Echocardiography – Training Programs and Careers

Physicians have to be able to examine a patient’s heart prior to any invasive procedure or further medical testing. Echocardiography technology allows technicians to create images of a patient’s heart. The proper knowledge to work with patients in this way can be attained inside a vocational college.

Technicians take electrocardiograms to monitor the electrical impulses of a patient’s heart. This is commonly referred to as ECG’s or EKG’s. Professionals perform various tests on patients and give the results to their physicians. Education covers three main test areas along with the needed medical knowledge to help students prepare for their future career. Upon completion of a program students are able to perform EKG’s, Holter monitor tests, and stress tests. Three main paths are taken to become an EKG technician. These options include:

  • On-the-job Training
  • Certificate Program
  • Associate’s Degree Program

The most shared educational path to become a technician is on-the-job training. This stems from the practice of training already working medical professionals to take on the responsibilities of the job. For example, nursing aides are often trained by the typical four to six weeks program. Certificate programs are also reserved for students that have some job experience or former educational training. Certificate programs last a year and bypass basic medical knowledge and specifically teach students about the field of echocardiography. Completing an associate’s degree is the best option for students that are new to the field. The first year of a regular two-year program covers chief educational courses and the second year is dedicated to the field. Students learn to function the industry’s technology and perform the routine tests. Main information is covered by subjects that include:

  • Cardiovascular Anatomy
  • Echocardiography for children and adults
  • Medical Imaging

Education focuses on each non-invasive test by teaching students the specific protocol followed inside a specialized ecosystem. Courses familiarize students with the different anomalies that affect the heart. This helps them flag any tests that need to be looked at by the doctor for further testing. Trained individuals have many career opportunities obtainable to them.

Once completed with the necessary education to go into the field students can become technicians in a variety of settings. The main career setting is in a hospital working with a physician on patient care. Other possible options include rehabilitation clinics for cardiac patients and medical offices. Experienced technicians can work in emergency situations by monitoring the hearts of incoming patients. The field is expected to grow more than twenty percent over the next eight years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the aging population and the ability to use echocardiography on young people to detect heart problems earlier on in life is the reason for the growth.

Students have the ability to choose an accredited program and go into a career in echocardiography ready to help doctors treat heart patients. complete accreditation is provided to quality schools and colleges by agencies like the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (http://www.jrcert.org/). Researching the program that fits experience and education level will help students choose the right training option.

DISCLAIMER: Above is a GENERIC OUTLINE and may or may not depict precise methods, courses and/or focuses related to ANY ONE specific school(s) that may or may not be advertised at PETAP.org.

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