Cardiovascular Tech Job Duties, Responsibilities, and Career Options

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a cardiovascular technologist. Get a quick view of the requirements - such as degree programs and job duties - to see if a career in cardiovascular technology is right for you.

Essential Information

Cardiovascular technologists and technicians provide assistance to doctors who perform heart-related procedures. Most have a minimum of an associate's degree, but bachelor's degrees are also possible; candidates who also earn optional professional credentials have better job prospects.

Required EducationAssociate's degree
Other Requirements Professional certification preferred
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)*30%
Average Salary (2013)*$53,990

Source:*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Cardiovascular Tech Job Duties and Responsibilities

Cardiovascular technologists and cardiovascular technicians serve as cardiovascular assistants to physicians. They aid in the diagnosis and treatment of heart and blood vessel issues. Their day-to-day tasks include reviewing doctor and patient documentation, scheduling appointments and monitoring patients' heart rates. They also look after and operate the equipment, explain test procedures to patients and identify problems in their test findings.

Cardiovascular technologists and technicians have a variety of areas of specialization, such as invasive cardiology, echocardiography, vascular technology, stress testing and electrocardiograms. Those who specialize in invasive procedures assist in the cardiac catheterization of balloon angioplasties and electrophysiology tests.

Depending on which area of specialization the cardiovascular tech works in, duties may include assisting physicians during delicate, invasive procedures. They may be tasked with administering drugs, shaving and cleaning the patient, positioning the patient and monitoring the patients' biological state. These types of duties often call for working hours at odd times and days of the week.

Training for Specializations

Most cardiovascular techs are required to have an associate's degree accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Professionals (CAAHEP) to enter into this field. Employers typically prefer an additional professional credential; several types of certifications are possible based on one's specialization. Four-year degree programs in cardiovascular technology are growing in favor. In these programs, the first two years are dedicated to core courses and the following two may be focused on an area of specialization such as invasive cardiovascular, noninvasive cardiovascular and noninvasive vascular technology.

Professional credentials in cardiovascular technology are offered by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers or by Cardiovascular Credentialing International. In order to acquire this certification, students are often required to have continuing education credits under their belts.

Sought-after attributes for this profession include reliability, mechanical ability and the ability to comprehend detailed instructions. In order to effectively communicate with physicians, cardiovascular techs must be well-spoken and well-versed in technical terminology. Employers prefer that cardiovascular technicians have an amicable, calm demeanor due to their frequent involvement with patients.

Career Options

Those who wish to enter into a cardiovascular technician position at a hospital may expect a challenging career with a good salary to start. They may find positions within a cardiac catheterization lab team. Other areas of employment for cardiovascular techs include electrophysiology, research, echocardiography, education, management, sales and marketing.

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