How to Become a Cardiovascular Technologist

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Cardiovascular technology is an important section of the medical field that deals with diagnosing and treating a variety of conditions related to the heart and the vascular system. Cardiovascular technologists are trained professionals that help physicians care for a variety of patients with cardiovascular conditions.

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What does a cardiovascular technologist do?

Cardiovascular technologists help diagnose and treat conditions of the heart and peripheral vascular system. They perform cardiovascular and ultrasound procedures, review patient medical records, review interpretations of doctors and other medical personnel, and schedule appointments. They also prepare patients for procedures by positioning, cleaning, shaving, and administering anesthesia. They help physicians with a variety of procedures and monitor a patient’s vital signs and notify the physician of any problems. Cardiovascular technologists also operate and maintain testing equipment, compare results to identify problems, and explain the testing procedures to patients. They typically specialize in echocardiography, invasive cardiology, or vascular technology.

What kind of training does a cardiovascular technologist need?

Cardiovascular technologists typically need at least an associate degree in cardiovascular technology. Many junior and community colleges offer programs and some institutions offer bachelor degree programs. The programs combine classroom instruction and supervised clinical experience. Many aspiring cardiovascular technologists complete internships to gain hands-on experience. Some states require cardiovascular technologists to be licensed. Cardiovascular technologists can also gain certification from the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) or the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI). Cardiovascular technologists must stay up to date on the current advancements in the field and often complete continuing education courses throughout their careers.

What are the prospects for a career as a cardiovascular technologist?

Employment of cardiovascular technologists is projected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 26% from 2006 to 2016 (1). An aging population, increased public awareness, and medical advances will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be good, especially for cardiovascular technologists that have extensive experience and certification. Some job openings will arise from the need to replace cardiovascular technologists that retire, transfer, or leave the occupation for other reasons.

How much do cardiovascular technologists make?

As of October 2009, the average annual salary for cardiovascular technologists is $47,000; average annual cardiovascular technologist salaries vary greatly on location, employer, experience, and benefits (2).

A career as a cardiovascular technologist is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in cardiovascular technology. Cardiovascular technologists must have a mechanical aptitude and be able to follow detailed instructions. They must be able to effectively explain procedures to patients and be able to put them at ease. They must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills because they deal with a variety of patients, physicians, and other medical personnel. Cardiovascular technologists must be able to spend a lot of time on their feet and be able to lift heavy objects. They must also be able to effectively work as part of a team.

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