PEDIATRIC CARDIAC ULTRASOUND AND CONGENITAL HEART DISEASE DIPLOMA (PED Echo)

WCUI’s Pediatric Cardiac Ultrasound and Congenital Heart Disease program (Ped ECHO) allows students who have already completed an Adult Cardiovascular Sonography program to gain a comprehensive knowledge of congenital heart disease and to understand the pathology and echocardiographic evaluation of numerous congenital and acquired heart lesions in pediatric patients. Students can complete the program in as few as 9 months. The Ped ECHO course will enable the graduate to be hired as an entry-level echo sonographer able to perform entry level Pediatric Echocardiography. The course will also help prepare the technologist for passing the Pediatric Echocardiography ARDMS registry exam.

When it comes to heart disease in the U.S., we often tend to think of adult conditions, like heart attacks, stroke, etc. But children are also in need of treatment in this area. Around 40,000 babies are born with a congenital heart defect every year, and around 700,000 children have or recently had a heart condition that required treatment. It’s why, at WCUI, we offer a Pediatric Cardiac Ultrasound and Congenital Heart Disease diploma program, so that our graduates can be a part of the effort to diagnose, monitor, and treat heart conditions in pediatric patients.

WHAT IS PEDIATRIC CARDIOVASCULAR SONOGRAPHY?

Pediatric cardiac sonography falls within the same realm as general diagnostic cardiovascular sonography. Both use ultrasound machines and imaging equipment, which produce high-frequency sound waves to take pictures of the person’s organs, tissues, and more. Cardiovascular sonographers — also called echocardiographers — specialize in the imaging to the heart muscles, heart valves, blood flow, and other aspects of the cardiac system, and those who have trained in pediatrics are qualified to take ultrasounds of children’s hearts and vessels as well. This allows their doctor or physician to get a clearer picture of what’s going on in their body and what kinds of treatments they may need in a way that’s gentle and non-invasive.

WHAT DOES A PEDIATRIC ECHOCARDIOGRAPHER DO?

Pediatric echocardiographers take on the same tasks and responsibilities that other medical sonographers do, just with the additional angle of working with children, some of them only babies. You’ll often be asked to:

  • Talk them and the patient’s families through the ultrasound and prepare them for the procedure
  • Ask and answer their questions and work with their guardian on any medical information
  • Clean and maintain your imaging equipment to ensure it’s working properly
  • Review the ultrasounds after you take them to ensure that the images show the entire area requested
  • Confer with the supervising physician on what you saw and what those results might mean

Pediatric echocardiographers will help diagnose and monitor all different kinds of heart defects and diseases, including:

  • Atrial septal defect
  • Ventricular septal defect
  • Pulmonary atresia
  • Transposition of the great arteries
  • Aortic stenosis
  • Arrhythmias
  • Kawasaki disease
  • Heart murmurs
  • Myocarditis and pericarditis
  • Rheumatic heart disease

HOW DO I BECOME A PEDIATRIC ECHOCARDIOGRAPHER?

Becoming a pediatric echocardiographer generally requires formal education through a certificate or diploma program. WCUI’s Pediatric Cardiac Ultrasound and Congenital Heart Disease diploma program prepares you for an entry-level career in the specialized pediatric echocardiography field, as well as helping you prepare for the necessary registry or certification exams you need in order to qualify for employment.

Pediatric cardiac sonographers should also:

  • Have a calm and gentle demeanor — While it benefits all sonographers to have a good bedside manner, it’s especially important that you can be calm, kind, and gentle when dealing with children.
  • Be detail-oriented — Because ultrasounds have to be so precise, having an eye for details is a big advantage.
  • Have good hand-eye coordination — Taking ultrasounds while also keeping an eye on your computer screen is even more challenging when dealing with pediatric patients, who are often smaller and sometimes wigglier.

WHAT CERTIFICATIONS DO PEDIATRIC ECHOCARDIOGRAPHERS NEED?

In order to be a cardiac sonographer for the pediatric population, you need to be registered and certified. WCUI has many resources that can help you become eligible for relevant registries upon graduation, and upon completion of our pediatric echocardiography program, graduates are eligible to sit for the ARDMS registry exam in Pediatric Echocardiography (PE).

