Career Profile: Cardiovascular Technologist

Nurse Anesthesiologist

Medical Assisting Careers › Cardiovascular Technologist

See Available Cardiovascular Technologist

Also Called: Cardiovascular Technician

Job Description:

Cardiovascular technologists and technicians assist physicians in diagnosing and treating cardiac (heart) and peripheral vascular (blood vessel) ailments. There are three general areas of specialization: invasive cardiology, echocardiography, and vascular technology.

Invasive cardiology assist physicians with catheter treatments, a process by which a small tube (catheter) is inserted into a patients blood vessel to determine if there is any blockage in the vessels that supply blood to the heart. Specialists in echocardiography or vascular technology run what are known as "noninvasive" tests such as ultrasounds, which do not require any insertions into a patients body.

Cardiovascular Technologists also explain the procedure to patients, record any additional medical history the patient relates, select appropriate equipment settings and change the patient's position as necessary.

Some cardiovascular technologists and technicians schedule appointments, type doctors' interpretations, maintain patient files and care for equipment.

Work Environment

Cardiovascular Technologists work five-day, 40-hour weeks. Most of the time on the job is spent walking and standing. Those who work in catheterization labs may face stressful working conditions because they are in close contact with patients with serious heart ailments. Some may be on call during night hours and on weekends.

Education and Training Requirements:

Most cardiovascular technologists and technicians receive training in two to four year programs, although a few are trained on the job. Cardiovascular technologists, vascular technologists and cardiac sonographers normally complete a two-year junior or community college program. The first year is dedicated to core courses, and is followed by a year of specialized instruction in either invasive, noninvasive cardiovascular or noninvasive vascular technology.

Cardiovascular technologists and technicians must be reliable and able to follow detailed instructions accurately. An ability to have a calming affect on patients, due to the sensitivity of the job, is a desired skill.

Salary Range:

Median annual earnings of cardiovascular technologists and technicians were $36,430 in 2002. Cardiovascular technologists and technicians working in offices of physicians earned a median income of $36,420, while those in general medical hospitals earned $35,800.

Job Outlook:

Employment of cardiovascular technologists and technicians is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2012. The population of the country is aging, and with age comes a higher risk and incidence of heart problems. Prospects for vascular technologists and echocardiographers will grow as technological advances reduce the need for invasive procedures, which are generally more costly.

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