Career Definition for Cardiovascular Technologists
Cardiovascular science professionals, also known as cardiovascular technologists or technicians, assist doctors in the treatment of patients with heart problems. They may specialize in invasive cardiology, vascular cardiology or echocardiography. Job duties typically include installing catheters and performing electrocardiograms (EKGs) or other tests used in patient care. Most cardiovascular professionals work in doctors' offices or hospitals; many have rotating schedules that require weekend work.
|Required Education||An associate or bachelor's degree in health sciences|
|Required Skills||Attention to detail, ability to work with complex tools and computers, communication and interpersonal skills|
|Career Outlook (2016 to 2026)*||10% growth|
|Median Annual Salary (2017)*||$55,270|
Source: *U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Those interested in a career in cardiac science can attend a 2-year- or 4-year university program. Relevant degree programs include an Associate of Applied Science in Health Sciences with a focus on cardiovascular technology and a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences with a concentration in cardiovascular science. Core coursework may include topics in biology, chemistry, math, physiology and medical instrumentation. Many schools also offer internships, which can help prospective cardiovascular science professionals gain valuable experience.
As cardiovascular science professionals routinely work with equipment that, with one miscue, could result in injury or death to a patient, they must pay keen attention to details and be able to work with complex tools and computers. Good communication and interpersonal skills are important, especially when speaking with both doctors and patients.
Career and Salary Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were approximately 56,130 cardiovascular technologists and technicians employed nationwide in May 2017. Employment opportunities for cardiovascular technologists and technicians are expected to increase by 10%, or faster than average, between 2016 and 2026. As of May 2017, the median annual salary for cardiovascular technologists and technicians was $55,270; the top-paid 10% of professionals in the field make in excess of $90,760 per year ('www.bls.gov).
Alternate Career Options
Other careers in this field include:
Nuclear Medicine Technologists
Nuclear medicine technologists are usually employed by doctor's offices, hospitals and imaging clinics, where they inject radioactive substances into patient's bodies and scan them for diagnostic purposes. Entry-level requirements include an associate degree in nuclear medical technology; some states require a license. Opportunities for employment are expected to increase by 10%, or faster than average, from 2016 to 2026, as reported by the BLS. In May 2017, the median annual salary for a nuclear medicine technologist was $75,660 (www.bls.gov).
Radiologic and MRI Technologists
Radiologic and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technologists use computerized equipment to scan patient's bodies and help doctors diagnose diseases and medical conditions. Standard entry-level requirements include an associate degree in radiologic technology that has been approved by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology; individual states may require professional certification or licensure. Employment prospects from 2016 to 2026 are expected to increase by 13% nationwide, or faster than average, as reported by the BLS. In May 2017, radiologic and MRI technologists earned a median annual salary of $60,070 (www.bls.gov).