A two-year associate's degree program in cardiovascular technology allows students to be trained in invasive and non-invasive cardiology, vascular sonography and echocardiography. A four-year bachelor's degree in applied health studies with a focus in cardiovascular technology prepares graduates for leadership and educational roles in the field.
The program incorporates research, general education studies and professional coursework alongside practical lab work. Internships are also undertaken and registration with the ARDMS is expected upon completion. Other baccalaureate programs provide degree-completion opportunities for certified cardiovascular technicians who wish to pursue higher education.
Prerequisites for program entry include a high school diploma or equivalent, completion of appropriate math and science coursework, college-level chemistry, anatomy and physiology, a background check and drug screening.
Associate's Degree Programs in Cardiovascular Technology
Students in these programs complete a highly-structured curriculum over the course of two years. Common topics include:
- Cardiovascular physiology
- Medical instrumentation
- Diagnostic procedures
- Invasive cardiology
- Clinical practicum
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Bachelor's Degree Programs in Applied Health Studies
Students generally complete math and science prerequisites during their first year of studies, then professional curriculum during sophomore and junior years, and an on-the-job internship during the senior year. A capstone project is often required and other classes may include:
- Professional communication
- Health care delivery systems
- Medical ethics
- Health care policy
- Humanities courses
- Social Science courses
Graduates of cardiovascular technology programs are prepared for entry-level work in hospitals, clinics or imaging facilities. Specific jobs may include:
- Cardiographic technician
- Cardiac sonographer
- Vascular sonographer
- EKG technician
Career Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the need for cardiovascular technologists and technicians was expected to increase 22% between 2014 and 2024. The mean annual salary, according to 2015 BLS statistics, was $56,100. Most cardiovascular technologists are employed in the hospital setting, but other opportunities exist in doctors' offices and imaging centers.
Continuing Education Options
Students may pursue further specialization training in noninvasive or invasive cardiology techniques. Graduates of CAAHEP-accredited degree programs are eligible to sit for the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) certification examination. A wide range of certification options are available, depending upon the area of specialization, and some states require certification for licensure.
Cardiology technology degree programs are offered at both associate's and bachelor's levels. Students can expect to study common courses such as cardiovascular physiology before pursuing a career as a cardiac sonographer or EKG technician, among others.