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Grand Valley State University    
2017-2018 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog 
  Jan 22, 2019
2017-2018 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Cardiovascular Sonography - Program Description


Sonographers specialized in echocardiography and vascular sonography utilize sound waves to produce diagnostic images and guide invasive and noninvasive procedures of the body. Sonographers work collaboratively with cardiologists, radiologists, and vascular surgeons to diagnose a diverse range of conditions related to heart and circulatory system. A sonographer practicing in the field of echocardiography and vascular sonography must be well-versed in sectional anatomy, clinical medicine, cardiovascular pathology, and ultrasound physics.

Skills Required for Cardiovascular Sonography

  • Comprehensive understanding of cardiovascular anatomy and physiology
  • Effective communication and interpersonal skills with patients and other health care professionals
  • Critical thinking
  • Time management
  • Ability to master new fine-motor physical skills
  • Compassionate and effective interaction with the sick or injured

What are the Career Opportunities?

Career opportunities for sonographers in adult echocardiography, pediatric echocardiography, and vascular sonography are vast, ranging from inpatient to outpatient settings, large hospitals to private doctors’ offices, as well as the ability to travel. Sonographers will work in collaboration with other medical professionals such as doctors, nurses, stress technicians, and surgeons to provide diagnostic services. Career advancement opportunities exist in education, administration, research, and in commercial companies such as education/application specialists, sales representatives, and technical advisors.

GVSU Cardiovascular Sonography Program

Students receive didactic, laboratory, and clinical experiences in the university’s laboratories and through a clinical education system. Clinical education sites are located as far as three hours from GVSU. Students must have transportation available to these sites. Students should be aware that prior to the beginning of their clinical courses, they must complete comprehensive health compliance obligations including but not limited to a criminal background check, finger printing, and drug screening. It is the responsibility of the student to comply. If there is illegal activity in the background check/finger printing, or if there is evidence of one or more prohibited substances in the drug test, the clinical sites have the right to refuse a student’s placement, a factor which may negatively impact a student’s ability to progress in the cardiovascular sonography (CVS) program. In addition, individuals who have been charged with or convicted of a crime may not be eligible for national certification by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). Students to whom this may apply are strongly advised to work with the ARDMS for pre-application review of eligibility for certification from their website at The ARDMS contact information: Telephone (301) 738-8401 or (800) 541-9754; Fax (301) 738-0312. Students who complete the cardiovascular sonography major from GVSU may become eligible for the ARDMS examinations, upon completion of specific clinical requirements that are promulgated by the credentialing organizations. Information on these requirements changes from time to time and is available on the credentialing organization websites. Granting of the baccalaureate degree is not contingent on taking ARDMS examinations.

Program Accreditation

The cardiovascular sonography program is accredited under the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Program (CAAHEP) and programmatically through the Joint Review Committee on Education in Cardiovascular Technology (JRC-CVT). For more information, please visit

Admission Criteria to the Cardiovascular Sonography Program

Selection Factors

Admission to the cardiovascular sonography (CVS) program is a competitive selective process that requires a secondary application. Prospective students can access the application at The CVS program is administered through the College of Health Professions: Students who complete the prerequisite and general education courses by August of the year they start the program are eligible to apply February first of the same year. This coursework is typically completed by the end of the sophomore year. Applicants are selected to enroll based on the following criteria:

40 percent: Academic grade point average from completed prerequisite courses

  • AHS 100 - Medical Terminology Credits: 3
  • BMS 250 - Anatomy and Physiology I Credits:4
  • BMS 251 - Anatomy and Physiology II Credits: 4
  • MTH 122 - College Algebra Credits: 3
  • PHY 220 - General Physics I Credits: 5
  • PSY 101 - Introductory Psychology Credits: 3
  • SOC 105 - Social Problems Credits: 3
  • STA 215 - Introductory Applied Statistics Credits: 3

One of the following research methods courses:

  • AHS 301 - Introduction to Health Care Research Credits: 3
  • PSY 300 - Research Methods in Psychology Credits: 3
  • BMS 301 - Introduction to Research in the Biomedical Sciences Credits: 3

10 percent: Academic grade point average from previous two calendar years or most recent two calendar years if the student has not been enrolled at a college or university in the past two calendar years.

30 percent: Interview and/or Writing Assessment completed on-site at the College of Health Professions.

5 percent: Completion of 16 hours of documented work or volunteer time in a health field.

5 percent: Two letters of recommendation on university forms.

10 percent: Additional considerations: Educational, leadership, scholarly, work experience, and/or volunteer activities are valued and may impact selection decisions.