Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians Career Description
Duties and Responsibilities
Both cardiovascular technologists and technicians have important duties and responsibilities. They assist physicians in the diagnosis and treatment of various cardiac and peripheral vascular ailments. Cardiovascular technologists and technicians are also responsible for scheduling appointments, performing ultrasound and cardiovascular procedures, reviewing physicians' interpretations and patient files, and monitoring the patients' heart rates. Furthermore, they operate and maintain testing equipment, explain test procedures to patients, and compare the test findings to a standard in order to identify possible problems. Duties, responsibilities, and activities may vary depending on the cardiovascular technologist's or technician's specialties. There are three areas in which cardiovascular technologists and technicians tend to specialize. These include invasive cardiology, echocardiography, and vascular technology.
The work environment for these occupations can be both physically and mentally or emotionally stressful. The job requires frequent walking and standing. Heavy lifting such as for moving equipment or patients may also be required. These occupations may be mentally or emotionally taxing because some patients with heart conditions may face life-or-death situations. Depending on the area in which the employee works and their duties, they may have potential radiation exposure. The general work hours for these positions are forty hours per week during a five-day work week, but this may include weekends and longer hours may be needed depending on the location. Cardiovascular technologists and technicians in catheterization laboratories frequently work longer hours and may work evenings.
These positions can be found in hospitals (mostly in the cardiology department), in offices of physicians (i.e. cardiologists), and medical and diagnostic laboratories (i.e. diagnostic imaging centers).
There is a 26% expected job growth predicted for this field by 2016 because, as the population ages, more people will have health and heart problems.
How much do Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians make - Salaries and Wages
The base salary range for these positions, based on the United States national averages, is approximately $43,061 to $68,224. The average hourly wage is $21.61. Bonuses in these positions may range from $25 to $94. Benefits for the average cardiovascular technologist or technician include: base salary is $56,080 (71.3%), bonus is $48 (0.1%), Social Security is $4,294 (5.5%), 401k/403b is $2,021 (2.6%), Disability is $561 (0.7%), healthcare is $5,722 (7.3%), pension is $2,582 (3.3%), and time off is $7,340 (9.3%).
How to become a Cardiovascular Technologist or Cardiovascular Technician
Education and Training
It is common for many cardiovascular technologists and technicians to acquire Associate's degrees through a two-year junior or community college. Formal training programs for these occupations may take two to four years to complete, cardiovascular technolgist degrees maybe found offline or at online colleges. Most students aspiring to become either cardiovascular technologists or technicians spend their first year in college taking core courses and then next year in specialized instruction in invasive cardiovascular, noninvasive cardiovascular, or noninvasive vascular technology.
Certification is available for these two occupations, but it is not required in all states, so check the state requirements where you intend to work. Certification is available through Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) and the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS). There are four different certifications offered through CCI including: Certified Cardiographic Technician (CCT), Registered Cardiac Sonographer (RCS), Registered Vascular Specialist (RVS), and Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS). There are two certifications offered through the ARDMS: Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS) and Registered Vascular Technologist credentials. Some states may require certification as part of licensure. In states where certification is not required, many employers prefer it.
People aspiring to enter these two careers must be reliable, able to work with mechanical devices (equipment), able to communicate technically with physicians, and able to explain procedures in simple terms to the patients.
In regards to advancing in these careers, many institutions structure the job with multiple levels of increasing responsibilities. Other advancements may be made through supervisory and management positions. There are chances for possible advancement also in positions in educational or laboratory settings for this occupation.