Cardio technicians perform heart-related medical examinations, typically while working in hospitals or other medical facilities. Either certification or an associate's degree program must be completed although training also occurs on the job.
Cardiology or cardiovascular technicians assist with medical tests and procedures involving the heart, such as electrocardiograms (EKGs) and cardiac catheterizations. An associate's degree is the standard for training, although individuals who are employed in other healthcare technology jobs may qualify through a certificate program. Professional certification is not required, but most employers prefer to hire someone with certification.
|Required Education||Associate's degree in cardiovascular technology; existing healthcare professionals can earn a certificate|
|Other Requirements||Professional certification recommended|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||22% for cardiovascular technologists and technicians|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)*||$54,880 for cardiovascular technologists and technicians|
Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Cardio Technician Career Profile
Cardio technicians operate heart and lung machines, perform laboratory tests and monitor physiological pressure systems. They also prepare reports regarding patients' treatment plans, evaluate test results and prepare progress reports. In addition to electrocardiography, other typical tests cardio technicians perform include exercise testing and pacemaker follow-ups.
Most cardio techs work in hospitals, but there are some jobs in physicians' offices, health clinics, diagnostic imaging centers and medical laboratories. Evening, holiday and weekend work is often required.
Career and Economic Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the job outlook for cardiovascular technologists and technicians will grow 22% during the years 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). This growth is much faster than average rate for other occupations. The median annual salary of cardiovascular technologists and technicians was $54,880 in 2015.
To become a cardio technician, an individual must typically complete an associate's degree program and receive on-the-job training, although some may receive training through certificate programs. Classes in the program may include human anatomy and physiology, EKG theory and applications, patient assessment, cardiovascular pharmacology, medical electronics and instrumentation, vital signs and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). In addition to coursework, students are also required to complete a certain number hours in clinical settings.
Cardio technicians can choose to become certified to enhance their employment opportunities. Although it may not be a requirement, most employers prefer prospective cardio technicians to have certain credentials. Aspiring cardio technicians who have completed their training can obtain certification through the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and the Cardiovascular Credentialing International by passing certification examinations. They may also need to complete continuing education courses to remain certified.
Earning an associate's degree or certificate are two ways one can become a cardio technician. Besides formal training, cardio technicians should be detail-oriented and analytically inclined. Certification may also help launch employment opportunities.