The Scoop on Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians

Cardiovascular Technology sounds really high-fallutin' (because it is) but it is not an unattainable profession.

The field of Cardiovascular Technology assists patients and Doctors through assistance with testing, monitoring and caring for patients. These folks are invaluable cogs in the works of Cardiovascular medicine (and with Heart Disease being America's #1 killer, we need all the help we can get.) The profession is expected to grow fast (with the rise in population) as 12,000 new jobs are expected to be created between 2006 and 2016. That's big growth for such a specialized area...

What in the World Does a Cardiovascular Technologist or Technician Do Anyways?

Cardiovascular Technologists (or Cardio Techs) take patient's heart rates, monitor their condition, perform routine tests and care for the (very expensive) testing equipment. Typically you would be the person who's in before the Doctor to make sure the patient's status is known when the Doctor arrives. You would also act on Doctor's orders to get certain testing done and information form the patient so the Doctor can make the most informed decisions possible.

In addition to running ahead of the Doctor you would also consult with the Doctor and assist in any diagnoses that he makes. This portion of your job would be critical because YOU did the tests and the Doctor needs your professional opinion so he/she can do their best work.

In addition to assisting the Doctor you could take a specialty in Cardiovascular Technology (invasive, echocardiography, and vascular technology.)

What Kind of Training do I need (A.K.A. - Will I have to go to School?)

I know I said the job is high-fallutin' and VERY important, but the good news is that oyu can train relatively quickly for this profession. Typically, a program in Cardiovascular Technology is 2-4 years long. A 2 year program gives you an Associate's Degree in Cardiovascular Technology, whereas a 4 year program (which is becoming more common) gives you a Bachelor's Degree. If you are switching over form another medical profession you might only need to take a 1 year training course to get into Cardiovascular Technology. Certain specialties (like Echocardiography) require on the job training, but this sort of training is rare in this field.

Once you have completed your training you must be licensed by your State Medical Board in Cardiovascular Technology. Some States require a license and others do not, so be sure to check the rules for where you live. If you must get a license this means you'll need to pass a written test and a "skills" test before getting your license. (It requires continuing education to renew, so be careful about that!) Now, you're ready to get a job!

How Do I get One of These Jobs Anyways?

Most Cardio Techs work in hospitals and large health clinics. Because of the specialization of the job, you will always be tied to a Cardiovascular Surgeon who may work at a hospital or may own their own practice. For this reason, sometimes you might be able to work at the Doctor's private practice instead of working out your days in a hospital.

If you specialize in invasive cardiology you are aiding Doctor's who perform open heart suregeries and transplants. If you specialize in non-invasive technology you are assisting Doctor's with and performing tests that do not require probes (such as sonograms or ultrasounds.) Echocardiography would be a field where you would use EKGs to measure the electrical patterns of a patient's heart and report to their Doctor. You have many choices of specialties and any one may offer you great job prospects.

Most Technologist's easiest route to advancement would be through promotions into management or supervisory jobs. You might be the "Director of Cardiovascular Technology" at a hospital or a large Cardiac Clinic. Still others may want to get an advanced degree in Cardiovascular Technology and teach at a local college or medical school.

Research is a big part of curing Heart disease and many Cardio Techs will be able to find work in laboratories aiding Doctors in research that is related to Heart Disease and Defects. Sometimes these research positions require more advanced degrees, but not always.

Career Spotlight Articles

Great Pay / Minimal School

Find medical jobs with great pay & minimal schooling:

Physically Active Careers

Find physically active health carecareers:

Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians Overview

Cardiovascular Technologists and Technician Salary:$47,010
Job Prospects:A-
Education after high school:2 years
# Employed in US:48,040
% Who work Part Time:17%
Physical Difficulty:+ + +
Intellectual Difficulty:+ +
Emotional Difficulty:+ + +

The Pros of Cardiovascular Technology

  • The training is relatively short (2-4 years)
  • You have many options in training
  • The field is expected to grow with the national average
  • You have many chances to get into research or management

The Cons of Cardiovascular Technology

  • The job is rigorous and requires you to be on your feet a lot
  • The job requires a VERY steady hand and fine motor skills
  • It may be hard to work with patients who are very ill or in need of transplants, etc.

Related Career Articles