What Is a Registered Cardiovascular Technologist?

The work of a cardiovascular technologist focuses on the circulatory system and the common problems that it can encounter. Read on to find out about the common daily tasks, educational requirements, registration options and salary figures for registered cardiovascular technologists. Schools offering Cardiovascular Sonography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Registered Cardiovascular Technologist Job Overview

As a registered cardiovascular technologist, you will work with doctors to identify and cure various disorders of the heart and blood vessels. You'll be responsible for operating and maintaining sensitive medical equipment, such as electrocardiogram (EKG) machines, and you'll examine images to make sure they're good enough to make a diagnosis. Your job also involves working closely with cardiovascular patients, preparing them for medical procedures, taking medical histories, ensuring their comfort and monitoring their heart rates.

Cardiovascular technologists can work in specialty areas, including invasive cardiology, noninvasive cardiology and vascular technology. Invasive cardiology technologists aid doctors by preparing patients for complex procedures, such as cardiac catheterization and balloon angioplasty, that involve inserting medical apparatuses into the patient's body. Noninvasive cardiology technologists use sonography, echocardiology and other noninvasive technologies to help doctors diagnose heart ailments. Vascular technologists focus on vein and artery disorders, and they use noninvasive technology to obtain data on blood flow, oxygen saturation, peripheral circulation and blood pressure.

Educational Requirements

In most cases, you'll need at least an associate's degree in cardiovascular technology to find entry-level employment. However, some technologists are trained on the job, while others earn 4-year degrees in cardiovascular technology. Programs frequently offer tracks in invasive, noninvasive or vascular technology and include instruction in cardiovascular anatomy, pathophysiology and pharmacology, as well as equipment operation and patient care techniques. Students are usually required to complete an internship or other clinical component.

If you already have a degree in a related area, such as radiologic technology or nursing, it may be unnecessary to complete another degree program in cardiovascular technology. You could consider enrolling in a certificate program or completing on-the-job training.

Registration Information

Although it is not required, many employers will only hire cardiovascular technologists who have been registered or certified. Many insurance companies will only pay for procedures performed by credentialed technologists. Credentialing agencies like Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) or the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) offer registration or certification based on your area of expertise. CCI's designations include the Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS), Registered Vascular Specialist (RVS), Registered Cardiac Electrophysiology Specialist (RCES) and Registered Cardiac Sonographer (RCS).

The ARDMS allows you to become a Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT) or Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS) with a specialty in adult, pediatric or fetal echocardiology. Most of these designations require you to have completed some formal education, pass an exam from the credentialing agency and partake in continuing education to maintain registration.

Employment and Salary Statistics

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average yearly salary for cardiovascular technologists and technicians was $53,050 in 2012 (www.bls.gov). The BLS projected that from 2012-2022, employment of cardiovascular technologists and technicians would increase by 30%, which is much faster than average. Employment was expected to grow most quickly in doctors' offices and diagnostic laboratories due to an increase in outpatient care. Also contributing to the projected increase in employment is a growing aging population. Job prospects were expected to be best for those with multiple credentials and training in a wide range of procedures.

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