Monitor technicians, also known as EKG or cardiovascular technicians, interpret cardiac monitors and relay the information to a registered nurse or physician. Technicians specialize in invasive, non-invasive or vascular technology. Monitor technicians in all fields must be able to identify abnormal heartbeats and maintain the technology skills that can be learned through cardiovascular technician certificate and degree programs.
Schools with Cardiovascular Technology Programs
The following schools offer programs for aspiring cardiovascular technicians:
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)*|
|Arkansas Tech University||Russellville, AR||4-year, Public||Associate||$6,192 in-state, $11,352 out-of-state|
|Thomas Jefferson University||Philadelphia, PA||4-year, Private||Bachelor's||$36,114|
|Clemson University||Clemson, SC||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$14,272 in-state, $33,190 out-of-state|
|University of South Carolina||Columbia, SC||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$11,482 in-state, $30,298 out-of-state|
|Oklahoma State University at Oklahoma City||Oklahoma City, OK||4-year, Public||Associate||$2,859 in-state, $7,719 out-of-state|
|Vanderbilt University||Nashville, TN||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Certificate||$44,712|
|Piedmont Technical College||Greenwood, SC||2-year, Public||Associate, Certificate||$4,049 in-district,$4,601 in-state, $5,801 out-of-state|
|Hudson Valley Community College||Troy, NY||2-year, Public||Associate||$5,188 in-state, $13,388 out-of-state|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics
School Selection Criteria
These are some important considerations for prospective students trying to choose a school:
- When deciding between schools, students may want to look for programs that include training beyond EKG operation, such as Holter monitoring, CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and stress testing.
- Aspiring technicians may also look for programs that prepare students for the CCT (Certified Cardiovascular Technician) certification exam.
- Students may try to find programs that include clinical field experiences in hospitals or medical centers, allowing students to gain familiarity with the work environment while still in school.
Certificate in Cardiovascular Technology
Certificate programs vary in length; however, most can be completed in one year. These programs focus only on core cardiovascular topics generally excluding general education coursework.
Associate Degree in Cardiovascular Technology
Some associate degree programs offer areas of emphasis, including noninvasive and invasive cardiovascular technology. Because technicians aid physicians in treating heart disease, topics include coronary anatomy and disease mechanisms. EKG interpretation requires proficiency in math; those enrolled in an associate degree program may consider taking general education electives in math.
Bachelor's Degree in Cardiovascular Technology
Students in a bachelor's degree program in cardiovascular technology may spend the entire last year of the program in an internship, preparing for the national licensing exam and gaining valuable work experience. The role of the cardiovascular technician can range from monitoring the EKG machine to analyzing data and performing diagnostic procedures. Those with experience and a bachelor's degree may be qualified for more demanding tasks.
Accredited certificate and undergraduate degree programs can provide training for aspiring monitor technicians. Over the course of a program, students may gain real-world experience in the field, and they may learn about related concepts and technologies in addition to heart monitors.