Cardiovascular Technologist Programs in Illinois

Echo Techs are trained medical professionals who perform noninvasive ultrasound echocardiography (ECG) tests to produce single- two- and three-dimensional images of the heart, including the chambers, valves and major blood vessels. A skilled echo tech views the images on the monitor and works with the patient and makes the adjustments necessary to provide the physician with the most comprehensive report possible for diagnosis and treatment.

These technologists are trained usually at the associate degree or advanced certificate level and have passed a professional examination to become registered. Echo tech can also refer to technicians who have a certificate and are trained at less than the associate degree level. They work with electrocardiograph (EKG) machines or do ECGs at less complex levels than the technologists. If you are looking to enter the field of cardiac diagnostics, contact the echo technician schools in Illinois listed below to learn more.

The job of the cardiac ultrasound tech involves working with patients, doctors and other health care professionals, machines and images. Communication and people skills, mechanical aptitude, critical thinking and accuracy with details are important qualifications for success in this occupation. If you feel that you can qualify, contact the different kinds of echo tech training programs in Illinois colleges to see which would suit you best.

Echocardiograph Training in Illinois

In Illinois, echocardiograph programs are called by several names: Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography, Vascular Ultrasound Technology or Non-invasive Cardiovascular Sonography. The programs offered are: four month certificate, two year Associate, four year Bachelor’s and one-and-a-half year Advanced Certificate.

The four month certificate program trains you to become a certified cardiographic technician qualified for a cardiac technology entry level position in a medical center or a hospital cardiac department. Courses will provide basic theory and training in EKG, Holter monitoring and stress testing. An externship at affiliated hospitals will provide the practical knowledge and experience.

After completing this program at an accredited school, you can apply for the national certification exam for Certified Cardiographic Technicial offered by the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI).

The two year, 69 credit associate program provides thorough training in Echo science plus courses in Patient Care Skills and Medical Law and Ethics. Students undergo a whole year of clinical practicum and graduate, qualifying to take the registry examinations given by CCI or the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS).

The bachelor’s degree program provides the last two years of training for a B.S. in Vascular Ultrasound Technology. The first two years of prerequisites can be completed at most any of the colleges located in Illinois. Academic coursework in the major is completed in the third year; during the fourth year, students work with registered vascular technologists in clinical sites around Chicago to acquire the practical skills of this profession. Graduates qualify for the CCI or ARDMS registry examinations.

Several colleges now offer the Advanced Certificate or Diploma program for Echocardiography or Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography. This highly selective program admits only those with associate or bachelor’s degree in an allied health field who have prior experience with ultrasound or radiography and extensive patient contact. The intent is to educate experienced sonographers with the sciences and technology to utilize state-of-the-art equipment for cardiac study. The 46-48 credit program takes about a year-and-a-half to complete.

The minimum requirement for entrance to most of the echo tech programs in Illinois is a high school diploma or GED. ACT or SAT scores may also be required with the alternative of taking the placement tests administered by the college. The Echocardiography programs require prerequisite skills and therefore are selective beyond admission into the college. Once accepted into the college, the prerequisite courses of English Composition, Human Anatomy and Physiology and Applied Physics must be passed with at least a “C” grade and a cumulative G.P.A. of 2.5 or higher before gaining entry into the program.

As stated above, the Advanced Certificate programs are provided for experienced cardiac technology professionals who already have a college degree. They are carefully selected and trained to develop high level expertise in this field.

Job Opportunities and Salary for Cardiac Sonographers in Illinois

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted in 2012 that there would be a 39 percent growth by 2022 in the occupations of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers, Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians. This higher than average increase reflects the expansion of the healthcare industry occurring today due to a changing population of older and sicker citizens, as well as the new health care law which makes medical services affordable for millions of people.

Echocardiography graduates in Illinois can find job opportunities in hospitals, medical clinics, physicians’ offices, mobile outreach companies, cardiac equipment companies, or research groups.

BLS reported that the 2013 annual average salaries for Cardiovascular technologists and technicians in Illinois was $52,650. If you are ready to look into entering this rewarding and vital medical career, first contact the schools in Illinois that offer cardiovascular technician programs. Once you have program information to compare, you should be able to choose the route that will be best for you.