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Cardiovascular Technology College and School Program Overviews

Cardiovascular technology programs are available at the associate's and bachelor's degree levels. These programs require courses in medical terminology, anatomy and safety procedures.

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Essential Information

Cardiovascular technology students learn to perform tests on patients with conditions related to the heart and the circulatory system. They are trained to perform invasive and non-invasive procedures and get extensive practice in the lab and through supervised clinical experiences in healthcare facilities. Credentials for cardiovascular technologists are available through the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) and the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS).

Those interested in entering the field may choose to complete either an associate's or bachelor's degree in cardiovascular technology. To qualify for these programs, students will be required to have a high school diploma or equivalent, acceptable ACT or SAT scores, and demonstrate adequate physical and mental abilities. Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certification may also be required.


Associate's Degree in Cardiovascular Technology

Associate's degree programs in cardiovascular technology are most commonly offered at 2-year community and technical colleges. Such programs offer students the opportunity to specialize in invasive cardiology or non-invasive cardiology. Invasive cardiology involves using highly technical equipment to perform procedures on patients with the purpose of diagnosing and treating cardiovascular disease. Non-invasive cardiology involves the use of ultrasound technologies to diagnose patients. Both specializations require extensive lab work and hands-on practice with sophisticated medical equipment. The following list includes courses common to all associate's degree programs in cardiovascular technology:

  • Introduction to cardiovascular technology
  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Introductory invasive cardiology
  • Introductory non-invasive cardiology
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Pharmacology for the cardiovascular technologist

Bachelor's Degree in Cardiovascular Technology

Bachelor's degree programs offer the most advanced, widely available training in cardiovascular technology. Many colleges and schools have relationships with local hospitals or physicians' offices where students are able to gain clinical internship experience. Through a combination of coursework and clinical experience, students are prepared for credentialing through organizations such as Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) and the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS). Bachelor's degree programs in cardiovascular technology provide students with knowledge of both the cardiovascular system and the tools used in the field. Common courses include the following:

  • Introduction to cardiovascular technology
  • Medical terminology
  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Patient assessment
  • Radiation safety practices
  • Introduction to the cardiovascular system

Popular Career Options

A degree in cardiovascular technology prepares graduates for a variety of specialized careers within the field. These include the following:

  • Cardiograph technician
  • Cardiovascular invasive specialists
  • Echocardiographer
  • Electrocardiograph technician
  • Vascular technologist

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov, reports that there were 51,400 professionals working in the field of cardiovascular technology in 2015. For the decade 2014-2024, employment of cardiovascular technologists and technicians is expected to rise by 22%, primarily due to increases in the prevalence of heart disease across an aging general population. In May 2015, the median annual wage for cardiovascular technologists and technicians was $54,880.

There are both associate's and bachelor's degree programs available for students interested in cardiovascular technology. Associate's degree programs are most common, however bachelor's degree students may have the option of pursuing training for a specialized area of cardiovascular technology.

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