Radiation Sciences Programs

  • DCS
  • Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography

    Career Information & Outlook

    The Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer is a skilled professional who uses equipment producing high-frequency sound waves to create diagnostic images and data that help health care professionals diagnose patients with cardiovascular disease. Cardiac sonographers use ultrasound to specifically image the heart chambers, valves and vessels while the patient is either resting or physically active. When determining normal and abnormal findings, the sonographer must demonstrate sectional anatomy through transducer indexmanipulation. The sonographer uses independent judgment in recognizing the need to extend the scope of the study according to the diagnostic findings. These professionals participate in the reading sessions with physicians, contributing technical and professional knowledge and observation to the final diagnostic impression. The sonographer spends extended time with the patient obtaining a thorough history of symptoms, explaining the exam, answering questions, and performing the exam. He or she must also recognize emergency patient care situations and institute lifesaving first aid when necessary. Extended patient contact and added professional responsibility are only a couple of the many rewards found in the field of Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography. Visit the U.S. Department of Labor's O*NET (29-2032 – Diagnostic Medical Sonographer) for additional career information.

    2010 - 2011 Bureau of Labor Statistics Outlook

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics occupational outlook reports employment of diagnostic cardiac sonographers is expected to increase by at least 18 percent through 2018—faster than the average for all occupations. Demand will stem from the prevalence of heart disease and the aging population. Additionally employment of Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographers will grow as advances in ultrasound imaging reduce the need for more costly and invasive procedures. Sonographers with multiple specialties or multiple credentials also will have good prospects.
    For statistics on salary expectations and additional information on a career in Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography visit the Bureau of Labor and Statistics website and find additional information on the Cardiovascular Technologists page.

    Commitment to the Pursuit of Quality

    The Cardiac Sonography Program takes great care in its pursuit to select and educate top quality sonographers. The items below provide verification of our commitment to this pursuit.

    Certification Examination Rate

    Program graduates sit for the adult cardiac sonography exam administered by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS). The program graduates have enjoyed strong achievement on ARDMS Certification exams. Since 2001 the graduates of the Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography Program have achieved a 100% certification rate with the ARDMS. The program is unable to report mean scaled scores or first time pass rates as that data is not provided by the certifying agency.

    Program Placement Rate

    # of Graduates Employed in Iowa in Sonography within 6 months
    Placement Rate *
    67% in Iowa
    67% in Iowa
    75% in Iowa
    100% in Iowa

    * Placement rate is calculated using the Joint Review Committee on Education Programs in Diagnostic Medical Sonography methodology