Career Overview: Cardiovascular Technician
Cardiovascular technicians and technologists are specialists in assisting physicians treating patients with heart conditions and blood vessel (vascular) diseases. They perform ultrasound examinations and electrocardiograms, keep patients charts up to date and generally monitor patient activity.
There are three areas of specialty for a cardiac technologist or technician: invasive cardiology, echocardiology or vascular technology. Invasive cardiology specialists assist with angioplasties and other procedures utilizing a cardiac catheter. Echocardiology is specialization in the use of ultrasound as a diagnostic tool. Vascular technology utilizes ultrasound instruments to assess blood flow, blood pressure, oxygen level, and circulation.
Most cardiovascular technicians or technologists break into the field with an associates degree focused entirely on the practices of the job. There is no requirement for individual certification; however the educational institution must be certified. The first year of the associates program is devoted to the basics of cardiovascular technology; the second year is devoted to specialization in one of the three areas.
There were 45,000 working cardiovascular technicians in 2007. Almost all were employed either in a hospital or a cardiologist's office. The limited number of experienced professionals is going to lead to a rapid increase in cardiovascular professionals.
Cardiovascular technology jobs are expected to grow much faster than the overall job growth rate. The aging population is driving the incidence of cardiovascular disease up; it is also being diagnosed earlier, leading to increased numbers of examinations. Medical technology is also advancing to the point that equipment operated by technicians can be used for treatment as well as diagnosis.
Lowest 10% $11.85 $24,650
Median Salary $21.61 $44,940
Highest 10% $34.37 $71,490
Source: U.S. Department of Labor