Cardiovascular Tech Job Duties, Responsibilities, and Career Options

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

Cardiovascular technologists and technicians aid physicians in diagnosing and treating patients with heart and blood vessel ailments. They need at least an associate's degree but generally benefit from additional professional education.

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 possessing more advanced professional credentials have better job prospects.

Required Education Associate's degree at minimum
Other Requirements Professional certification preferred
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 22% for cardiovascular technologists and technicians
Median Salary (2015)* $63,630 for diagnostic medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including vascular technologists.

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.

Cardiovascular technologists and technicians need at least an associate's degree in order to get started in the field, but many candidates will have additional professional credentials and specializations. These may include completion of a four-year degree program or certification from relevant institutions. Cardiovascular technologists and technicians are expected to see a 22% job growth between 2014 and 2024 which is considerably faster than average, making this a promising career option.

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