How to become an Echocardiography Technologist

Echocardiographical test results on Echocardiography Technologist student's desk

Becoming an Echocardiograpy Technologist consists of a high school degree or equivalent, an ambition for a career in health care, and the readiness to train and learn new skills.

What does an echocardiography technologist do

Echocardiography Technologists use ultrasound sonography to accurately evaluate the pumping ability of a person’s heart.

The echocardiography technologist accomplishes this by creating an echocardiogram. The echocardiogram (popularly known as ‘echo’ for short), provides important visual information about the physical integrity of the heart’s structure and its functioning. The echocardiography technologist applies the sonography device on the left chest region of the patient and the sonography machine passes ultrasound through that area of the body. The resulting echo is captured by the machine and displayed on a computer monitor as image or video. The same is stored for use by the physician who can make decisions regarding the health of the patient’s heart based on this information.

The echocardiogram provides information about the measurements, size and shape of the heart. It is able to provide visual data about the efficiency of the functioning of the heart’s valves. The echocardiogram depicts how well both sides of the heart are communicating, and the speed at which the blood is pumping out of the heart. All this data can help in diagnosing conditions such as coronary and artery disorders, heart valve disorders, heart enlargement disorders, thickening of the heart’s walls etc.

How to become an Echocardiography Technologist?

Echocardiography technologist is learnt through structured training programs. These may be either (1) On the job, or (2) In a vocational school, community college, or training center. With growing demand and increasing legalities in healthcare, on the job training is not widely preferred. Employers prefer candidates who have been pre-trained in echocardiography at a professional training center, and can contribute to the revenue immediately after joining.

How to become an Echocardiography Technologist?

Echocardiography technologist is learnt through structured training programs. These may be either (1) On the job, or (2) In a vocational school, community college, or training center. With growing demand and increasing legalities in healthcare, on the job training is not widely preferred. Employers prefer candidates who have been pre-trained in echocardiography at a professional training center, and can contribute to the revenue immediately after joining.

Eligibility

A high school diploma or equivalent is the eligibility required to receive training and enter the echocardiography technologist profession. This lower entry barrier makes the profession accessible to the American adult population at large.

The Education Required:

The echocardiography technologist undergoes a variety of subjects and courses as a part of the education and professional training process. The subjects cover not only medical terminology and anatomical understanding, but also the administrative and people handling aspects of working in a health care institution.

The courses usually cover directly relevant areas to echocardiography such as:
  • Ultrasound instrumentation: Understanding the purpose and use of ultrasound equipment used in echocardiography
  • Echocardiography: Performing the echocardiography procedure using the ultrasound equipment
  • Physiology: Understanding the parts and organs of the body
  • Anatomy: Learning the structure of the human body
Apart from the above directly relevant medical knowledge, other important knowledge that is imparted includes:
  • Pharmacology: Understanding the use of drugs and medicines as well as their effects
  • Pathology: Learning about sampling body tissue for medical diagnosis Knowledge about relevant laws and legalities
  • Doing lab practice to learn the usage of equipment and procedures
  • Practical exposure to understand the challenges of real-work environment and applying the classroom knowledge on real patients
  • Primary communication skills and patient management skills
  • Handling basic administrative duties and records
  • Methods for storage and reproduction of echo photos and videos etc.

Specializations:

The echocardiography technologist can undertake further specialization. For eg. pediatric echocardiography, which specializes in echocardiography for children.

Employers:

Echocardiography technologists can work in various healthcare surroundings such as large and small hospitals, at cardiology clinics, at imaging centers, or specialty healthcare centers.

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