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Cardiac Sonographer Training
By allied health world contributing writer
Published: February, 12 2010
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What kind of a degree or education is required for a job in this field?
The most common level of education completed by cardiac sonographers is an associate’s degree. There are also four-year bachelor’s degree programs in this field, which may increase one’s marketability. Typically the first year of a cardiac sonography associate’s degree program involves didactic studies, focusing on core courses, and the second year offers more specialized instruction, including clinical rotations. The specialized instruction is typically offered in cardiac sonography, vascular sonography, or invasive cardiovascular technology depending on one’s area of interest. Some sonography programs require applicants to have graduated from a radiologic technologist program before they’re accepted.
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What kind of registration is required to work as a cardiac sonographer?
Registry level credentials are offered for cardiac sonographers through two separate organizations: the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) and Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI). The credential offered through ARDMS is the Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS). The Registered Cardiac Sonographer (RCS) credential is offered through CCI. In order to obtain credentials through either organization, one must have graduated from an accredited degree program and sit for the registry exam. These exams are computer-based, and multiple choice that are offered at Pearson Vu testing centers throughout the country. The test questions include live images that one must be able to interpret.
Is state licensure a requirement for this field?
In addition to the national registry, some states require cardiac sonographers to obtain a license. In other states, although a license and registry are not required, employers prefer to hire those who have a registry credential. Certain states have adopted rules for Medicare coverage that require sonographers and other medical professionals be credentialed in order to pay the maximum rate for a procedure. For them this is assurance that the sonographer has the necessary fundamental knowledge to accurately perform their job duties.
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What are the continuing education requirements for this field?
The continuing education credits for those with a RDCS credential are 30 per every three-year renewal period. Those with the RCS credential are required to earn 36 credits in three years.
Cardiac Sonographer Schools
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- Limited Medical Radiologic Technologist