DIAGNOSTIC CARDIAC SONOGRAPHY

(DCS)

Start Date

March 21, 2022

More Start Dates
Length
The program length for day and evening classes may vary based on the number of scheduled hours per week. Holidays, school closings, and internship schedules may cause the program completion dates to vary as well.

19 Months

Schedule
The standard classroom schedule is provided here. The clinical internship schedule will vary based on the clinical site. Students must follow their assigned internship schedule, not the AIMS Education class schedule, academic calendar, or the observed holidays and breaks.

Monday - Friday
9:00am to 2:00pm

FSA
Federal student aid is available for those who qualify. Students must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine their eligibility. Please contact our financial aid department to learn more.

YES

Other Financial Assistance
Other financial aid options may be available for this program (scholarships, training grants, VA benefits, etc.). Please contact our financial aid department to learn more.

YES

Start Date

March 21, 2022

More Start Dates
Length
The program length for day and evening classes may vary based on the number of scheduled hours per week. Holidays, school closings, and internship schedules may cause the program completion dates to vary as well.

19 Months

Schedule
The standard classroom schedule is provided here. The clinical internship schedule will vary based on the clinical site. Students must follow their assigned internship schedule, not the AIMS Education class schedule, academic calendar, or the observed holidays and breaks.

Monday - Friday
9:00am to 2:00pm

FSA
Federal student aid is available for those who qualify. Students must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine their eligibility. Please contact our financial aid department to learn more.

YES

Other Financial Assistance
Other financial aid options may be available for this program (scholarships, training grants, VA benefits, etc.). Please contact our financial aid department to learn more.

YES

Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography Training

The Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography (DCS) certificate program is programmatically accredited by CAAHEP for the Adult Echocardiography concentration. The DCS program will prepare students to work in the field of sonography with a specialization in Adult Echocardiography.

Cardiac sonography is a highly specialized field that requires sonographers to use state of the art sonography equipment to image internal body structures (primarily the heart). Students in this program will also be trained in doppler echocardiography, EKG techniques, stress tests, and holter monitoring. 

Program Goals

The primary goal of this program is to prepare competent, entry-level cardiac sonographers in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains.

Clinical Internship

The Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography program requires students to complete 700 clinical hours prior to graduation. Students will be placed at a clinical site by the AIMS Internship Department. The internship is designed to provide practical training in a real work environment; students will have a mentor who trains and guides them. 80 clinical hours will be completed during the DCS 220 course, and the remaining 620 hours will be completed during the clinical internship. Students are not permitted to begin the internship until all required classroom and lab hours are completed.

AIMS Education has clinical affiliations with numerous healthcare facilities throughout New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Students will be placed at one or more of these affiliated sites and must complete their clinical hours based on the schedule provided by the school. Internship schedules are based on the availability of clinical sites. All students (Day and Evening) must be prepared to complete their internship during normal business hours (Monday through Friday). The majority of clinical sites do not allow students to complete clinical hours in the evening or on the weekend.

Employment Opportunities

Demand for qualified cardiac sonographers has been increasing in recent years. As the population continues to age, this demand will only increase further. Job growth over the next decade is expected to be much faster than average.

A large number of the jobs available in this field can be found in hospitals, and many of those will be in cardiology departments. There are also job opportunities available in physicians’ offices, primarily with cardiologists, or medical and diagnostic laboratories, including diagnostic imaging centers.

Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer Responsibilities

Those with a passion for patient care and an interest in anatomy will excel in the field of diagnostic cardiac sonography. 

Cardiac sonographers perform the following core duties:

  • Conduct medical imaging procedures: A cardiac sonographer supports patient health and diagnosis through the operation of medical imaging technology. This technology includes echocardiograms and ultrasounds to capture images of patients' hearts and vascular function. Cardiac sonographers measure heart function, ranging from the overall flow of blockages and blood within the patient's cardiovascular system to chamber sizes within the patient's heart.
  • Maintain equipment: Cardiac sonographers follow proper maintenance and setup procedures before, during and after the imaging procedure to ensure that their equipment remains reliable and functional. This includes reporting any imaging issues to supervisors and calibrating echocardiograms and ultrasound machines. Diagnostic cardiac sonography professionals also prevent equipment damage by following proper storage procedures. 
  • Answer patient questions: Cardiac sonographers work directly with patients, meaning they regularly need to answer questions about equipment and procedures prior to starting the imaging process. These professionals must ask questions on the patient's behalf, providing pertinent information and answers from physicians. Cardiac sonographers act as liaisons between doctors and patients, so they must exercise patience and compassion at all times. 
  • Support diagnostic procedures: Cardiac sonographers play an essential role in assisting physicians in developing diagnoses, reviewing images with doctors and pointing out areas that show issues with cardiac function. 
  • Evaluate images: Cardiac sonographers inspect images for clarity and various other factors. Based on their findings, the sonographer will select which ones to save — these are generally the images that provide the clearest look at the patient's cardiac function. 

