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Job Prospects for Echocardiography Technicians

Sep 30, 2010

The field of echocardiology technology continues to be a field that is growing by leaps and bounds. The job outlook is bright for trained professionals in this field who enjoy minimally invasive medical work. Echocardiography technicians have a lot of hands-on time with their patients and most find their jobs personally rewarding. Salaries of technicians as well as job availability are increasing in great numbers for two primary reasons. First, people are living longer. This longevity means that more diagnostic tests are needed in order to diagnose and often treat heart problems. Secondly, technology is being geared more towards noninvasive, inexpensive technology like ultrasounds. Ultrasound technology, like echocardiograms, provides patients with a noninvasive, radiation free means of diagnostic testing.

Job Requirements

Echocardiography technicians, who are also called technologists, are the cardiologist's assistant. The echocardiography technician does a noninvasive test called an echocardiogram on patients either with heart problems or in W76patients who might have heart problems. Echocardiograms can be done on very young neonatal patients to check for congenital defects. They can be done on adults to check for valve problems and also to assess the vasculature of the heart as well as the heart's chambers.

Educational Requirements

Someone hoping to pursue a career as an echocardiography technician would need to attend at least two years of higher education to obtain an entry-level job. He or she might investigate community colleges or hospital-based programs that offer associate's degrees or diplomas in the field of cardiovascular technology. While attending school, an echocardiography technician student would review anatomy, physiology, and chemistry. He or she would also work in a clinical setting in order to help them hone their skills and prepare them to treat patients on the job.

Current Job Opportunities

Currently the average salary for echocardiography technicians that work full time is around sixty thousand dollars a year. A more experienced echocardiography technician might, or a tech that works in a large city, could expect to make significantly more. Specialization and cross training in order to assist a cardiologist with other forms of diagnostic testing would also increase an echocardiography technician's salary. There are many job opportunities available currently for new and experienced technicians in hospitals, physician’s offices, and also in outpatient diagnostic centers. There are also teaching opportunities available for seasoned technicians.

The Future of Echocardiography Technicians

As many medical fields grow and change, so will the fields of cardiology and echocardiography. More physicians order these important tests than ever before. Echocardiograms are valuable in assessing and diagnosing many vascular and functional problems within the heart. They are also routinely done before surgeries and procedures. For example, a transesophageal echocardiogram is one type of special diagnostic study that is frequently used before a cardioversion procedure. Cardioversions are very common procedures that are often performed by cardiologists to shock the heart's rhythm into a healthy rhythm. A transesophageal echo, or TEE, is done prior to the procedure in order to help the cardiologist determine if there are any existing blood clots inside the heart that might be dislodged and cause serious problems during the cardioversion. Tests like TEEs need to be done with the assistance of a well-trained technician and will only be ordered more in the future. When it comes to the occupational outlook for echocardiography technicians, the sky is the limit.

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