Cardiology Technician: Career and Salary Facts
Research what it takes to become a cardiology technician. Learn about job duties, education requirements, certification and salary to find out if this is the career for you.
What Is a Cardiology Technician?
Cardiology technicians operate a variety of medical equipment to help physicians diagnose and treat heart problems. They may be involved in diagnostic testing or help with heart surgery. There are several specialization options that cardiology technicians may consider; for instance, they may find jobs as cardiac sonographers, cardiac catheterization technologists or electrocardiogram (EKG) technicians. Jobs for cardiology technicians can be found at hospitals and medical centers as well as smaller clinics.
Take a look at the following chart for an overview of how to enter this field.
|Degree Required||Associate's degree or certificate|
|Education Field of Study||Cardiovascular technology|
|Key Responsibilities||Perform cardiac tests on patients; operate complex medical equipment; maintain medical records|
|Certification||Certification optional but preferred by employers; some insurance providers & Medicare require certification|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)||7% for cardiovascular technologists and technicians*|
|Average Salary (2018)||$58,730 for cardiovascular technologists and technicians*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
What Would My Duties Be as a Cardiology Technician?
Cardiology technicians, also known as electrocardiogram (EKG) technicians, operate medical machinery and conduct electrocardiogram tests. Under the supervision of a physician, you would perform diagnostic tests to determine a patient's heart rate and rhythm. You would assist in treadmill stress tests by taking a patient's medical history, explaining the test, attaching the patient to a monitor and documenting his or her blood pressure.
Another test you would perform is the Holter monitor test, which involves connecting electrodes to various places on a patient's body to check for heartbeat irregularities. The results of these tests are provided to the patient's physician for medical diagnosis. Depending on your employer, you also might complete some administrative duties, including scheduling patients, maintaining equipment and transcribing doctor's notes.
What Training Do I Need?
Cardiology technicians need an associate's degree or certificate in cardiovascular technology. Coursework generally covers topics like medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, basic life support and medical ethics; many programs also offer clinical practice to help you gain experience. In addition, cardiology technicians typically receive about 4-6 weeks of on-the-job training from their employers.
Do I Need to Be Certified?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that certification is optional for cardiology technicians, but it's often sought by employers. Additionally, some insurance providers will only pay for services performed by a certified technician. You can become a Certified Cardiographic Technician through Cardiovascular Credentialing International after completing a training program or submitting employer verification, as well as taking an exam. Stress test techniques, cardiac medications and basic cardiovascular electrophysiology are some of the test content areas.
What Could I Earn?
The BLS reports that in May 2018, cardiovascular technologists and technicians earned an average of about $58,730. A large majority of these workers, about 79%, were employed by hospitals. The BLS also states that job growth for cardiology technicians is expected to be about 7% during the 2018-2028 decade, which is much faster than the average for all U.S. occupations.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
Another closely related option is a job as a vascular sonographer. Rather than focusing on cardiology, these professionals use specialized imaging techniques to get information about blood flow that doctors can use for diagnostic purposes. Like cardiac technicians, they need a certificate or associate's degree for their work. For individuals who are interested in operating machines used for diagnostic testing that involves radiation, a job as a radiologic or MRI technologist makes more sense. For these jobs, it is necessary to hold an associate's degree and sometimes a certification.