How to Become a Cardiovascular Technician

Cardiovascular technicians are in high demand! Here’s a guide on how to become a cardiovascular technician and what the job entails.

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A cardiovascular technician is a medical professional who helps treat patients with heart conditions. Cardiovascular technicians typically work in hospitals and clinics, and they may also work in private practices. Cardiovascular technicians may also be known as cardiac technicians or EKG technicians.

Cardiovascular technicians typically need to have an associate’s degree from a accredited program, although some jobs may only require a certificate or a high school diploma. Cardiovascular technicians must be certified by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) before they can begin working. To become certified, cardiovascular technicians must pass an exam administered by the ARDMS.

Cardiovascular technicians typically work full-time hours, and they may need to work evenings or weekends to meet the needs of their patients. Some cardiovascular technicians may also be on-call for emergencies outside of their regular working hours.

What Does a Cardiovascular Technician Do?

Doctors and other medical practitioners rely on cardiovascular technicians for diagnostic testing and patient care. Cardiovascular technicians, also called cardiovascular technologists and technicians (CVT) or cardiology technologists and technicians (CRT), help diagnose, treat, and monitor patients with heart and blood vessel conditions.

Working under the supervision of a doctor, a cardiovascular technician may:
-Take medical histories
-Prepare patients for procedures
-Explain procedures to patients
-Position patients during procedures
-Monitor patient vital signs
-Apply electrocardiography (EKG) leads
-Perform Holter monitoring
-Prepare diagnostic reports
Cardiovascular technicians may specialize in invasive cardiology, which involves procedures such as angioplasty and stents; noninvasive cardiology, which uses imaging techniques such as echocardiography (echo), stress testing, and cardiac catheterization; or vascular technology, which focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of conditions that affect the arteries and veins outside the heart.

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What Education and Training Do You Need to Become a Cardiovascular Technician?

In order to become a cardiovascular technician, you will need to have at least an associate’s degree in cardiovascular technology. Some employers may prefer that you have a bachelor’s degree, and if you plan to eventually become a cardiologist, you will need to complete a four-year medical degree program. You will also need to be certified by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS).

During your education and training, you will learn how to use ultrasound equipment to produce images of the heart and blood vessels. You will also learn how to operate other types of cardiovascular imaging equipment, such as coronary angiography machines and echocardiography machines. In addition, you will take classes in anatomy, physiology, and medical ethics.

What Are the Job Prospects for Cardiovascular Technicians?

The job prospects for cardiovascular technicians are very good. The demand for these professionals is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is due to the increasing number of procedures being performed and the aging of the population.

What Are the Salaries for Cardiovascular Technicians?

While the salary for cardiovascular technicians varies depending on geographic location, years of experience, and type of employer, the median annual salary for all cardiovascular technicians and technologists was $53,270 in 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The best-paid 10 percent in the occupation earned more than $76,660 annually, while the lowest-paid 10 percent earned less than $34,040.

Cardiovascular technicians who worked in physicians’ offices had a median annual salary of $52,610 in 2012, while those employed in general hospitals earned a median salary of $54,040 per year. Cardiovascular technologists and technicians employed by colleges, universities, and professional schools earned a median salary of $60,710 annually. Those who worked outpatient care centers had a median annual salary of $56,350.

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What Are the Certification and Licensing Requirements for Cardiovascular Technicians?

In order to become a cardiovascular technician, you will need to complete a certificate or associate’s degree program in cardiovascular technology. These programs typically last two to three years and cover topics such as medical ethics, human anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, and legal aspects of healthcare. You will also receive hands-on training in performing various diagnostic tests and procedures. Once you have completed your education, you will need to become certified by the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) before you can begin working as a cardiovascular technician. Some states may also require licensure.

What Are Some Helpful Resources for Cardiovascular Technicians?

There are a number of helpful resources for cardiovascular technicians that can be found online and through professional organizations.

The American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) is a professional organization that provides resources and continuing education opportunities for cardiovascular technicians. They offer certification for echocardiographers, which can be helpful in advancing your career.

The American College of Cardiology (ACC) is another professional organization that offers resources and continuing education opportunities for cardiovascular technicians. They also offer certification for those working in the field of cardiac catheterization.

The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) also offers certification for cardiovascular technicians. This can be helpful in demonstrating your skills and knowledge to potential employers.

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