Pediatric echo is very similar to adult echocardiography. The procedure is the same, but what the echo tech is looking for is what differs. Echocardiology in adults will cover a wide variety of cardiac pathology, such as disease of the heart muscle or coronary artery disease. Pediatric cardiac sonographers perform echocardiograms of the heart to diagnose congenital or acquired heart disease in children, which sometime arise during pregnancy.
To become certified in pediatric echocardiography you must have completed a certificate program and have an ARDMS registry status in Adult Echocardiography. The pediatric echo program at Harper College consists of a one semester, 8.5 credit-hour certificate for the echocardiographer to expand their skills into pediatric cardiac sonography. Upon completion of the program, the student will be able to identify the most common forms of congenital heart disease on a pediatric echocardiogram as well as perform a diagnostic pediatric echo examination. After graduating from the program, students are encouraged to take the ARDMS examination to become a Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer specializing in Pediatric Echo.
Pediatric echo employment is similar to adult echo tech jobs in that the industry is expected to increase over the next several years. Most students who become certified as a pediatric echo technologist are already employed in adult echocardiography and desire the cross-training in pediatric echocardiography. A pediatric echocardiographer’s salary is also similar to an adult echo tech. The more experience and schooling you have will increase your employment value and make you more competitive in the industry. There are several pediatric echo jobs available around the country, from the east to west coast.
Fetal echocardiography is a technique for diagnosing and assessing cardiac abnormalities in the fetus. Fetal echo is performed using a two-dimensional high resolution ultrasound system. A fetal echocardiogram would be performed if there is suspicion that the baby may have cardiac disease. To specialize in fetal echocardiography you must be trained in fetal cardiology and evaluating heart defects in children.
For those interested in pediatric echocardiography, a society has been created for all professional echocardiographers specializing in pediatrics to come together. The Society of Pediatric Echocardiography (SOPE) was formed in 1975 to provide interaction and collaboration between pediatric cardiologists and sonographers with a specific interest in echocardiography. The Society has expanded and developed the practice and application of echocardiography in pediatrics as well as created guidelines for physician training in pediatric and fetal echocardiography. SOPE is a great community for echocardiographers specializing in pediatrics to interact and learn from one another.