Vascular 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.

Kelly Gardner, BS, RDCS (AE, PE), RVT, has joined us as our vascular 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:
Jan 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. Recently we have designed our program to include the ever-changing field of vascular sonography. The vascular 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 vascular 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 vascular anatomy and physiology and gain an understanding of basic pathology and vascular diagnostic procedures.


The goals of the program are to educate and develop skilled vascular 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 listed on Page 20 of the 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.

SubjectClock Hours
Patient Care25
Introduction to Vascular165
Advanced Vascular147
Imaging Lab426
Clinical Rotation848


The Progam is 51 weeks, includes 1,676 clock hours, and is offered once a year.  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 medical terminology, pharmacology, basic diagnostic procedures, blood-borne pathogens, pathophysiology and infectious diseases. 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 ever- challenging ultrasound physics principles and instrumentation.
  • Introduction to Vascular– This comprehensive course will provide an overview of the principles of ultrasound, sound in general, and ultrasound as in imaging technology.  The course will explain how it is a useful and flexible modality in medical imaging and often provides an additional or unique characterization of tissues compared to other modalities.  The course will also introduce the arterial and venous system of the human body including scanning the following vascular studies:  carotid duplex, extremity arterial, extremity venous, abdominal aortic duplex, aortoiliac duplex, renal artery duplex and ABI.
  • Advanced Vascular– This comprehensive course will provide an overview of vascular anatomy of the human body; including cerebrovascular, intracranial, extremity arterial, extremity venous and abdominal vasculature in relationship to the abdominal aorta, mesenteric and renal arteries/veins.  This course will also prepare students for the national registry exam.
  • 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 vascular 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.

Apply Online


As our schooling is coming to an end I just wanted to let you know what an amazing experience this has been!  To see how much much we’ve all learned and how far we’ve come is unbelievable!  I’ve recommended this program to everyone who asks about it!  Kelly is BY FAR the most amazing instructor I’ve ever had during any of my years of higher education!  Her ability to deliver information in a completely understandable manner has made all of us what we are today!  Not only did she teach us in the lab, everything we’ve learned in the classroom has been more than I ever would have expected.  She cares so much about all of us succeeding and it has shown from day one!  I have no doubt in my mind that her support and encouragement through this year has made us SONOGRAPHERS!  She’s there for advice day and night.  She’s been someone who I could count on for advice during clinicals and her willingness to go above and beyond to help everyone on an individual level has set this program so much higher than any other program around.  Just hearing other people at my clinicals describe their programs and experiences has made me so happy I went with AZ Heart Foundation and had what appears to be the most personable, caring, and knowledgeable instructor in this entire field!

Thanks for everything!

– Katy

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 communications 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).