How Can I Become a Certified Cardiographic Technician (CCT)?

Research what it takes to become a certified cardiographic technician. Learn about the education requirements, job duties and salary information to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Cardiovascular Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Certified Cardiographic Technician?

Cardiographic technicians are part of medical care teams that diagnose and/or treat patients with heart conditions. They may specialize in a particular noninvasive diagnostic technique, such as cardiac sonography or electrocardiography (EKG). They may also assist with invasive procedures, such as cardiac catheterization or even open heart surgery. Although certification is not always required to get a job, certified cardiographic technicians may have better prospects in this growing field.

The following table provides some basic information for this career.

Degree Required Postsecondary certificate or associate's degree
Education Field of Study Anatomy of the heart, fundamentals of cardiovascular procedures
Certification Optional Certified Cardiographic Technician
Key Responsibilities Perform electrocardiography (EKG) tests, create sonographic images, install catheters, help with surgery, assist physicians in diagnosis and treatment
Job Growth (2014-24) 22% (for cardiovascular technologists & technicians)*
Average Salary (2015) $56,100 (for cardiovascular technologists & technicians)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Would I Do as a Certified Cardiographic Technician?

As a certified cardiographic technician (CCT), you work under the supervision of physicians in the diagnosing and treatment of patients suffering from cardiovascular illness. One option is to specialize in performing electrocardiography tests on patients. This requires placing electrodes at certain points on the patient's body in order to measure the heart's electrical pulsations. You control the equipment that monitors this information and then create a printout for the medical team. EKG tests are often performed before surgeries or as part of a regular health monitoring regimen, so your expertise is important for providing information to make accurate diagnoses and medical decisions.

What Education Do I Need?

Although it's possible to begin working as a cardiographic technician after earning just a high school diploma, you may also choose to enroll in a post-secondary cardiovascular technology training program. Such a program can help prepare you for certification in the field. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (www.caahep.org) accredits certificate and degree programs in cardiovascular technology. For some programs, you may be required to have an associate's or bachelor's degree or to have taken certain core classes. These programs generally take about two years to complete and include classes on anatomy of the heart and the fundamentals of cardiovascular procedures as well as supervised clinical experience. If you choose to start work after graduating from high school, your on-the-job training could take 4-6 weeks.

How Do I Become Certified?

Cardiovascular Credentialing International (www.cci-online.org) offers the Certified Cardiographic Technician designation. In addition to having your high school diploma, you can qualify to take the exam for certification in four ways: completion of or current enrollment in a cardiovascular or allied health training program, current or past employment in cardiovascular technology or related allied health field, completion of a degree in a science or health-related field, or involvement in the cardiovascular technology field as a volunteer for two years. When you have provided documentation of one of these options, you can take the exam to become certified and, with a passing score, begin using the CCT designation.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you want to focus your career on noninvasive diagnostic procedures, you might want to become a diagnostic medical sonographer. These professionals use ultrasound to take images that can be used for diagnostic purposes; aside from cardiac sonography, careers are available in musculoskeletal, pediatric and breast sonography, among others. Like cardiac technicians, these professionals usually need either a certificate or an associate's degree to work. Another option is a career as a radiographic or MRI technologist. They use X-rays, MRI scanners and other radiation technology to diagnose many different diseases and conditions. An associate's degree is necessary for these jobs, and some employers also require certification.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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