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Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography Degree

Diagnostic cardiac sonography

Prepare for a career as a diagnostic cardiac sonographer

Career options  Education icon


  • Diagnostic cardiac sonographer
  • Echocardiographer

This Associate in Applied Science degree prepares you to secure their American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography credential and entry-level work in the adult echo specialty area. You also receive instruction in basic vascular sonography as well as EKG related diagnostic testing. A clinical hospital experience in echocardiography is provided.

This is a limited-enrollment program. Please review this program's admission criteria and process.

AAS degree program requirements

This 68 credit-hour program prepares the graduate to be a diagnostic cardiac sonographer. A diagnostic cardiac sonographer is a highly skilled professional who uses specialized ultrasound equipment to record visual images of the heart. They work in hospitals and outpatient settings producing these echocardiograms to assist the physician in diagnosing heart disease. This degree prepares the graduate to secure their American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography credential and entry-level work in the adult echo specialty area. The graduate also receives instruction in basic vascular sonography as well as EKG-related diagnostic testing. A clinical hospital experience in echocardiography is provided.

Because of the nature of clinical experiences and individualized instruction required in this program and specialized technology and the equipment necessary to offer this program, a higher tuition rate is assessed for career-specific courses including courses with the DCS prefix. Tuition for the courses in this program is 200 percent of the standard tuition rate.

Admission Requirements:

Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography is a limited enrollment program. For admission requirements, please contact the Admissions Outreach Office at 847.925.6700 or visit harpercollege.edu. Students who apply for this limited enrollment program are obligated to meet current admission requirements and follow program curriculum as defined at the time of acceptance to the program.

PREREQUISITES:

A grade of C or better in all coursework is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
BIO 160 1 4 Natural Science

Description: Introduces the anatomy of the human body; the following systems studied either regionally or systemically: integumentary, skeletal, articular, muscular, circulatory, lymphatic, nervous, respiratory, digestive, excretory, endocrine and reproductive. Includes some introductory histology. Specially designed for students in health careers, biology, and physical education. Strongly recommended preparation: One year of high school biology with a grade of C or better taken within the last five years, or BIO 110. (NOTE: Lab science credit.)

Prerequisite: Placement into ENG 101. ENG_Placement_Grid.pdf

BIO 161 1 4 Natural Science

Description: Emphasizes physiological principles at the molecular, cellular, tissue, organ and system level, as they pertain to the human organism. The following systems are studied in detail: skeletal, muscular, circulatory, nervous, digestive, respiratory, urinary, reproductive and endocrine. In this course, special applications will be made to meet the needs of students in health careers, biology and physical education.(NOTE: Lab science credit.)

Prerequisite: BIO 160 with a grade of C or better, or consent of instructor.

ENG 101 3 Communications

Description: Emphasizes the writing of expository prose. Introduction to the critical reading of nonfiction prose. IAI C1 900

Prerequisite: ENG 100 with a grade of C or better. Other placement options. ENG_Placement_Grid.pdf ESL students need one of the following options: ESL 073 and ESL 074 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 086 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 099 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 with required writing placement test score; or ESL 074 with required reading placement test score.

Mathematics2 3 Mathematics
PHY 100 3 3 Natural Science

Description: Examines basic topics in physics including motion, force, energy, electricity and magnetism, waves and particles, and atomic structure. Course is for non-science majors fulfilling non-laboratory science requirements. IAI P1 900

Prerequisite: MTH 080 with a grade of C or better, or placement into MTH 101 (Quantitative Literacy). Math_Placement_Grid.pdf

FIRST SEMESTER:

A grade of C or better in all coursework is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
DCS 101 2 Program Requirement

Description: Provides instruction and practice in the performance and comprehensive interpretation of rhythm ECGs. Covers related electrophysiology. Includes instruction in holter monitoring.

Prerequisite: BIO 135 or (BIO 160 and BIO 161) with a grade of C or better.

DCS 105 2 Program Requirement

Description: Instructs students in the ultrasound imaging programs in the principles of ultrasound physics and instrumentation. Examines continuous and pulsed sound, sound wave intensities, interaction of sound and media, sound propagation, axial resolution, transducer basics, anatomy of a sound wave, and basic display modalities.

Prerequisite: Admission into the DCS program.

DCS 107 2 Program Requirement

Description: Discusses the role of a sonographer and the sonography profession. Examines the different sonography specialty areas and related sonographic exams. Explores the ultrasound cross-sectional anatomy of the abdomen, pelvis, chest and neck. Maps the circulation of the cerebral vascular system. Introduces the normal and abnormal cerebrovascular ultrasound. Investigates cerebrovascular disease and trains the student to interpret cerebrovascular ultrasound exams.

