Echocardiology Technician Careers: Salary Info & Job Description

About this article
What are the pros and cons of an echocardiology technician career? Get real job descriptions, career prospects and salary info to see if becoming an echocardiology technician is right for you.
View available schools

Pros and Cons of an Echocardiology Technician Career

Echocardiology technicians, also known as cardiac sonographers or echocardiographers, use ultrasound technology to create images of patients' hearts for diagnostic purposes. Check out these pros and cons to see if a career as an echocardiology technician is right for you:

Pros of an Echocardiology Technician Career
High-growth field (30% increase from 2012-2022)*
Two years required education*
Employment is available in all types of medical facilities*
Opportunities to work with patients in all stages of life**

Cons of an Echocardiology Technician Career
Potential physical stress*
Possible weekend, evening or on-call hours*
Requires an excellent bedside manner*
May require registration for licensure**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **American Society of Echocardiography

Essential Career Info

Job Duties

There are many kinds of cardiovascular technicians and diagnostic medical sonographers, but as an echocardiology technician, you would use ultrasound technology, or high-frequency sound waves, to create a visual image of a patient's heart. Because of the close and direct contact during a scan, which may take up to an hour, you need to be able to calmly and congenially interact with the patient under your care. You may also have light administrative and cleaning duties, cataloging the images you gather and sterilizing the equipment you use.

Salary and Career Prospects

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in May 2014 that cardiovascular technicians and technologists made a median annual wage of $54,330. More specifically, Salary.com reported in August 2015 that echocardiograph technicians made a median annual wage of $68,112. From 2012-2022, the BLS projected an employment increase of 30% for cardiovascular technicians and technologists, mostly due to an active aging population with higher susceptibility to blood clots and tumors. The use of ultrasound technology is generally becoming more prevalent as a cost-effective alternative to invasive procedures.

Education and Training Requirements

An associate's degree in cardiovascular technology is the typical path of entry for echocardiology technicians. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) accredits programs in cardiovascular technology, including those that concentrate on adult or pediatric echocardiography. Some programs, which typically combine classroom learning with practical clinical experience, may cover multiple cardiovascular techniques while others focus only on ultrasound.

What Employers Are Looking For

Because patients may be at a higher risk for cardiac arrest, many employers require you to be CPR certified. They may also require a certification in cardiography. Some echocardiology positions are part-time. Read these summaries of job postings open in March 2012 to get an idea of what types of jobs may be available:

  • A hospital in California was looking to hire an echo technician with two years of experience and CPR certification for part-time work and some on-call hours.
  • A hospital in Tennessee wanted an echocardiographer with five years of experience and a certification in echocardiography.
  • A children's hospital in Connecticut was looking for an echo tech with an associate's degree, three years of experience and certification eligibility.

How to Stand Out in the Field

Get Certified

Although certification or registration is not mandated, some states may require echocardiology technicians to have a professional credential. Check with your state's board for specific information. Even if you don't need a certification, many employers prefer it. The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography offers the Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography designation, which is awarded after you have qualified for and passed the general sonography exam and the specialty exam in adult, fetal or pediatric echocardiography. Cardiac Credentialing International offers the Registered Cardiac Sonographer designation, for which you must meet education and experience requirements before taking the exam.

Expand Your Skills

While you may be able to find a full-time position as an echocardiology technician, some areas may only offer part-time work. If you are able to perform multiple diagnostic sonography techniques, you may be able to supplement your cardiography work and create a full-time schedule. You could train in vascular technology or prenatal sonography, both of which use the same technology as cardiography. Some cardiovascular technology degree programs may cover all of these or more, which would expand your skill set at the outset of your career.

Other Careers to Consider

If you're interested in diagnostic imaging but aren't sure about the level of direct patient contact in sonography, you could consider becoming a radiologic technician. Radiologic technicians use technologies like x-rays and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to create images for diagnostic purposes. As with echo techs, you'd need to attend a 2-year associate's degree program. The BLS reported in May 2011 that radiologic technicians and technologists made a median annual wage of $55,000.

If you like helping to diagnose patients but prefer almost no patient interaction, you might be interested in having a career in clinical laboratory technology. Entering this field also typically requires an associate's degree. Clinical or medical lab technicians analyze blood, tissue and other bodily samples from patients to test for disease or abnormalities. The BLS reported that medical and clinical lab technicians made a median annual wage of $37,000 in 2011.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Strayer University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Health Services Administration: Clinical Care Management
      • Master of Health Services Admin
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Health Services Admin Concentration
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS in Nursing
      • Master of Healthcare Admin
      • Master: Nursing/Nurse Administrator
      • MSN in Nurse Informatics
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Health Science
      • Bachelors of Science in Nursing - RN to BSN (RN License Required)
      • Bachelor: Healthcare Admin
    Certificate
      • Medical Assisting
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Southern New Hampshire University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS in Healthcare Administration
      • MSM in Healthcare
      • MS in Nursing: Patient Quality and Safety
    Bachelor's
      • BS Health Science
      • BS Business Admin w/conc in Healthcare Administration
      • BS Healthcare Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Ashford University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS in Nursing (RN to BSN)
      • B.A. - Health Care Admin
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Capella University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • DHA in Health Care Leadership
      • DHA - Health Care Quality and Analytics
    Master's
      • MHA in Health Care Operations
      • MHA in Health Care Leadership
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Health Care Management (ACBSP-accredited)
      • BS - Health Care Administration Leadership
  • Campus and Online Programs
    6. Everest

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Medical Administrative Assistant
      • Medical Assistant
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master in Business Administration - Health Services Administration
    Bachelor's
      • RN to BSN
    Associate's
      • Associate of Sciences - Medical Assistant
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
    Master's
      • MBA: Health Systems Management
      • MS in Health Care Administration
      • Master of Public Administration - Health Care Management
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Health Sciences: Professional Development & Advanced Patient Care
      • Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science
      • BS in Health Care Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Saint Joseph's University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Health Admin
  • Campus and Online Programs
    10. Rasmussen College

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Healthcare Management Bachelor Completer
    Certificate
      • Medical Administrative Assistant Certificate

Featured Schools

Strayer University

  • Master of Science in Health Services Administration: Clinical Care Management
  • Master of Health Services Admin
  • Bachelor of Business Admin: Health Services Admin Concentration

What is your highest level of education completed?

Kaplan University

  • MS in Nursing
  • Bachelor: Health Science
  • Medical Assisting

Which subject are you interested in?

Southern New Hampshire University

  • MS in Healthcare Administration
  • MSM in Healthcare
  • BS Health Science
  • BS Business Admin w/conc in Healthcare Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Ashford University

  • BS in Nursing (RN to BSN)
  • B.A. - Health Care Admin

What is your highest level of education?

Capella University

  • DHA in Health Care Leadership
  • MHA in Health Care Operations
  • Bachelor: Health Care Management (ACBSP-accredited)

What is your highest level of education completed?

Everest

  • Medical Administrative Assistant
  • Medical Assistant

What is your highest level of education completed?

Keiser University

  • Master in Business Administration - Health Services Administration
  • RN to BSN
  • Associate of Sciences - Medical Assistant

What is your highest level of education?

Grand Canyon University

  • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
  • MBA: Health Systems Management
  • BS in Health Sciences: Professional Development & Advanced Patient Care

What is your highest level of education?