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Cardiac Technology Courses and Degrees

Cardiac technology is a medical field in which you can help assess the health of a patient by testing the patient's heart and cardiac systems. Read about certificate and degree programs that can train you to become a cardiac technician and find out what you'd learn as a cardiac technology student.

What You Need to Know

That a good-functioning heart is essential to our bodies almost goes without saying. To that end, cardiac technicians have studied up on all that they can to correctly monitor our critical internal pumps so that any problems can be detected and the next treatment options sought. Courses in ultrasound technology, imaging and anatomy are offered at a variety of degree levels, from certificates to master's degree programs.

Programs Programs should hold accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
Courses Electrocardiography, pharmacology, cardiac anatomy, ultrasound, fluid exchange balance, imaging technology procedures
Degree Options Certificate, associate's, bachelor's and master degree programs in cardiology technology

What Is Cardiac Technology?

Cardiac technology, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), refers to the professionals who use equipment to analyze and interpret the cardiac health of a patient (www.bls.gov). Factors in cardiac health may include blood flow, pulse rate and electrical frequencies from the heart. Most technicians serve as aids to patients as they prepare for a hospital stay, after surgery or when patients require that their cardiac system be checked for further analysis.

The equipment that checks on the patient includes invasive and non-invasive equipment. According to the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), which accredits educational programs for cardiovascular technology, invasive examinations include studying cardiac tissue through a catheter, blood samples or during surgery (www.caahep.org). Non-invasive examinations involve using electrical readings to measure heart rates during rest or exercise. You will then use radiological or sonographic technology to analyze the cardiac tissue.

What Degrees Are Needed?

According to CAAHEP, training programs that range from six months to four years are available across the country to properly train you as a cardiac technician. As an educational prerequisite, the CAAHEP states that holding at least a high school diploma, GED or existing qualification in an allied health occupation is sufficient enough to enter into the degree program. The programs the CAAHEP accredits include certificates, associate's degrees, bachelor's degrees and master's degrees. Some programs allow students to choose from a concentration or specialization, such as the following:

  • Pediatric echocardiography
  • Adult echocardiography
  • Invasive cardiovascular technology
  • Noninvasive vascular study
  • Cardiac electrophysiology

What Courses Are Found in These Programs?

No matter what academic level, there are many of the same courses in a program. The programs are usually didactic and include immediate hands-on training in a laboratory setting. Some examples of courses include:

  • Imaging technology procedures
  • Fluid exchange and balance
  • Electrocardiography
  • Pharmacology
  • Cardiac anatomy
  • Ultrasound instrumentation
  • Cardiac health assessment