How to Become a Vascular Technologist

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Vascular technology is an important part of the medical field that deals with using diagnostic testing to assist with the diagnosis of conditions that affect the circulatory system. Vascular technologists are specially trained medical professionals that assist physicians with performing a variety of diagnostic procedures.

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What does a vascular technologist do?

Vascular technologists help physicians with diagnosing and treating many different conditions that affect the vascular system, except for the heart. They review and record the medical history of patients, perform physical examinations, explain procedures to patients, and answer any questions the patient may have. They assess pulses, and evaluate the blood flow in veins and arteries by listening to the vascular flow sounds, and order the appropriate diagnostic test. They also perform noninvasive procedures using technological equipment such as ultrasounds. They record vascular information including blood flow, oxygen levels, blood pressure, and circulation. They then provide the summary of the results to physicians to assist in the diagnosis and treatment.

What kind of training does a vascular technologist need?

Vascular technologists typically need at least an associate degree. Many community colleges and junior colleges offer programs in vascular technology. Some vascular technologists have a bachelor degree. Prospective vascular technologists typically complete courses in anatomy and physiology, medical ethics, and ultrasound technology. Most employers provide on the job training to new vascular technologists to enable them to learn the required procedures. Some states require vascular technologists to be licensed. The American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) offers the Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT) certification and many vascular technologists gain this voluntary designation to remain competitive in the field. Vascular technologists must keep their skills up to date and stay abreast on the current advancements in the field. They regularly complete continuing education and additional training throughout their career.

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

Employment of vascular technologists is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 26% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The aging population and advances in vascular technology will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be good especially for vascular technologists trained to perform specific procedures. Some job openings will arise from the need to replace vascular technologists that retire, transfer, or leave the profession for other reasons.

How much do vascular technologist make?

As of December 2009, vascular technologists with 1 to 4 years experience earn average hourly rates between $21.00 and 28.52. Those with 5 to 9 years experience earn average hourly rates between $24.89 and $32.30 (2).

A career as a vascular technologist is a great choice for people with a strong interest in vascular technology. Mechanical aptitude, manual dexterity, and ability to followed detailed instructions. Vascular technologists must have excellent communication and the ability to help patients feel at ease. They must be able to effectively work independently as well as part of a team.

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