Corequisite: DCS 109.

DCS 109 4 1 Program Requirement

Description: Provides supervised laboratory instruction and practice in the basics of ultrasound imaging. Introduces professional expectations of the student sonographer. Covers proper procedure and body mechanics for an ultrasound exam. Orients the student to imaging body habitus. Instructs on the operation of ultrasound equipment.Trains the student to perform diagnostic carotid sonograms. Pass/fail grade.

Corequisite: DCS 107.

HSC 112 2 Program Requirement

Description: Emphasizes the origin and the basic structure of medical words, including prefixes, suffixes, word roots, combining forms and plurals. Offers pronunciation, spelling, and definition of medical terms based on the body systems approach. Emphasis on rendering a professional vocabulary required for work in the health care field.

HSC 165 1 Program Requirement

Description: Examines the mechanism of action of the major medication groups as they relate to the physiology and pathology of disease. Identifies examples in each major pharmacological category in order to understand pharmacological activity within each group. Addresses areas of drug action, clinical application, and adverse events for each medication discussed. Considers needs of patients undergoing drug therapy and the role of the allied health provider.

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in BIO 135, BIO 160 or HSC 112 with a grade of C or better.

SECOND SEMESTER:

A grade of C or better in all coursework is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
DCS 102 2 Program Requirement

Description: Provides instruction and practice in the performance and comprehensive interpretation of 12 lead ECGs. Covers related electrophysiology. Includes instruction in maximal stress testing.

Prerequisite: DCS 101 with a grade of C or better.

DCS 106 2 Program Requirement

Description: Continues to instruct students in the ultrasound imaging programs in the principles of ultrasound physics and instrumentation. Examines real-time imaging, ultrasound instrumentation, displays, signal processing, harmonics and Doppler principles. Concludes with imaging artifacts, bioeffects and quality assurance.

Prerequisite: DCS 105 with a grade of C or better.

DCS 108 2 Program Requirement

Description: Builds on the theoretical foundations covered in DCS 107 (Sonography Theory I). Explores the ultrasound cross sectional vascular anatomy of the extremities. Maps the circulation from the trunk to the periphery. Introduces the normal and abnormal peripheral arterial and venous sonogram. Investigates peripheral vascular disease. Trains the student to interpret peripheral arterial and venous sonographic studies.

Prerequisite: DCS107 with a grade of C or better.

Corequisite: DCS110.

DCS 110 4 1 Program Requirement

Description: Provides supervised laboratory instruction and practice in peripheral vascular ultrasound imaging. Trains the student to perform diagnostic peripheral arterial and venous sonographic examinations. Non-imaging physiological peripheral arterial examination techniques are also covered. Expands upon the professional expectations of the student sonographer. Pass/fail grade.

Prerequisite: DCS109 with a grade of C or better.

Corequisite: DCS 108.

HSC 104 2 Program Requirement

Description: Introduces student to informatics and the use of technology in health care delivery systems. This includes a review of hardware and software, and an in-depth look at hospital/health care-based user interfaces, data bases, telecommunications and networks, and healthcare-based information systems. Also includes research methods and patient education via computers.

HSC 213 2 Program Requirement

Description: Introduces the legal and ethical issues that pertain to various health care delivery settings. Discusses how these issues impact the health care practitioner in a diverse culture. Practices and standards are discussed as they relate to professional behavior and ethical decision-making.

SUMMER SESSION (Optional):

A grade of C or better in all coursework is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
DCS 112 5  U   1 Program Requirement

Description: Provides additional laboratory practice in common vascular ultrasound exams. This course is not required for graduation. Pass/fail grade.

THIRD SEMESTER:

A grade of C or better in all coursework is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
DCS 207 6 Program Requirement

Description: Explores the ultrasound cross-sectional anatomy of the heart. Maps the cardiac circulation. Introduces the normal and abnormal echocardiogram. Investigates valvular, coronary and pulmonary heart disease. Also examines right and left ventricular systolic dysfunction. Trains the student to interpret these pathologies on an echocardiogram.

Prerequisite: DCS 106 with a grade of C or better.

Corequisite: DCS 209.

DCS 209 4 2 Program Requirement

Description: Provides supervised laboratory instruction and practice in cardiac ultrasound imaging. Trains the student to perform a basic adult echocardiogram. Reinforces the professional expectations of the student sonographer. Pass/fail grade.

