Cardiac Ultrasound Program

Established in 1982 by Edward B. Diethrich, MD, the Arizona Heart Foundation School of Cardiac Ultrasound was one of the premier programs in the United States dedicated to the development of tomorrow’s sonographers. The program has evolved to include the ever-changing field of vascular sonography and is now known as the School of Cardiac & Vascular Ultrasound.

The comprehensive 12-month programs are offered once a year and include classroom instruction, extensive hands-on scanning experience and clinical rotations. The programs are designed for individuals currently working in the field of ultrasound or who are considering entering the profession.

Jason Kendrick, BA, RDCS (AE), RVT, has joined us as our cardiac instructor and director of program development.

Our faculty’s expertise, coupled with small class sizes, not only prepares our students for the national registry exams but also results in graduates with a discernible difference. More than 500 highly-qualified sonographers have graduated from the program. Our graduates provide quality patient care, possess leadership positions in their profession, and dedicate themselves as life-long learners.

The Details

Next Start Date:
July 6, 2020


The School has earned a strong reputation as a leader in cardiac ultrasound training for over 35 years and is licensed by the State of Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education. The program is designed to meet and exceed the minimum clinical clock hour requirements as recommended by Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI).


The program offers an in-depth clinical experience that will enable students to produce accurate, high-quality echocardiographic images through classroom instruction, hands-on experience with patient models, anatomical lab opportunities, and clinical rotations. Students will have the opportunity to learn the distinction between normal and abnormal cardiovascular anatomy and physiology, and gain an understanding of basic pathology and cardiovascular diagnostic procedures.


The goals of the program are to educate and develop skilled cardiac sonographers and to assist them in understanding the importance of their role in the allied health care team as they contribute to patient care.

Please refer to the specific goals as indicated on page 15 of our 2019 catalog.


The program is 12 months, includes 1,676 clock hours, and is offered once a year.

Hours and Days of Instruction
Classroom sessions and clinical rotations will total at least 35 hours per week. Some weekend and/or evening hours may be required. Cardiac students are required to participate in TOPS screenings as scheduled and are encouraged to participate in Bates Foundation screenings.

SubjectClock Hours
Patient Care25
Introduction to Echocardiography165
Advanced Echocardiography147
Imaging Lab426
Clinical Rotation848


Students must participate in all components of the program, including reporting to clinical sites as assigned. The School will review any transcripts or certificates from previous education and training and will grant credit where appropriate.

  • Patient Care – This course includes an overview of cardiac anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, pharmacology, basic diagnostic procedures, blood-borne pathogens, pathophysiology and infectious diseases. It also includes how to interact with patients in a clinical setting as well as the topic of professionalism will be discussed.
  • Physics – By following the National Education Common curricula, the theory of ultrasound physics and how to apply these principles to imaging studies are discussed. Multi-media presentations are employed to present the ultrasound physics principles and instrumentation.
  • Introduction to Echocardiography – This comprehensive course will provide an overview of the basic principles of adult echocardiography, including the technique of performing cardiac ultrasound examinations. The standard measurements for each echocardiography discipline will be presented; normal anatomy as well as cardiac pathology will be emphasized. Each component of the cardiovascular principles examination outline will be presented. Major topics include anatomy and physiology, technique, Doppler, valvular heart disease, ischemic heart disease, diseases of the aorta, congenital heart disease, pericardial disease, hypertension, cardiomyopathies, and cardiac tumors.
  • Advanced Echocardiography – This course will be the final preparation for the registry exam. Students will have an in-depth understanding of the cardiac cycle, cardiac anatomy and physiology, standard 2-D views, M-mode and real-time measurements, Doppler calculations, pathology and stress echocardiography.
  • Advanced Echocardiography Imaging Lab – This course ensures the development of the student’s scanning skills as well as the appropriate use of protocol. Students begin training in the school’s imaging lab during the first week of the program. Patient models are used exclusively in order to help students identify a variety of anatomies and indications. Students will be fully prepared to enter echo clinical rotations and perform studies independently.
  • Clinical Rotation – Students gain independence and confidence while increasing their skill level under the direct supervision of the clinical instructors.

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AZ Heart Foundation School of Ultrasound Mission

The mission of the school is to provide graduates with a complete educational experience to become a cardiac or vascular professional sonographer. The program provides each student opportunities to learn and develop communication skills, critical thinking and technical skills that adapt to changing technologies in sonography, professional development, and interpersonal skills. The school enhances academic integrity and acceptable professional behavior with skills necessary to perform in the healthcare environment as a Registered Cardiac Sonographer (RCS) or Registered Vascular Sonographer (RVS).