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Cardiopulmonary Technologist: Job Description, Salary & Career Info

Cardiopulmonary technologists require some formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and certification options to see if this is the right career for you.

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An undergraduate degree in either cardiovascular or cardiopulmonary technology will be sufficient for this job. These professionals work alongside a doctor where they manage patients' heart problems. Certification and registration are optional.

Essential Information

Cardiopulmonary technologists, also known as cardiovascular technologists, assist patients with medical problems in the blood vessels, heart and lungs. This career requires an associate's or bachelor's degree. Voluntary certification exams are available through the National Board for Respiratory Care.

Required Education Associate's or bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Voluntary certification
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 22% for all cardiovascular technologists and technicians
Mean Annual Salary (2015)* $56,100 for all cardiovascular technologists and technicians

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description for a Cardiopulmonary Technologist

Under the supervision of a doctor, cardiopulmonary technologists diagnose and care for patients with blood vessel and heart related problems. They administer tests, such as stress testing, sleep studies, oxygen studies, cilia function studies, cystic fibrosis screenings and arterial blood gas examinations. They are responsible for cleaning and maintaining equipment. Cardiopulmonary technologists also prepare patients for medical procedures by gathering medical histories and explaining procedures. Additionally, during a procedure a cardiopulmonary technologist must monitor equipment and patients for abnormalities that may require emergency response.

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Salary Information for a Cardiopulmonary Technologist

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected faster-than-average growth of 22% for cardiovascular technologists and technicians, which includes cardiopulmonary technologists, from 2014 to 2024 (www.bls.gov). The demand is expected to stem from the advances in early detecting and prevalence of heart disease in the aging population. The mean annual wage for cardiovascular technologists and technicians as of May 2015 was $56,100 according to the BLS.

Cardiopulmonary Technologist Career Information

Education Information

An associate's degree is a common educational path for cardiopulmonary technologists, although bachelor degrees are available. In addition to lectures and laboratory experience, cardiopulmonary technologists gain practical experience via clinical internships. Cardiopulmonary technologists can major in cardiopulmonary technology or cardiovascular technology.

Certification Information

State licensure is not a requirement for this career; however, voluntary certification and credentialing is available. Cardiopulmonary technologists interested in credentialing as a Registered Pulmonary Functions Technologist can pursue certification with the National Board for Respiratory Care (www.nbrc.org).

The Registered Pulmonary Functions Technologist examination is a 115 question multiple-choice test over the information a cardiopulmonary technologist acquired while enrolled in an approved educational program. To maintain this designation, continuing education hours must be fulfilled every five years.

To put it simply, cardiopulmonary technologists run medical procedures on a patient's heart to test or care for problems. They require a bachelor's or associate degree in an applicable field, and may opt for certification and/or registration. The average salary for these professionals is $56,100.

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