Prerequisite: DCS 106 with a grade of C or better.

Corequisite: DCS 207.

Humanities or Social and Behavioral Science+ 3 Humanities or Social and Behavioral Science

FOURTH SEMESTER:

A grade of C or better in all coursework is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
DCS 208 6 Program Requirement

Description: Investigates a host of cardiac and other conditions that impact the heart and the echocardiogram. Covers pericardial, myocardial, endocardial, aortic, diastolic, hypertensive, and diabetic heart disease. Examines heart transplant, valvular repair and replacement, cardiac masses and trauma, and coronary artery anomalies. Investigates systemic conditions that alter the heart. Trains the student to interpret these conditions on an echocardiogram. Introduces transesophageal, stress, contrast, 3D and other advanced echo modalities.

Prerequisite: DCS 207 with a grade of C or better.

Corequisite: DCS 210.

DCS 210 4 2 Program Requirement

Description: Continues supervised laboratory instruction and practice in cardiac ultrasound imaging. Trains the student to perform advanced targeted adult echocardiograms. Reinforces the professional expectations of the student sonographer. Pass/fail grade.

Prerequisite: DCS 209 with a grade of C or better.

Corequisite: DCS 208.

DCS 220 3 Program Requirement

Description: Prepares the student for their role as a cardiac sonographer in the hospital setting. Covers relevant policies, procedures, and considerations for working in the hospital, caring for patients, and completing sonograms in the clinical environment. Grooms the student for entrance into the sonography profession. Includes simulated and observational hospital experiences.

Prerequisite: DCS 207 and DCS 209 with grades of C or better.

Corequisite: DCS 208 and DCS 210.

SPE 101 3 Communications

Description: Theory and practice of oral communications. Development of poise, confidence and skill in speech organization and delivery. Emphasis on frequent speaking, development of standards of criticism and selection and organization of material. IAI C2 900

SUMMER SESSION:

A grade of C or better in all coursework is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
DCS 230 6 5 Program Requirement

Description: Provides the student with practical clinical experience performing adult echocardiograms in a hospital or other clinical setting. Orients the student to that hospital environment and the specific policies and procedures for completing sonograms in that medical setting. Allows the student to perform these echocardiograms on patients under the close supervision of clinical staff. Provides an opportunity for students to develop and demonstrate the knowledge base, clinical skills, and professional skills required of an entry level sonographer.

Prerequisite: DCS 208, DCS 210 and DCS 220 with grades of C or better.

DCS 260 5 1 Program Requirement

Description: Introduces new or advanced topics in sonography. Explores the evolution and provides necessary background in terms of related anatomy, hemodynamics, physics and pathology. Presents related ultrasound case studies and trains in the interpretation of the ultrasound examination. Covers implications to the performance of the sonographic procedure including protocols, modalities and specific assessment techniques. Enhances the skill of the sonographer past entry level. May be repeated up to six credit hours.

1 - Must be completed no earlier than five years prior to beginning the DCS program; time requirement may be waived for direct patient care providers with a minimum of a two-year allied health care degree.

2 - MTH 165 is recommended. MTH 101, MTH 103, or higher with a grade of C or better may be substituted.

3 - PHY 110 or PHY 121 or higher with a grade of C or better may be substituted.

4 - Every credit hour of sonography lab requires a minimum of 2 hours per week sonography lab practice.

5 - This course is optional and not required for graduation.

+ - Students need to choose a course to meet this requirement that also fulfills the World Cultures and Diversity graduation requirement. See full list of AAS General Education Electives.

6 - Assignments will be based on site availability.

Program learning outcomes

To prepare competent entry-level cardiac sonographers in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains.

Graduates of this program will:

  • recognize abnormal sonographic findings
  • recognize significant clinical information that impacts the sonographic examination.
  • maintain a safe environment for him or herself and the patient.
  • apply concepts of ultrasound physics when imaging.
  • perform the necessary types of examinations in their specialty area.
  • perform the required modalities (2D, Doppler, other).
  • obtain quality images in a timely fashion.
  • perform a comprehensive diagnostic ultrasound examination.
  • demonstrate appropriate clinical judgment.
  • meet professional expectations of the clinical environment.
  • communicate effectively with patients and members of the health care team.
  • be positioned to pursue a career as a sonographer.

Resources

Next steps

For more information about the DCS program at Harper College, contact Admission Outreach at 847.925.6700, or submit a request information form. You can also apply online.