What Are Popular Cardiovascular Technology Career Options?

Most cardiovascular technicians and technologists work in hospitals. They can specialize in areas such as vascular technology, electrocardiography, echocardiography and invasive cardiology. Schools offering Cardiovascular Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Options

Cardiovascular technicians and technologists specialize in a number of areas to assist doctors and hospital patrons with assessing and diagnosing medical conditions. Popular subfields include vascular technology, electrocardiography, echocardiography and invasive cardiology.

Important Facts About Popular Cardiovascular Technology Career Options

Professional Certification Voluntary, but preferred by employers; available from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Credentialing International
Key Skills Attention to detail; coordination; physical stamina; technical skills and social nuance
Work Environment Hospitals; offices of physicians; medical and diagnostic laboratories
Similar Occupations Medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians; nuclear medicine technologists; radiation therapists; radiologic and MRI technologists

Vascular Technology

Vascular technologists work with doctors who diagnose and treat circulation disorders. They perform basic procedures, such as completing medical records, analyzing circulation patterns and taking patients' vital signs and blood pressure. Vascular technologists aren't involved in invasive procedures, but they often assist patients directly before or after surgery.

Electrocardiography

Electrocardiograph (EKG) technicians use EKG equipment to monitor heart weaknesses and rhythms. An EKG detects electrical movement of the heart through electrodes attached to different parts of a patient's body, including the chest, arms and legs. EKGs are also used to detect irregular and abnormal heartbeats. The results of an EKG are recorded onto graph paper, and electrocardiograph technicians sometimes are responsible for interpreting the results.

Echocardiography

Echocardiograph technicians produce echocardiograms, which are sonograms of the heart. Instead of using electrical impulses like EKG technicians do, echocardiography technicians employ ultrasound technology to create accurate medical images. Echocardiograph technicians monitor the heart's ability to pump blood and the effectiveness of heart valves, in addition to identifying potential areas of blood leakage and irregular muscular movements. Although most cardiac sonograms are 2-dimensional, improving technology often allows technicians to create 3-dimensional views of the heart.

Invasive Cardiology

Cardiovascular technicians who assist physicians with invasive cardiologic procedures are known as cardiology technicians. To diagnose various heart ailments, physicians are often required to give patients catheters or electrophysiology tests. Cardiology technicians help physicians perform these procedures, which can determine circulation problems, blockages and other disorders.

Education

Cardiovascular technicians are generally required to have an associate's degree in cardiovascular technology, though many seek 4-year degrees or additional certification. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Professionals (CAAHEP) provides a database of accredited cardiovascular technology programs across the country.

Career Outlook and Salary

There were approximately 51,080 cardiovascular technician and technologist positions in the U.S. in 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The BLS expected this to increase by 22%, to 63,500 jobs, by 2024. Job prospects were forecast to be greater for those with certification in multiple specialty areas. In 2014, the median annual salary for cardiovascular technicians was $54,330, based on BLS figures.

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