Cardiovascular Technologist Programs in Massachusetts
Echocardiography is a noninvasive ultrasound procedure used to examine the structure and functioning of the heart. The Echo Tech produces and records the images and videos needed by the cardiologist to diagnose and treat heart patients. To become an echo tech requires careful training in the sciences, technology and clinical procedures that must be mastered in order to do the job properly. Contact the Massachusetts Echocardiography programs listed below to get started.
For success in this profession, you will need a solid foundation in math and the sciences, especially physics. Good written and oral communication is essential since an important part of the job will be to communicate your diagnostic findings to the cardiologist.
In performing the echo test, you will need mechanical aptitude and dexterity to handle the equipment you will be using. You will have to instruct and position the patient so as to get the proper images, and sometimes this will require lifting the patient. Good patient care skills are necessary to get the best results from the examination.
There are different programs for echocardiography in Massachusetts. These are summarized below.
Echo Tech/Cardiac Ultrasound Education in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, Echo Tech studies can be found in two-year associate degree programs in several community colleges. There is also an accelerated three-year Bachelor of Science program in a private university. These are full time day programs which must be completed in a sequential manner.
If you want to specialize in the diagnostic imaging of the heart, you need to separate out the different imaging programs available. The Cardiac or Cardiovascular Sonography programs will provide specialized training in ultrasound of the heart. The Diagnostic Medical Sonography programs will cover ultrasound procedures for different organs or structures of the body, with the heart as one of the organs studied. If you are interested in ultrasound and want to keep your options open on specialization, the Diagnostic Medical Sonography programs would be appropriate. If you know you want to specialize on the heart, the Cardiac Sonography program may be the one to choose.
You may want to learn all about ultrasound first and hold off on specializing in cardiovascular technology. A community college has a one-year program in cardiovascular sonography as a specialization after the Associate degree in Medical Sonography. There is also a 12 hour review course for Registered Vascular Technologists, which can be taken by practicing professionals who want to update themselves.
Training in the use of ultrasound technology requires many hours of lab work and placement in work settings under the supervision of registered medical or cardiac sonographers. Necessarily, entry into the program is limited and selective. Beyond acceptance into the college which is possible with a high school diploma or GED, you will need to show grades of at least C, or B in English Composition, and math and science courses. In addition, letters of recommendation and a personal essay may be required. The bachelor’s degree program likely requires ACT or SAT scores.
Generally, you would apply for entry into the program after one or two semesters in the college when you will be completing the prerequisite courses. The prerequisite courses will include some of the following: English, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, College Algebra, Anatomy & Physiology and Medical Terminology. You should be fully aware of the application processes and deadline. A thorough study of the program with all its requirements and careful preparation will stand you in good stead. Contacting the schools on our site is your first best step to choosing which program is best for you.
The aim of all these programs is to provide students with the knowledge and technical skills that prepare them for entry level work in hospitals and other medical settings. The Associate or Bachelor’s degree graduate can pursue registry status by taking the credentialing examination offered by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) or the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI). Although registry is not required in Massachusetts, most employers would look for this qualification.
The courses you will be taking may include the following:
- Introduction to Ultrasound Scanning
- Sonographic Physics and Instrumentation
- Patient Care and Assessment
- Vascular Anatomy, Physiology and Pathophysiology
- Cardiovascular pharmacology
- Medical Law & Ethics
- Clinical Skills
The program can also include three or four semesters of a clinical practicum.
Salary and Job Outlook for Cardiac Ultrasound Technicians in Massachusetts
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians in the nation earned an average salary of $53,990 in 2013. The average salary in Massachusetts for this occupation was higher at $67,830, with the Boston-Cambridge-Quincy area topping the list of metro area averages at $70,950.
One of the highest job growths among all occupations is predicted by BLS for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, at 39 percent between 2012 and 2022. Advances in technology and especially in ultrasound will increase the demand for technologists with up-to-date training in this highly specialized field.
The fact that the health services sector is a major employer in Massachusetts is also a positive sign. You may find opportunities in hospitals, clinics, physicians’ offices, mobile units, HMOs and community health agencies. Submit your request for information to the cardiac sonography programs in Massachusetts that are listed on our website to get the information you need to make a good decision about where to go from here.