Cardiac technologists can specialize in invasive and/or non-invasive cardiovascular technology. Some educational programs provide curricula for both specialties, while others offer an option to only study non-invasive technology. Most certificate and associate degree programs include a combination of clinical experiences and lecture-based classroom sessions.
Students of cardiac technology learn about the following concepts:
- Echocardiography and stress test administration
- Heart anatomy and function
- Heart-monitoring equipment operation
- Data collection for diagnostic purposes
- Treatment plans
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List of Common Courses
Students learn about reading an electrocardiogram, including study of electrocardiogram symbols and basic medical terminology. Students are taught the proper use of the machine, including prepping patients and running tests. This course, which may include a clinical component, is usually taken near the beginning of a program.
Cardiac Anatomy and Physiology Course
This course focuses on teaching students about the structure of the heart and its functioning. The course also looks at the muscular, skeletal and nervous systems and their relation to the cardiovascular system. Some courses may include laboratory study that allows students to dissect a heart.
Medical Safety Course
A course in medical safety covers the procedures and standards that are expected on the job. Students learn how to assess patients and sterilize and handle equipment. They also learn about basic safety procedures, dress codes and professionalism. Students would probably take the course at the end of the first year or beginning of the second year.
Students investigate basic non-invasive procedures used by a cardiac technician. Students are taught to use ultrasound and the Doppler echocardiography equipment. This course may also cover using Holter monitors, administrating stress tests and checking pacemaker functions. Students learn how to chart patient information and how to care for patients. This is an advanced topic studied in the second year of a program and may be split into several courses.
Invasive Procedures Course
Students in an invasive cardiac technology program learn how to perform heart catheterizations. The course covers preparation for an invasive procedure, use of radiographic equipment and interpretation hemodynamic monitoring. This is a second-year course.