How To Become A Diagnostic Medical Sonographer and Cardiovascular Technician

The job of the Diagnostic Medical Sonographer and Cardiovascular Technician is a vital part of a physician’s diagnosis. After all, sonography is a great way to tell what’s going on inside of our bodies. 

Whether you choose to specialize in a particular field, such as working with parents awaiting the sex of their baby or providing valuable information about someone’s heart ailment, you will enjoy working with patients and other medical personnel as you strive to assist in their healthcare.

If you are interested in working within the field of healthcare but squeamish about working with bodily fluids and the like, becoming a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer or Cardiovascular Technician may be for you! 

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What does a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer and Cardiovascular Technician do?

Generally, the Diagnostic Medical Sonographer and the Cardiovascular Technician’s job is based on the same type of technology… and that is to use equipment that specializes in taking images of a particular area or part of the body in the hopes of helping to make a medical diagnosis.

Tests can be conducted before a procedure, as well as during and after it is completed. They also prepare the patient for the testing, analyze results, keep patient records, and much more. 

Are Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technicians the same?

While the central concept is the same, they have different responsibilities or may be considered as two different specialties. In addition, within the field of Diagnostic Medical Sonography, there are many specializations to consider. 

The Diagnostic Medical Sonographer is tasked with taking images of organs and tissues in the body. They use high-frequency sound waves to see exactly what is going on in there. They focus on various parts of the body; however, the Cardiovascular Technician is responsible for looking at the heart and lungs. 

Other specializations may include:

  • Obstetric and Gynecologic Sonography
  • Pediatric Sonography
  • Breast Sonography
  • Abdominal Sonography
  • Musculoskeletal Sonography
  • EKG Technicians
  • To name a few!

How do I become a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer or Cardiovascular Technician?

To pursue a career as a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer or Cardiovascular Technician, you will need additional education, either a two-year associate degree or a certificate program focusing on sonography or vascular technology. Often, bachelor’s degree programs are also available.

Your school program should be properly accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

What will I learn in a degree or certificate program?

Through your Diagnostic Medical Sonographer or Cardiovascular Technician’s program, you can expect classes like: 

  • Sonographic Physics
  • Medical Terminology
  • Cardiovascular Phlebotomy
  • Vascular Sonography
  • Sonography Equipment Use
  • Patient Care
  • Reading Test Results
  • Lab and Clinical Practicums
  • And, much more!

Is there a demand for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technicians?

Yes!… Between 2019 and 2029, the BLS has projected a positive growth rate for Diagnostic Medical Sonographer opportunities at 17%, which is faster than the average of all occupations. Cardiovascular Technician jobs are expected to grow by 5% during the same period.

Will I need to be certified to be a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer or Cardiovascular Technician?

In most applications, certification is essential and required. In fact, many insurance companies and Medicare will not provide benefits for services performed by a technician who is not properly certified. 

Certifications can be obtained from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers, the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, or the Cardiovascular Credentialing International

What are the benefits of being certified? You can expect the best job opportunities and salaries when you have one or more certifications! 

What qualities does a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer or Cardiovascular Technician need for success?

Besides technical skills, compassion is needed in this field as many will come to you in pain and facing a difficult diagnosis. Your empathy will go a long way in making them feel comfortable and at ease.

In addition, you must be a good communicator, detail-oriented, physically capable, and have good hand/eye coordination to get the best images. 

What kind of salary can I expect as a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer or Cardiovascular Technician?

The two fields have different salary opportunities depending on the one you choose. They are as follows:

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer – The BLS states the average pay as $75,920 per year in May 2020. The top 10% made upwards of $105,340 annually, considerably more than the Cardiovascular Tech.

Cardiovascular Technician – The BLS states the average pay as $59,100 annually as of May 2020. The top 10% earned upwards of $96,790 per year.

Where do Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technicians work?

Typically, both can be found in hospitals, either for out-patient or in-room patients. Also, they are located in the clinical setting in a physician’s or specialist’s office and in diagnostic laboratories. 

Can I attend a Sonography program online?

As you can imagine, the field of sonography takes some practice. Online coursework is often available through the distance learning format; however, clinical or lab work will require some on-campus attendance.