. Technical Knowledge

Another important skill a Cardiac sonographers needs to have is a strong understanding of the equipment used during procedures. 

Having said that, they must have a working knowledge of echocardiography machines and other diagnostic equipment and also know how to read the results they receive. 

3. Empathy

The capacity for empathy is the capacity to comprehend and experience another’ emotions. 

Empathy is a valuable trait to have when working with patients as a cardiac sonographer. 

You can establish a connection with patients and help them feel at ease during the procedure by using empathy.

4. Attention To Detail

To ensure they are reading the images correctly, cardiac sonographers must pay close attention to every detail. 

Any anomalies they spot in the images must be able to be recognized and reported to the doctor. 

This guarantees that the patient receives the right care.

5. Stamina

Cardiac sonographers need stamina because their shifts are extremely long ones – sometimes for eight or more hours at a time. 

Again, they need this to be able to lift and move patients and equipment from one place to the other.

6. They must be able to maintain patient confidentiality

How To Become A Cardiac Sonographer

You would need to complete either a 4-year bachelor’s degree or a 2-year associate degree from a recognized institution in order to work as a cardiac sonographer.

You would gain the most from an internship at a clinic that conducts at least 100 tests per month and exposes you to a range of ultrasound diagnostic modalities.

The American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) recommends contact with cardiac patients before and after surgery.

Although licensure is not required, you may choose to take a credentialing examination through the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) (CCI).

Furthermore, the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography is where you can sign up to become a sonographer, and you can register via the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). 

However, you must pass the Sonography and Principles and Instrumentation Examination before you can be awarded a specialty credential for adult, fetal or pediatric cardiac sonography.

Where Can A Cardiac Sonographer Work?

A Cardiac sonographer can work in various places ranging from hospitals to clinics, and private offices. 

Additionally, they can work in diagnostic centers that offer different imaging services. 

That being said, their work schedule varies. Some work full time, and some work evenings or just weekends depending. 

Jobs Related To Cardiac Sonography 

Below are jobs related to Cardiac Sonography:

1. Radiologic Technologist

2. Surgical Technologist

3. Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

4. Ultrasound Technician

5. Cardiovascular Technologist

6. Medical Sonographer

Conclusion

I bet this article has given you an insight on all there is to know about a Cardiac Sonographer; their salary, duties, job requirements, work environment, and the rest.

Do you want to be a Cardiac sonographer? If yes, you know how to go about it now.

Goodluck!

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