WHAT WILL I LEARN IN A PEDIATRIC ECHOCARDIOGRAPHY PROGRAM?

Through classroom lectures and hands-on experience, including an externship, students in the Pediatric Cardiac Ultrasound and Congenital Heart Disease program will learn:

  • Cardiac fetal embryology
  • Pediatric cardiac anatomy/ physiology and hemodynamics
  • Principles of pediatric echocardiographic imaging
  • Scanning protocols using the segmental approach in the diagnosis of Congenital Heart Disease (CHD)
  • Pathophysiology & echocardiographic evaluation of congenital heart lesions and acquired cardiac disease in the pediatric population
  • Systematic ultrasound assessment of the pediatric heart
  • How to demonstrate critical thinking and technological skills to meet the needs of a changing, culturally diverse society
  • Entry-level clinical knowledge, skills, and attitudes in the care of pediatric and adult patients with congenital and acquired cardiac defects.

Our mission and values at WCUI are about promoting the academic excellence and integrity of our graduates in a way that is supportive and contributes positively to our students’ lives. We are here for you, to get you the healthcare education you need for success.

 

WHAT CLASSES WILL I TAKE FOR PEDIATRIC CARDIOVASCULAR SONOGRAPHY?

Our pediatric echocardiography diploma program features both lecture-based courses and lab work in:

  • A Review of Cardiac Principles and Embryology of the Heart
  • Congenital Heart Pathology and Training in the Systematic Ultrasound Assessment of the Pediatric Heart
  • Miscellaneous and Advanced Evaluation of Case Studies and Student Evaluation of Laboratory Knowledge and Assessment of Scanning Skills

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WHAT’S THE CAREER OUTLOOK FOR ECHOCARDIOGRAPHERS?

With the rate of heart defects and heart disease in children remaining fairly steady, there is a continuing need for skilled, specialized personnel to help be a part of their care.

Overall, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects jobs for sonographers to grow much faster than average — 19% through 2030.

  • In California, the projected growth in employment for cardiovascular sonographers is 16%*
  • In Arizona, the projected employment growth is for cardiovascular sonographers is 40%**

*State of California EDD https://www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/data/employment-projections.html “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2018-2028).

**Arizona Commerce Authority https://www.azcommerce.com/oeo/labor-market/employment-projections/ “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030)

WHERE DO PEDIATRIC ECHOCARDIOGRAPHERS WORK?

Those who specialize in the pediatric side of cardiac sonography can work in almost any healthcare facility that dedicates resources to pediatric or cardiac patients. This can include general and research hospitals, as well as children’s hospitals. It can also mean working in:

  • Specialty clinics
  • Urgent care centers
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Pediatric physicians’ offices
  • Medical and diagnostic labs

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO GET MY PEDECHO DEGREE?

WCUI’s Pediatric Cardiac Ultrasound and Congenital Heart Disease diploma program (PED Echo) can be completed in as few as 9 months, and students become eligible for the relevant ARDMS registry exam upon graduation. Applicants to the PedECHO program must have already completed an Adult Cardiovascular Sonography program to be eligible to enroll.

WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT WCUI’S PEDIATRIC CARDIOVASCULAR SONOGRAPHY DEGREE?

Due to COVID-19, WCUI wants to ensure your education journey doesn’t miss a beat, and for that reason, we are now bringing our engaging classrooms and labs directly to your home. Online learning, virtual labs, and simulation are now available so you can continue your ultrasound and MRI education online.

WCUI was founded by well-respected medical professionals, and we’ve been using our experience and knowledge to help our students begin successful careers for over 20 years. We’ve been accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and College as a private post-secondary vocational school since 2001.

TAKE THE NEXT STEP

Are you ready to advance your career by advancing your education? Find the information you need to apply to the WCUI School of Medical Imaging on our Admissions Page or contact our admissions team today.

Join our upcoming information sessions with the WCUI Academic Dean of Sonography, who can help answer your questions about the field of cardiovascular sonography and your future career!

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