Invasive cardiovascular technicians help prepare and monitor patients for heart surgery, and may also help doctors catheterize a patient's heart. An associate's degree in cardiovascular technology is required to work as an invasive cardiovascular technician.
An invasive cardiovascular technician, also called a cardiology technologist, is a medical assistance professional who helps physicians in hospitals with invasive catheterization procedures into a patient's heart. They also help prepare and monitor patients for different types of heart surgery. Invasive cardiovascular techs are required to complete a formal training program in cardiovascular technology; most of these programs can be completed in two years.
|Required Education||Associate's degree program in cardiovascular technology; a few bachelor's degrees in the field are available|
|Other Requirements||Credentialing required by most employers; examinations available through the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) and the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI); professional experience may be required|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||24% for diagnostic medical sonographers, and cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including vascular technologists|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$54,880 for cardiovascular technologists and technicians|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Salary Info for Cardiovascular Technicians
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for a cardiovascular technician or technologist in May 2015 was $54,880. This varied significantly by the state and type of medical facility in which they worked.
Training and Credential Requirements
It is common for a would-be cardiology technologist to complete a two-year associate's degree program in cardiovascular technology. There are now a few four-year programs available, with a focus on both core education and specialized instruction, but they are less common. Applicants should look for programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Professionals.
Most employers also require the technician to have professional credentials to prove competency. Both the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) and the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) offer credentialing exams.
Through the CCI, becoming a Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS) requires some combination of an associate's or higher degree and six months to two years professional experience. The ARDMS has similar requirements for becoming a Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS), a more general credential.
The majority of all cardiovascular technicians work in hospitals, according to the BLS, but they can also find work in medical labs, physicians' offices or outpatient care centers. The work environment is stressful, as some cardiovascular patients face life-threatening conditions.
The job outlook is excellent; according to the BLS the employment of diagnostic medical sonographers, and cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including vascular technologists, is expected to grow 24% between 2014 and 2024, which is much faster than average when compared to all occupations. This demand comes from the aging population and the prevalence of heart disease. Technicians trained to perform many procedures and with multiple credentials will have the best job prospects.
With strong job growth expected from 2014-2024, applicants with an associate's degree in cardiovascular technology will be prepared to compete for jobs as an invasive cardiovascular technician. A four-year degree program is also available. Invasive cardiovascular technicians may be required to take the ARDMS or CCI exams, and can pursue further training to specialize as a registered diagnostic cardiac sonographer.