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Cardiac Sonography

Are you looking for a medically related career where you can make a significant difference in patients’ lives every day? Do you want a job with variety? Do you have excellent organizational and multitasking skills? Would you like to train for a people-oriented, fast-paced career that offers high pay and is in demand?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, El Centro College’s Cardiac Sonography program may be for you! This program prepares graduates to work as echocardiographers, who use sound waves to examine the heart and vessels in close cooperation with cardiologists.

Cardiac Sonography at a Glance

Looking for a quick overview of the Cardiac Sonography program? Take a look at Cardiac Sonography at a Glance for a short summary of what a echocardiology technologist does and the degrees and certificates offered by the colleges of DCCCD.

What Does an Echocardiographer Do?

Echocardiographers, also called echocardiology technologists or cardiac sonographers, 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, cardiomyopathy and other cardiovascular problems. Echocardiographers typically work in hospitals, clinics and physicians’ offices.

Intense Program Pays Off With a Great Career

As a student in the Cardiac Sonography program, you’ll benefit from our outstanding faculty and exemplary clinical rotations, which are recognized both locally and nationally.

Cardiac Sonography courses are completed in one nine-week summer semester and two 16-week academic semesters.

The program requires a full-time commitment comprising lectures, skills labs and clinical experience. The schedule for classes and clinicals varies from semester to semester, but classes are typically held four days a week during daytime and evening hours.

Each semester involves approximately 40 hours of class and clinical experience every week. You should plan a minimum of two to three hours of studying and preparation time for each class or clinical experience.

The demands of the courses are such that most students can’t work full time while enrolled in this program. If you need to work or have significant family responsibilities, we encourage you to plan your schedule carefully to accommodate the time commitment that this program demands.

This is an intense program that pays off handsomely with experience and credentials that will give you a definite edge in a competitive job market. Graduates of the program are not only successful at finding immediate employment but also have an excellent pass rate on American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography exams.

Cardiac Sonography Degree and Certificate Options

El Centro College offers the Cardiac Sonography program, which includes two associate degrees and two certificates.

Associate Degrees

The first year of the curriculum for both associate degrees consists of El Centro’s Health Occupations Core Curriculum. You must complete these general education and health occupations courses before you apply for entrance to the specialized portion of the program. The second year of the curriculum provides intensive classroom and clinical training in the medical specialty of echocardiology.
Certificate Options

You may qualify for the Cardiac Sonography Advanced Technical Certificate if you have already earned a minimum of an associate degree in a designated allied health field or a bachelor’s degree with a major in a science discipline and have substantial patient care experience.

Prospective students are considered on an individual basis to determine if they have an adequate background in anatomy and physiology, college algebra, pathophysiology, pharmacology and physics. A background in basic electrocardiography (ECG) is also required.

If you are interested in pursuing these certificates, contact the El Centro Health Occupations Admissions Office for specific application requirements and plan to attend an information session for the specialized imaging programs of Cardiac Sonography and Diagnostic Medical Sonography.


Graduates of the Cardiac Sonography program may take one of two credentialing examinations, both recognized by the American Medical Association, though employers may have a preference: 

Adult Cardiac Sonography Program Outcomes
Pass Rate on
National Credentialing
 Retention    Positive
Three Year
100% 73% 73%
For details about graduation rates, program costs and other important information, view the gainful employment disclosure.