I don't know what stories you've heard, but it's an outstanding job. You can work in outpatient diagnostics, inpatient radiology, echocardiography, OB-GYN, and surgery. There are specialty exams you can take for additional certifications in the field. A starting echo tech makes about as much as a new grad nurse.
To my knowledge, they are all two-year degrees. I am not aware of any diploma programs. To be eligible to sit for the board exam, you must have an A.A.S. degree in ultrasonography.
Respiratory therapist (B.S., RRT, RPFT) -- work with a lot of echo techs in cardiovascular diagnostics
Working on my master's in nursing