Cardiovascular Sonography - Additional Information

General Information

Students must meet the standard of a 2.0 GPA in all sonography coursework to maintain active student status in the program.

The Diagnostic Medical Sonographer and Cardiovascular Sonographer are skilled members of the imaging health care team. The sonographer must possess in-depth knowledge of human anatomy, physiology and pathology to apply to imaging procedures.

As there are several specialties within the realm of ultrasound, a sonographer’s specific specialty area(s) will be determined by personal interests, background, and training. The sonographer comes into close contact with patients, which necessitates excellent interpersonal skills and ethical behavior.

Imaging procedures are performed with real-time, M-mode and Doppler instrumentation, utilizing a transducer assembly against the anatomical part of interest and recording the images with ancillary devices. Noninvasive peripheral vascular studies also utilize blood pressure cuffs and other devices for assessing hemodynamic properties. Most sonography procedures are non-invasive although, with continuing advances in technology, the addition of more invasive studies increases each year to benefit patient diagnosis and disease management.

All classroom and laboratory instruction is offered at the Chattanooga State main campus Mondays and Tuesdays on alternating weeks, and at least one Wednesday per month, throughout the 12-month program. Clinical education takes place at one of the many pre-approved clinic sites located within the region, or faculty may assist the setup of a new site in the student’s area. A full-time commitment is required to complete all didactic and clinical courses in this program. Due to the high concentration of studies, it is highly suggested that traditional students make arrangements to work no more than 20 hours per week during the program year.

Health care professionals who can document at least one year of full-time experience in Sonography may qualify as non-traditional students, using their workplace as the clinic site with potential rotations elsewhere (see page 4). A sonographer who is already ARDMS certified may seek part-time status in either of the programs.

Program Affiliates

Clinical Program Affiliates are located and may be added in various parts of the region including Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. It is the goal of the program to assign students to clinical facilities in their own vicinities. Program administration will consider additional clinical facilities for submission to the JRC-DMS as potential affiliates.

Hotel Accommodations

You may wish to look online at sites such as or for a map search of hotels in the area, or check a site such as for hotel rates. Presently, the closest hotels to the campus are those hotels in Hixson, TN. Though Chattanooga State has no contracts with area hotels for special rates, traditionally, when our students explain that they will be staying on a consistent basis throughout the year, promotional rates have been provided.

Work Settings

Employment opportunities are varied. Sonographers may be employed in hospitals, clinics, private offices, and industry. There is also a need for suitably qualified educators, researchers and administrators. The demand for registered sonographers continues to exceed the supply, and sonography has become a beneficial skill in the multi-modality health care environment. The supply and demand ratios affect salaries, depending upon experience, job description and geographic location.

Additional Requirements & Expectations

Students must meet the standard of a 2.0 GPA in all sonography coursework to maintain active student status in the program.

Student Position Description and Technical Standards

Major Tasks of Job Performance and Clinical Education:

  • Communicate with patients and staff appropriately and effectively in the proper completion of examinations.
  • Retrieve and dispatch patients within the department.
  • Provide for the patient’s physical safety and well-being while he/she is under the care of the sonography department.
  • Provide basic care and/or life support services when necessary.
  • Utilize proper body mechanics and safety considerations in both diagnostic procedures and while assisting with patient movement.
  • Apply the knowledge of physical principles of diagnostic ultrasound in recognizing structures and/or overcoming scanning difficulties.
  • Apply a working knowledge of the mechanics and operational features of various ultrasound and physiologic units equipment.
  • Obtain an in-depth knowledge of anatomical imaging, as identified sonographically, of pertinent body systems.
  • Obtain an in-depth knowledge of pathology and pathophysiology, as identified sonographically, of pertinent body systems.
  • Evaluate the patient’s clinical and laboratory histories in order to assess the appropriate anatomical areas for the sonologist.
  • Tailor each examination to the patient, according to history, body habitus, and disease process, while remaining within the guidelines of the protocol.
  • Survey and scan clinically relevant areas, correlating clinical information with findings.
  • Recognize and record representative images and measurements of both normal and abnormal findings.
  • Be familiar with differential diagnoses of common disease processes which can be identified sonographically and physiologically.
  • Serve as a functioning member of the diagnostic team, assisting fellow sonographers, the sonologist, referring physicians and patients as necessary or as directed.
  • Process and/or retrieve recorded image products.
  • Discuss image results with the sonologist, giving adequate history and impression.
  • Perform basic equipment testing and maintenance procedures.
  • Assist with office and clerical work when absolutely necessary.
  • Apply departmental and nationally recognized rules and regulations for appropriate patient care and safety.
  • Prepare and maintain accurate patient records in a confidential manner.
  • Perform cardiac and/or sonography tasks for an eight-hour assignment for a full-time curriculum.
  • Recognize when, as clinically applicable, to notify the sonologist or the patient’s referring physician while the patient is still within the department.
  • Engage in all possible learning processes to assure proficiency within the profession of cardiovascular sonography.

Compliance with Technical Standards

An applicant or student who is considered to be unable to meet the minimum standards necessary for job performance must demonstrate necessary compliance (or ability to comply, if an applicant) with standards for consideration of admittance or continuance in the diagnostic medical sonography program.

Background Checks

Following acceptance and prior to entering the first career course in designated health care programs, each student must undergo a background check in order to comply with policies of affiliating clinical practice agencies. It shall be the student’s responsibility to comply with instructions provided upon acceptance and provide the results by a designated date. Associated expenses will be the responsibility of the student irrespective of outcome. Students who do not meet this requirement in a timely manner or who do not meet clinical standards will not be able to successfully enter clinical assignments associated with program completion.

Additionally, some background results may preclude future licensure or employment.