Cardiopulmonary Technician Education Requirements and Job Duties

Cardiopulmonary technicians require some formal education. Learn about the degree programs, job duties and certification opportunities to see if this is the right career for you.

Essential Information

Cardiopulmonary technicians, also called cardiovascular technologists or technicians, perform and assist with tests on patients to evaluate lung function and vascular health. Education is typically achieved through a 2-year degree program, and additional training is earned on the job. Bachelor's degree programs are available as well. In all types of programs, students learn through classroom courses and hands-on experiences. Many employers prefer to hire certified technicians, and this requires graduation from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Professionals (CAAHEP).

Required Education Associate's degree in cardiovascular technology
Projected Job Growth30% from 2012-2022*
Median Salary $53,210 (2013)*

Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Educational Requirements for a Cardiopulmonary Technician

Educational preparation for cardiopulmonary technicians can be completed in as little as two years at a community college. Entry-level positions are commonly held by those who earn associate's degrees; however, 4-year bachelor's degree programs are also available and may lead to better job opportunities. Coursework in this field covers human anatomy, physiology and medical terminology. Lessons also address specialized instruction in using the equipment necessary to analyze cardiovascular health.

Educational programs for cardiovascular and cardiopulmonary technology are accredited by CAAHEP. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (, the CAAHEP accredited 34 programs in 2009. Students who choose to train through an accredited program are eligible to gain certification.


Credentials can be obtained from the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) once an examination has been satisfactorily passed. Those who wish to maintain professional certification must complete the required continuing education hours. Advancement opportunities exist for those with credentials in more than one cardiovascular or cardiopulmonary specialty area. Increased levels of education and training allow technicians to become technologists and encounter greater opportunities to advance to management positions.

Job Duties

Cardiopulmonary technicians and technologists works alongside doctors to study lung and blood vessel disorders in patients. They may create and review patient files, explain test procedures to the patient and create records for the doctor to evaluate.

Cardiopulmonary technicians also prepare patients for testing procedures and take blood samples. Specialized electrocardiogram (EKG) equipment is used to perform tests, and technicians attach EKG electrodes to patients. Technicians may also set appointments and maintain equipment.

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