Cardiovascular technologists and technicians assist physicians in diagnosing and treating cardiac and peripheral vascular ailments. They perform noninvasive tests using imaging and ultrasound technology and assist with some invasive procedures, such as cardiac catheterization. Typical job responsibilities of cardiovascular technologists and technicians include:
- Preparing patients for medical procedures
- Using imaging and ultrasound equipment to take pictures of a patient's heart
- Assisting physicians with certain invasive procedures
- Reviewing image and other test results with physicians and recording findings
Advances in imaging technology has helped to replace more expensive and invasive procedures. This technology as well as a shift toward more outpatient care and a large, aging baby-boom population are contributing to what the BLS reports will be a 29% increase in jobs for cardiovascular technologists and technicians from 2010 to 2020.Read More
Job Growth for
Cardiovascular Technologist and Technician
Becoming a Cardiovascular Technologist and Technician
Most cardiovascular technologists hold a two-year associate's degree and certification in their clinical field. The BLS reports that most insurance providers, including Medicare, will cover certain procedures only if a certified technologist or technician did the work. Community colleges offer two-year degree programs as well as one-year certificate programs for qualified students. Technologists and technicians will receive some on-the-job training.
Some schools will allow associate degree program graduates to transfer their credits into a bachelor's degree program. Successful completion of most associate degree programs in cardiovascular technology will qualify students for a certification exam in their clinical field. Students should consult with a school advisor to determine the best path of education to realize their career goals. Some typical classes in an associate in cardiovascular technology degree program may include:
- Human Anatomy and Physiology
- Invasive and Noninvasive Cardiology
- Echocardiography Protocols and Techniques
- Cardiovascular Pharmacology
Because of the nature of the work, there are no online cardiovascular degree programs. Most programs will include a clinical requirement where students work in the field under the supervision of an experienced technologist. Technologists and technicians, such as electrocardiogram (EKG) technicians, may need some on-the-job training, depending on the level of education and type of certification they bring to the job.