Health care offers many opportunities and specializations for those wanting to make an impact on their local community's health and wellness. Many choose to pursue roles in sonography to help doctors and specialists diagnose medical conditions. As there are many specializations in sonography, you might be trying to decide on a career as a cardiovascular sonographer (CVS) or diagnostic medical sonographer (DMS). While these two professions have several similarities, we'll explore them more in depth below.
What Is Cardiovascular Sonography?
Cardiovascular sonography involves the use of ultrasound technology to provide 2D and 3D images of the heart and the surrounding elements that directly contribute to its function. This type of diagnostic imaging enables health care professionals to find heart abnormalities, defects, plaque buildup, or other concerns that can result in lasting health issues for patients.
What Do CVSs Do?
CVSs, also known as echocardiographers, cardiac sonographers, or cardiovascular ultrasound technologists, are trained to use imaging technology to help physicians diagnose heart problems in patients. Cardiac sonographers capture images of the heart's chambers, valves, and blood vessels to aid a cardiologist to diagnose and prepare treatment plans for patients. Typical duties, aside from conducting cardiac sonography itself, include preparing summary reports, analyzing ultrasound results, and delivering those results to diagnostic experts.
Cardiovascular Sonography Program Overview
Concorde Career College's Cardiovascular Sonography Associate Degree program provides an opportunity to practice both the key technical and soft skills that health care providers require. Heart health and treatment begin with awareness. In less than two years, you could be prepared to pursue a rewarding career in diagnostic medicine with a Cardiovascular Sonography degree from our school.
This program consists of 85.5 credit hours and 330 lab hours, meaning you will have an opportunity to learn the knowledge and know-how to help patients wanting answers to what's going on with their hearts. Program objectives revolve around preparing aspiring sonographers with the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective learning domains to complete their future duties accurately and effectively.
What Is Diagnostic Medical Sonography?
Diagnostic medical sonography involves using high-frequency sound waves that provide health care professionals with anatomical and pathological images to help them diagnose patients. These images include 2D and 3D images and provide unique insight into the happenings of a patient's body without the requirement of invasive procedures. Some key factors this type of ultrasound helps health care professionals look for include abnormal growths and plaque buildup. Identifying these issues early on can help patients avoid or overcome life-threatening ailments.
Those interested in diagnostic medicine can also choose to specialize in different areas of practice, such as:
- Internal medicine.
What Does a DMS Do?
Performing an ultrasound is a non-invasive way to visualize internal organs that is often used first to detect diseases. Therefore, it's the ideal career for those interested in the health care field. DMSs have an important role in conducting and interpreting initial imaging tests to help narrow down a patient's diagnosis and quickly get them the care they need. They work in collaboration with other health care professionals, such as doctors, medical specialists, and nurses.
Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program Overview
The Diagnostic Medical Sonography Associate Degree program teaches students the technical skills needed to be successful in the field of study, such as performing diagnostic procedures and obtaining images, identifying abnormal pathology within the body, and oral or written summary of exams to doctors for diagnosis.
This 20-month program prepares graduates to record anatomic, pathologic, and physiologic data. These recording skills also help individuals to develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which are essential in the diagnostic process. The curriculum includes didactic and clinical instruction, allowing individuals to apply what they learned in a real-world setting.
What's the Difference between a CVS and a DMS?
CVSs focus more on reviewing and helping to diagnose conditions relating to the heart, while DMSs focus on general anatomy and assisting in diagnosing conditions throughout the body. Here are some other aspects to consider:
For medical sonographers, which include CVSs, the job outlook is projected to grow 10% according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (1). For those specializing as DMSs, this figure increases to 15%, which is more than the total projected growth for all occupations. The BLS attributes the growth for both of these occupations to an aging population that relies on diagnostic medicine to identify and treat medical conditions. The projected 10,100 job openings between 2021 and 2031 are also attributed to the need to replace individuals exiting the workforce.
As both of these roles involve the use of diagnostic imaging equipment and close interactions with patients, the work environment for these two professions is quite similar. CVSs and DMSs can expect to work in hospitals, acute care facilities, private practices, labs, or clinics. On the day-to-day, they can work alongside other health care professionals interacting with patients, in ultrasound rooms, and in office environments when preparing and analyzing reports.
Many health care practices prefer individuals to have certification for both professions. For those pursuing a CVS role, completing the Registered Diagnostics Cardiac Sonographer program from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography enables employers to understand your familiarity with cardiac diagnostic techniques and equipment. If you're wanting to pursue a DMS role, the Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer credential can highlight your proficiency in this health care field. Regardless of which credential you want to complete, both programs offered by Concorde Career College help prepare you for these exams and for success in your career.
Choosing the Right Program for You
These are two separate programs and Concorde Career College offers both of them. To learn more, check out the following links to see if our CVS or DMS programs are the right career education path for you.
1. "Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians," United States of Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/diagnostic-medical-sonographers.htm#tab-6
Interested in learning more about our Cardiovascular Sonography program? We have a Concorde representative ready to talk about what matters most to you. Get answers about start dates, curriculum, financial aid, scholarships and more!