Advanced Cardiac Sonographer (ACS) Credentialing Program

The Advanced Cardiac Sonographer (ACS) credentialing program was developed in response to a need to expand a career track for sonographers who practice at an advanced level in the echocardiography laboratory. The ACS is committed to improving lab quality and efficiency through preparing preliminary echo assessments; performing advanced echocardiograms; mentoring fellows, students, residents, and staff; developing and implementing educational plans; facilitating continuous quality improvement; and coordinating cardiac ultrasound research.

 

Click here for more information about the Advanced Cardiovascular Sonography profession and view the white paper and standards for The Committee on Accreditation for Advanced Cardiovascular Sonography (COA-ACS).

 
CCI is now accepting applications for the ACS. Click here to download the ACS Examination Application and Overview.  For general information about CCI and details about the examination application process, please review the CCI General Overview Booklet.  CLICK HERE to download the CCI General Overview Booklet.
 
CCI congratulates the first Advanced Cardiac Sonographers from the pilot in 2015! Click here to view the list

 

ACS quicktab

 

All applicants must meet the following criteria:
1. Have a high school diploma or general education diploma at the time of application.
2. Fulfill one (1) of the qualifications of the exam for which you are applying. See qualifications listed in the table below.
3. Provide typed documentation to support the qualification under which you are applying. Required documentation for each qualification is listed below. CCI reserves the right to request additional information.

 

Qualification Prerequisite # Qualification Prerequisite Supporting Documentation
ACS1 A graduate of an Advanced Cardiac Sonography educational program which has been accredited by the Committee on Accreditation for Advanced Cardiovascular Sonography (COA-ACS)*

A copy of a graduate certificate

AND

Student verification letter from the Advanced Cardiac Sonography educational program director.

´╗┐ACS2 A graduate of a programmatically accredited program in cardiac ultrasound/echocardiography.*

AND

Hold an active echocardiography registry credential (includes but not limited to RCS, RCCS, or RDCS)

AND

Seven (7) years of cardiac ultrasound clinical experience as a registered echocardiography sonographer. It is anticipated, but not required, that the applicant have performed a minimum of 8000 echocardiograms in their career which is defined as work experience and/or formal clinical education program.

A copy of a graduate certificate from the programmatically accredited educational program.

AND

Copy of wallet card showing date earned and active through date of registry credential (RCS, RCCS or RDCS)

AND

Employment verification letter which indicates time period of employment and primary duties of applicant, and clinical competence related to the field of cardiac ultrasound.

 

ACS3

A graduate of a diploma, associate, or baccalaureate academic program in health science (including, but not limited to, cardiovascular technology, ultrasound, radiologic technology, respiratory therapy, or nursing)

AND

Hold an active echocardiography registry credential (includes but not limited to RCS, RCCS,
or RDCS)

AND

Eight (8) years of cardiac ultrasound clinical experience as a registered echocardiography sonographer. It is anticipated, but not required, that the applicant have performed a minimum of 8000 echocardiograms in their career which is defined as work experience and/or formal clinical education program.

A copy of a graduate certificate

AND

Copy of wallet card showing date earned and active through date of registry credential (RCS, RCCS or RDCS)

AND

Employment verification letter which indicates time period of employment and primary duties of applicant, and clinical competence related to the field of cardiac ultrasound.

ACS4

Hold an active echocardiography registry credential (includes but not limited to RCS, RCCS,
or RDCS)

AND

Ten (10) years of cardiac ultrasound clinical experience as a registered echocardiography sonographer. It is anticipated, but not required, that the applicant have performed a minimum of 8000 echocardiograms in their career which is defined as work experience and/or formal clinical education program.

Copy of wallet card showing date earned and active through date of registry credential (RCS, RCCS, or RDCS)

AND

Employment verification letter which indicates time period of employment and primary duties of applicant, and clinical competence related to the field of cardiac ultrasound.

 * An accredited program is accredited by an agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), United States Department of Education (USDOE), or Canadian Medical Association (CMA), that specifically conducts programmatic accreditation for cardiovascular technology, diagnostic cardiac sonography, or vascular technology

 

CCI requires the Student Verification Letter contain the following:

Educational program’s original, official letterhead or stationery.
2) Indicate the date the letter was signed by educational director.
3) Indicate the name of the applicant.
4) Indicate full- or part-time student.
5) Indicate the date or expected date of graduation.
6) Indicate the specialty of the educational program.
7) Original signature of the educational director.
 

CCI requires the Employment Verification Letter contain the following:

1) Employer’s original, official letterhead or stationery.
2) Indicate the date the letter was signed by employer/supervisor. Should not be older than six months from the date the application is received at CCI Headquarters.
3) Indicate the name of the applicant.
4) Indicate full- or part-time employment.
5) Indicate the time period of employment.
6) Indicate the primary duties of applicant, related to the field of cardiovascular technology.
7) Original signature of direct supervisor, who must be an MD or DO or hold an active echocardiography credential (includes but not limited to RCCS, RCS, or RDCS).

