Career Information

What jobs can I get? How much can I get paid?

What Does a Cardiac Sonographer Do?

Cardiac sonographers (also known as echocardiographers), perform cardiovascular examinations to produce images of the heart and great vessels using high-frequency sound waves. These examinations are used by doctors to diagnose congenital heart disease, valvular disease, pericardial disease and other cardiovascular problems. Cardiac sonographers typically work in hospitals, clinics and physicians’ offices.

How Is Sonography Used?

Doctors use ultrasound for advanced insight into the inner workings of the body. After X-ray exams, ultrasound is the most commonly used form of diagnostic imaging.

Despite today's sophisticated, high-tech systems, ultrasound remains a science built upon the simple sound wave. By beaming high-frequency sound waves into the body, doctors translate the echoes that bounce off body tissues and organs into visual images that provide valuable medical information.

Ultrasound technology is safe, affordable, non-invasive and portable. Very sick or fragile patients, who might not be able to travel to a radiology lab without risking further injury, can have the lab wheeled to them.

In general, sonographers:

  • Provide one-on-one care to a variety of people ranging from healthy to critically ill
  • Use high-tech instrumentation to create and interpret images from inside the human body that are used by physicians to make a medical diagnosis
  • Work as a key member of a health care team
  • Commit to life-long learning in order to maintain knowledge and expertise in a rapidly growing health care profession

Cardiac sonographers (also called cardiovascular technologists) may:

  • schedule appointments
  • perform ultrasound or cardiovascular procedures
  • review doctors’ interpretations and patient files
  • monitor patients’ heart rates
  • operate and care for testing equipment
  • explain test procedures to patients
  • compare findings to a standard to identify problems

Employment Outlook

A national shortage of qualified sonographers ensures that graduates of El Centro’s Cardiac Sonography program experience excellent job opportunities, both locally and nationally.

Why Is This a Good Career Bet?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, health-related occupations will add the most new jobs to the economy — nearly one-third of the total increase — through 2022. Fourteen of the top 20 fastest-growing jobs listed by CareerOneStop, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, are in health care occupations.

Note that terminology varies on career titles. The profession of cardiac sonographer falls into the categories of both diagnostic medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists as listed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and CareerOneStop.

For jobs requiring at least an associate degree, CareerOneStop lists diagnostic medical sonographer as fourth in its 39 fastest-growing occupations and eleventh in its top 36 careers with the most job openings through 2024.​