Carl Sandburg College offers an advanced certificate in Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography. Program curriculum consists of sixteen months of intensive, integrated didactic and clinical coursework designed to prepare graduates to create diagnostic images and data of the heart and vascular structures in hospitals, clinics, and other diagnostic imaging facilities. A cardiac sonographer is a highly skilled health care professional who uses complex ultrasound equipment producing high-frequency sound waves to create diagnostic images and data to diagnose cardiovascular disease. Ultrasound imaging is used extensively in imaging of the heart, abdomen, pelvis, vascular structures, and the developing fetus. The techniques required for obtaining imaging data require a high level of skill and dexterity. Cardiac sonographers must use independent judgment to recognize the need to expand the scope of an exam based on diagnostic findings. Cardiac sonographers also contribute technical and professional knowledge and observation to the interpreting physician for a final diagnostic impression of the exam. A thorough understanding of anatomy, physiology, hemodynamics, pathophysiology, and ultrasound physical principles is required. Students will spend 40 hours per week participating in classroom instruction and laboratory activities on-campus, and clinical instruction in a patient care facility. The DCS program requires a significant amount of classroom preparation and study beyond the 40-hour week; it is not an entry level program.
Most diagnostic imaging technologists work conventional 40-hour work weeks that may include evening and weekend shifts in hospitals, clinics, and imaging centers. On-call availability is required in many employment settings.
Sonographer/echocardiographer earnings vary depending on their employer, the amount of experience they have, whether or not they have specialized and are credentialed, and their geographic location. According to a recent salary survey conducted by the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS), the median annual salary for sonographers is approximately $60,000 a year. According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of diagnostic medical sonographers is expected to grow by 29 percent through 2020—much faster than the average for all occupations.
Carl Sandburg College is accredited through the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools – The Higher Learning Commission, 30 LaSalle Street, Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60602-2504. Graduates of the Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography Program are eligible to take certification examinations offered by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS). ARDMS certification is the globally recognized standard of excellence in Sonography enabling the graduate to pursue employment throughout the United States and most foreign countries.
Admission to limited enrollment programs is competitive and selection is based on candidates’ overall academic performance. All prospective students for the Allied Health programs must submit admission materials and meet admission requirements before their applications will be considered for review. Applicants who are denied admission to a program and wish to apply for a subsequent academic year must repeat the application process in its entirety. The most qualified applicants who are residents of the Carl Sandburg College district or are residents of a community college district participating in a cooperative agreement with Carl Sandburg College will be given preference for admission to the programs.
Varies depending on number of clinical sites available