Cardiac Sonographer Skills and Qualifications

Workers in the field of diagnostic cardiac sonography typically have the following skills:

  • Communication skills: Cardiac sonographers prepare reports and communicate with both patients and doctors, which requires written and verbal communication. 
  • Attention to detail: A cardiac sonographer must have a keen eye for detail to calibrate equipment and take readings correctly. 
  • Team collaboration: Cardiac sonographers need strong teamwork skills to interact with doctors and other technicians daily.
  • Bedside manner: Excellent bedside manner and patient service skills are crucial in diagnostic cardiac sonography, as sonographers work directly with patients to explain and perform procedures. 
  • Technology skills: Cardiac sonographers should be experts in using ultrasound and imaging tools to support diagnoses and examine patients. 

Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer Work Environment 

Cardiac sonographers work in hospitals, diagnostic imaging centers, medical clinics and doctors' offices. Their work hours may include holidays, evenings, weekends and on-call coverage.

Cardiac sonographers work with unpredictable schedules in a fast-paced environment in the hospital setting. In the clinic setting, however, sonographers will experience a more regular schedule.

Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography Certification and Education Requirements 

To become a cardiac sonographer, students must:

  • Complete an echocardiography or cardiac sonographer certificate program.
  • Obtain a license or certification, though not all states require one to practice as a cardiac sonographer. 

Certified professionals practicing in the field of diagnostic cardiac sonography must maintain certification through continuing education.

Certification / Registry Exam Eligibility

AIMS students are eligible to take the Sonography Principles & Instrumentation (SPI) examination after successfully completing the following course - DMS 220: Ultrasound Physics & Instrumentation.

Up to 60 days prior to graduation, DCS students will be eligible to take the Adult Echocardiography specialty examination offered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS).

Graduates who have passed the SPI exam and the Adult Echocardiography specialty exam will earn the RDCS credential from ARDMS.

Eligibility requirements for the RDCS credential are solely determined by ARDMS, and are subject to change at any time. ARDMS is an independent organization. AIMS does not guarantee registry exam eligibility.

Program Length

  • 1740 clock hours
  • Classroom instruction and lab - 1040 hours
  • Clinical hours - 700 hours
  • The day program can be completed in approximately 19 months.
  • The evening program can be completed in approximately 23 months.

Comprehensive Education and Training

  • Medical Terminology
  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Adult Echocardiography
  • Image internal body structures
  • EKG Testing
  • Holter Monitoring
  • Stress Testing

Minimum Requirements

  • Associate Degree
  • Passing score on the Wonderlic Scholastic Level Exam

Selective Enrollment

The Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography program has a selective application process. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee you will be accepted into the program. From the pool of applicants, those who are considered most qualified for the study and practice of sonography will be admitted.

Additional Program Requirements

All sonography students are required to earn a cumulative GPA of 3.0 upon completion of the pre-diagnostic modules at AIMS.

Professional Licensure Disclosure

AIMS Education has determined that its Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography curriculum meets the state educational requirements for licensure or certification in New Jersey. If you live outside of New Jersey or you are planning to seek employment in another state, please review our professional licensure disclosures for more information.

* New Jersey currently has no state licensure requirements or laws regulating employment in this field. 

Upcoming Start Dates

Start Dates
Schedule
Program Length
Day Classes
March 21, 2022
Monday - Friday
9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
19 months
Evening Classes
TBD
Monday - Friday
5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
23 months

Additional information regarding the class schedule, program length, internship schedule, and school holidays, is available on the academic calendar page.

Employer Testimonials

Accreditations

The Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

AIMS Education is institutionally accredited by the Middle State Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA-CESS) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). 

Graduate Spotlight

Shenell Quinn

Shenell Quinn

Shenell is a graduate of the Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography program. After graduation, she became a registered diagnostic cardiac sonographer and was able to pursue a career as an echocardiographer.

Visit Our Campus

Take the first step in achieving your career goals by visiting the AIMS campus. During your school visit you'll get to meet one-on-one with an admissions specialist. They'll help you choose the right career path and answer any questions you have. You'll also get the chance to tour the AIMS campus, including all of our classrooms, medical labs, and student facilities.