Cardiovascular technicians, or cardiovascular technologists, assist doctors in the diagnosis and treatment of ailments pertaining to the heart, blood, arteries and veins. Four year cardiovascular technology bachelor's programs offer extensive training in this field. The first two years introduce students to concepts and practices in health science. The remaining two years are devoted to the study of one of three major specializations in cardiovascular technology: invasive cardiology, non-invasive cardiology and echocardiography.
Invasive cardiovascular technicians assist doctors by helping diagnose and treat blood vessel blockages by inserting a catheter in the patient's blood vessels. Non-invasive cardiovascular technicians examine the patient through ultrasound or Doppler sound technologies, EKGs and stress tests. Echocardiography technicians examine the heart vessels and chambers by using noninvasive methods. They may also administer medicine. Applicants to the bachelor degree program in cardiovascular technology benefit from a strong background in chemistry and biology. Technical aptitude, meticulous attention to detail and ability to follow detailed directions are crucial in the profession.
Bachelor's Degree in Cardiovascular Technology
Training for cardiovascular technicians begins with general courses in allied health. Upper level classes involve specialized topics, including:
- Cardiovascular technology: an introduction
- Physiology and anatomy
- Cardiology pathophysiology
- Medical terminology
- Cardiovascular pharmacology
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), job growth for cardiovascular technologists and technicians is expected to grow by 22% from 2014 to 2024. This is much faster than average for all professions. Most (68%) of these jobs will be in hospitals. As EKG specialists are replaced by EKG trained nurses, technicians with the best job prospects will be skilled in multiple noninvasive methods: stress testing and Holter monitoring. The median annual salary for cardiovascular technicians was $54,880 in 2015, as reported by the BLS.
A bachelor's degree in cardiovascular technology gives students the tools they need to treat a wide variety of problems affecting the heart, blood, veins and arteries of patients. This four-year course prepares students to enter a rapidly growing field and offers a number of specialization options.