People who want to work as an echocardiographer must complete two to four years of college and may need licensing or certification. Employee requirements may vary depending on the region and facility that hires these specialists. When echocardiographers perform more complex procedures, such as transesophageal echocardiography (TEE), or work with specific populations, such as pregnant women and children with heart defects, the educational requirements generally rise. Echocardiographers must also have a high level of patient comfort and skill.
Many of the two-year programs to become an echocardiographer are available at medical technology schools or junior colleges. There are also more four-year programs becoming available, which are better suited to echocardiographers who want to work in more complex areas of the field. Students can expect to learn how to operate sonography equipment, assess heart structures, and learn a variety of medical procedures and technology in any school. Students should check that programs specialize in echocardiography, are offered accredited schools, and are in good standing with any licensing or registry agencies when choosing the best training facilities.
Adult cardiac sonography is likely to be emphasized heavily during the first two years of study to become an echocardiographer. People who want to work with a variety of people or perform more advanced procedures may benefit from a four-year program that allows them to specialize. TEE and fetal or pediatric echocardiography are two areas of specialization. There are also a few people who work in these fields with only a two-year degree and on-the-job training.
The location of a person’s residence determines the steps required to obtain employment beyond education. A person who wants to work as an echocardiographer may need to obtain a license to practice. Others are encouraged to join registries that certify their level of skill. As they progress through and complete an education program, echocardiographers can determine which of these steps are required.
When a person becomes an echocardiographer, they can work in a variety of settings. These employees are employed large cardiology offices and hospitals. TEE, fetal echos, and pediatric echos may be required pediatric cardiologists. Because they work for doctors who are trained echocardiographers, some echocardiographers learn more from their jobs. This means that, in addition to being cardiac specialists, they have completed significant studies in echocardiology.
Another prerequisite for working in this field is a natural ability to interact with patients. An echo can take up to half an hour to complete, and the patient is awake, talking, and possibly nervous, unless TEE is used. It’s critical to develop excellent people skills in order to put patients at ease.