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Cardiovascular technicians and technologists help physicians as they diagnose and treat heart-related conditions and illnesses in patients. Specifically, they use technology to help create images of and around the heart or carry out other procedures to help doctors in providing care. They may also be responsible for assisting doctors and surgeons in specific surgical procedures. Cardiovascular techs often specialize in one of three areas: invasive cardiology, noninvasive technology or vascular technology.

Day in the Life of a Cardiovascular Technician

A cardiovascular technologist may work in any of a variety of settings: doctors' offices, diagnostic imaging centers, hospitals, medical centers, medical and diagnostic laboratories, and mobile diagnostic units.

On a typical day, a cardiovascular technician:

  • Explain procedures to patients.
  • Obtain and record medical history from patients.
  • Determine equipment settings and ensure it is operating correctly.
  • Move or lift patients, or adjust a patient's position during a procedure.
  • Distinguish between normal and abnormal cardiac imagery.

A cardiac technician usually works 40 hours a week, sometimes on the weekends. Individuals who work in catheterization laboratories may need to work into the evening or be on-call.

Certain daily responsibilities vary according to the cardiovascular tech's specialty. Here is a breakdown of the duties associated with each specialty:

Invasive cardiology: These technicians assist physicians with cardiac catheter implant procedures where a catheter is passed through/threaded from the patient's groin, through the artery, to the heart.

Noninvasive technology: These technicians specialize in vascular technology or echocardiography and perform noninvasive tests, which don't require insertion of probes or instruments into a patient's body. Ultrasound, the use of high-frequency sound waves applied to a specific area of a patient's body, is considered noninvasive.

Vascular technology: These technologists use various procedures to capture and record vascular information, such as blood flow and oxygen saturation.

Electrocardiography: These workers obtain electrocardiograms (or EKGs) of a patient's heart. The technician traces the electrical impulses that are transmitted by the heart.

Echocardiography: Ultrasound is used to examine heart chambers, valves and vessels.

Important Characteristics for Cardiovascular Technician

The most successful cardiovascular technologists have a mechanical aptitude and a keen eye for detail. Good communication skills and interpersonal abilities allow them to put their patients' minds at ease during what can be a stressful time. Cardiovascular techs should also be reliable and able to follow directions. They should also have the strength and stamina to stand for long periods of time and lift or move patients.

Education Requirements

To start a career as a cardiovascular technologist, most students earn an associate degree from a community college that has an accredited cardiovascular technology program. However, four-year programs are also available for those wishing to further focus their studies.

Licensing is not required in all states, but in states that do require it, certification is usually part of the process. Requirements vary state to state.

States don't require certification to become a cardiovascular technologist. Instead, the health care industry has its own professional standard, which dictates professional credentialing. Many employers require credentialing of prospective employees.

Two agencies offer credentials for cardiovascular technologists:

  • The Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI)
  • The American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS)

Both organizations require that students complete an accredited program before they take the credentialing exams. Continuing education is another requirement for cardiovascular technologists to maintain certification.

Career Tips

Once you've established yourself as a cardiovascular technologist, you can take your career to the next level with these steps:

  • Never stop learning: Advanced certifications can increase your chances for advancement and finding better-paying positions. Consider niche areas of study to broaden your professional appeal.
  • Maintain your certifications: Continuing education though a cardiovascular technician program can help you stay abreast of current trends and news in your profession and shows your commitment to education.
  • Teach others your trade: If you have an aptitude for teaching, consider helping prospective students learn to be cardiovascular technologists.

Sources:

  • Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, Including Vascular Technologists, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/diagnostic-medical-sonographers.htm
  • Summary Report for Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, O*NET OnLine, https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/29-2031.00

Cardiovascular Technician Education Overview and Career Guide Skills

Below are the skills needed to be cardiovascular technician education overview and career guide according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Skill NameImportanceCompetence
Active Listening3.883.88
Critical Thinking3.753.75
Monitoring3.753.75
Operation Monitoring3.753.12
Speaking3.753.62

Cardiovascular Technician Education Overview and Career Guide Abilities

Below are the abilities needed to be cardiovascular technician education overview and career guide according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Ability NameImportanceCompetence
Problem Sensitivity4.124.12
Near Vision43.62
Oral Comprehension44
Oral Expression44
Deductive Reasoning3.623.88

Cardiovascular Technician Education Overview and Career Guide Knowledge

Below are the knowledge areas needed to be cardiovascular technician education overview and career guide according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Knowledge AreaImportanceCompetence
Customer and Personal Service4.295
Medicine and Dentistry3.894.06
English Language3.873.44
Computers and Electronics3.313.89
Education and Training3.272.9

Cardiovascular Technician Education Overview and Career Guide Work activities

Below are the work activities involved in being cardiovascular technician education overview and career guide according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

   
Work ActivityImportanceCompetence
Assisting and Caring for Others4.575.58
Documenting/Recording Information4.484.51
Interacting With Computers4.33.69
Getting Information4.164.42
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events4.114.92

Cardiovascular Technician Education Overview and Career Guide Work styles

Below are the work styles involved in being cardiovascular technician education overview and career guide according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

   
Work StyleImportance
Concern for Others4.67
Attention to Detail4.6
Cooperation4.59
Dependability4.52
Stress Tolerance4.44

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for
Cardiovascular Technician Education Overview and Career Guide

Listed below are the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in Cardiovascular Technician Education Overview and Career Guide jobs , as of 2017

   
Metro AreaTotal EmploymentAnnual Mean Salary
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington1,930 $54,210
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim1,610 $71,390
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach1,580 $49,810
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land1,480 $51,150
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn1,200 $59,600
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell970 $56,360
San Antonio-New Braunfels850 $40,150
Pittsburgh700 $53,110
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater600 $47,950
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward600 $84,370

Compare Total Employment & Salaries for Cardiovascular Techs

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Total employment and salary for professions similar to cardiovascular techs

Source : 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; O*NET® 23.1 Database, O*NET OnLine, National Center for O*NET Development, Employment & Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, onetonline.org

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