ACS Matrix & Task List Tuesday, December 23rd 2014 9:21 AM

Examination Matrix & Task List

The examination matrix is provided to illustrate the general distribution of questions and the relative weight or emphasis given to a skill or content area on the examination. The bulleted task list below describes the activities which an Advanced Cardiac Sonographer is expected to perform on the job. All examination questions are linked to these tasks.

CONTENT CATEGORY/DUTIES AND TASKS APPROXIMATE % OF EXAMINATION
Performing Preliminary Echo Assessments
  • Review Echo Image Quality and Completeness
  • Identify Cardiovascular Abnormalities
  • Create Preliminary Echo Report
  • Ensure Report Completeness and Accuracy
56%

Performing Advanced Echocardiograms

  • Ensure Patient Safety and Satisfaction
  • Assimilate History and Clinical Findings
  • Develop Echo Protocols
  • Acquire Echo Images
  • Tailor Echo Exam
  • Perform Echo Measurements and Calculations 
25%

Perform specialized echocardiographic techniques

  • Perform stress echocardiography
  • Perform contrast echocardiography
3%
Developing and Implementing Educational Plans
  • Identify Desired Outcomes
  • Prepare Educational Materials and Plan
  • Deliver Educational Materials
  • Measure Continued Performance 
8%
Facilitating Continuous Quality Improvement
  • Develop CQI Program
  • Implement CQI Processes
  • Analyze CQI Results
  • Execute an Action Plan
  • Facilitate Echo Lab Accreditation 
6%
Coordinating Cardiac Ultrasound Research
  • Identify a Research Topic
  • Assist with Research Design
  • Collect Research Data
  • Analyze Research Data
  • Disseminate Research Results
2%
TOTAL 100%

 

Knowledge List

The list below describes general areas of knowledge that are needed in order to perform the tasks identified. This knowledge will apply across multiple tasks.

Acquired heart disease
Aortic Disease
Cardiac catherization
Cardiomyopathies
Complications (e.g., post procedural)
Cardiovascular hemodynamics
Congenital heart disease (Simple and Complex)
Contrast Echo (e.g., LVO, MCE)
Coronary and Ischemic Heart Disease
CQI and performance improvement
Diastolic Function
Educational Theory
Heart Failure and Stroke
Interventional procedures
Mitral Valve Disease
National guidelines and standards
Pathology
Pericardial disease
Right Heart Disease
Strain Echo
Systemic disease
TEE

 

The resources listed below are intended as recommended resources when preparing for examination. You may have previous or later editions of these or other references available that also present acceptable coverage of the subject matter. Any general text in cardiovascular techniques and evaluation, and cardiac patient care and management may be used. It is not necessary to use all of the texts identified. They are provided as suggestions only. CCI does not endorse or recommend any third-party review course or material.

 

1. Publications and Reports of the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE), Raleigh, NC. All new ASE Guidelines published on www.asecho.org/Guidelines.
2. Oh, Jae K., J. B. Seward, and A. Jamil Tajik. The Echo Manual. 3rd ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2006.
3. Otto, Catherine. Practice of Clinical Echocardiography. 4th ed. Elsevier Health Sciences, 2012.
4. Anderson, Bonita. A Sonographer’s Guide to the Assessment of Heart Disease, 1st ed. MGA Graphics, 2013.
5. Gillam, Linda, and Otto, Catherine. Advance Approaches in Echocardiograpy. 1st ed. Elsevier Health Sciences, 2011.
6. Armstrong, William F., Thomas Ryan, and Harvey Feigenbaum. Feigenbaum’s echocardiography. 7th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2010.
7. Weyman, Arthur. Principles and Practice of Echocardiography, 2nd ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 1994.
8. Klein, Allan, Asher, Craig. Clinical Echocardiography Review: A Self-Assessment Tool, 1st ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2011.
9. Popham, W.J. (2000). Modern educational measurement: Practical guidelines for educational leaders (3rd ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
10. Morrison, G. R., Ross, S.M., Kalman, H.K. & Kemp, J.E. (2011). Designing effective instruction (6th ed.). Somerset, NJ: John Wiley.
11. Brassard, Michael, and Diane, Ritter, The Memory Jogger II, Goal/QPC, 1994 (nice compact QI resource)
12. George, Michael L., John Maxey, David T. Rowlands, and Mark Price, The Lean Six Sigma Pocket Toolbook: A Quick Reference Guide to nearly 100 Tools for Improving Quality, Speed, and Complexity, New York: McGraw-Hill, 2005.
13. Shea, Gordon F.: Mentoring: A Practical Guide. Menlo Park, Ca: Crisp Publications, 1997.

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