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Cardiovascular Technologist: Summary of Coursework

Those seeking a career as a cardiovascular technologist typically need to complete courses focusing on the circulatory system, diagnostic testing practices and treatment of related diseases. Cardiovascular technology courses can be found through full programs leading to a certificate or degree.

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Essential Information

Associate's and bachelor's degree programs in cardiovascular technology are available for those seeking entry-level positions in the field. Some of these programs have concentrations in adult echocardiography, invasive cardiovascular technology and non-invasive cardiovascular technology. Those employed as a radiation therapist or in a similar healthcare position can get cardiovascular technology training through a certificate program rather than pursuing a degree. Both types of programs in this field are available at hospitals, colleges and institutes.

Common concepts addressed in these types of programs include:

  • Cardiovascular anatomy
  • Cardiac testing and cardiovascular procedures
  • Cardiovascular diseases and abnormal anatomy
  • Radiation safety
  • Medical terminology

Since certificate programs usually require a previous background in healthcare, they often lack some introductory courses and general education coursework found in associate's and bachelor's degree programs. However, both degree and certificate programs incorporate practica or internships to provide hands-on practice in a laboratory or clinical setting. Professional certification beyond completion of a formal program may be needed for employment in this field.

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List of Common Courses

Introductory Cardiovascular Technology Course

This foundational course provides students with a broad understanding of the cardiovascular technology career field. Topics include basic cardiovascular assessment, team roles and national health practice standards, as well as cardiac rehabilitation and cardiac testing. Students may also learn about the history of this field of medicine and review HIPAA standards.

Medical Terminology Course

The medical terminology course is designed to provide students with a base of knowledge in medical terms and phrases in order to effectively communicate with their peers. The word roots, prefixes and suffixes used to create medical terms are usually discussed. Students learn the correct spelling and meanings of words as well as how to pronounce them and common medical abbreviations.

Cardiac Physiology Course

Students go over general body systems with an emphasis on how they relate to the cardiovascular system. Blood flow, cardiac structures, the circulatory system, electrophysiology and cardiac physiology are typically explored. Students learn to recognize abnormal cardiovascular anatomy, as well as the processes for both congenital and acquired diseases. They may study how to calculate applications of medical statistics.

Clinical Cardiac Experience Course

During this course students gain an understanding of the work environment and procedures for cardiovascular technologists. They study elements of routine patient care, including patient and physician interactions. Students are assigned work experience in a clinical setting, such as a hospital, catheterization laboratory or cardiology clinic.

Pharmacology Course

Medications specific to cardiac and vascular treatments are the central focus of this course; however, a basic understanding of all drug categories is usually a goal as well. An introduction to concepts in drug classification, delivery systems, dosage, drug interactions and pharmacokinetics are generally covered in the course curriculum. Students may also learn about legislation regarding medications.

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