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Cardiovascular Technologist Vs Technician: Salary, Education & Responsibilities

Cardiovascular technologists and technicians both work with heart-related health tests and treatments, but the work that cardiovascular technologists do can be a little broader. Read on to learn more about how these professions compare.

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Comparing Cardiovascular Technologists to Cardiovascular Technicians

Cardiovascular technologists and cardiovascular technicians both play key roles in the medical care of a patient's heart. Technologists may specialize and assist physicians with treatments or perform medical tests. Technicians primarily focus on performing electrocardiograph (EKG) tests.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Outlook (2014-2024)**
Cardiovascular Technologists Associate's Degree $51,492 22% (for cardiovascular technologists and technicians)
Cardiovascular Technicians Certificate or Associate's Degree $43,476 22% (for cardiovascular technologists and technicians)

Sources: *PayScale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Cardiovascular Technologists vs. Cardiovascular Technicians

Cardiovascular technologists and cardiovascular technicians work in the same general field, so there are some basic similarities in their work. Both may do routine tasks, such as schedule appointments or monitor a patient during a medical test or procedure. They also work directly with patients to explain the procedure and answer their questions. Cardiovascular technologists tend to specialize in a range of procedures that can involve catheterizing patients or operating ultrasounds or other equipment, and they may assist physicians during procedures. Cardiovascular technicians focus on non-invasive tests, and they operate equipment and direct patients so that they can acquire the required test results.

Cardiovascular Technologists

Cardiovascular technologists are typically required to have an associate's degree in their field to prepare for their career. Some may choose to complete a bachelor's degree, and professional certification is highly recommended, as it may help increase job prospects for those seeking employment. Most cardiovascular technologists work in hospitals, although some may work in medical offices. They work shift work and can work any time of the day or night during the week, weekends and holidays. Their work can be physically demanding, so they need to be able to stand for prolonged periods of time, and they also need to be comfortable operating different types of medical equipment.

Job responsibilities of a cardiovascular technologist include:

  • Inserting catheters into patients
  • Providing data to help diagnose patients
  • Preparing patients for procedures
  • Reporting concerns to doctors
  • Evaluating patients' condition during procedures

Cardiovascular Technicians

Cardiovascular technicians typically need a postsecondary certificate or associate's degree to prepare for their career. Professional certification is also beneficial for those pursuing medical careers, and aspiring cardiovascular technicians will want to ensure that they pursue studies from an accredited program. Their job focuses more on monitoring a patient's heart, and they use sensitive medical equipment to do this. Common work environments include hospitals and doctors' offices, and while those that work in medical offices may have more regular hours, those employed in hospitals can expect to work in shifts around the clock.

Job responsibilities of a cardiovascular technician include:

  • Attaching equipment to patients and operating EKG machines
  • Answering patient questions about the procedure
  • Evaluating the patient's condition during things like stress tests
  • Increasing the speed of treadmills
  • Booking appointments

Related Careers

There are a number of other medical careers that may appeal to those considering being a cardiovascular technologist or cardiovascular technician. Radiation therapists perform medical tests and treatments on patients, and respiratory therapy technicians also assist physicians with medical tests and treatments.

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