What's the Job Description of a Cardiopulmonary Technician?

Cardiopulmonary technicians help patients who are living with heart conditions or who may be having heart problems. Continue reading to learn more about becoming a cardiopulmonary technician. Schools offering Cardiovascular Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

As a cardiopulmonary technician, you'll serve as a physician's assistant. You may schedule appointments, monitor heart rates and vital signs, maintain testing equipment, explain procedures to patients, and track test results. Other general tasks assigned to cardiopulmonary techs include taking patient histories, preparing patients for testing, and supervising other cardiology assistants. Additional tasks depend on your specialty area.

Important Facts About Cardiopulmonary Technicians

Licensure Certified Cardiographic Technician certification required for licensure
Professional Certifications Basic Life Support (BLS) certification preferred by most employers
Key Skills Critical thinking, social awareness, reading comprehension, good judgment and decision making, customer focused, problem solving, clear communication
Similar Occupations Radiation therapists; respiratory therapists; diagnostic medical sonographers; nuclear medicine technologists; respiratory therapy technicians

Invasive Cardiology

This specialty area focuses on invasive procedures, which involve testing done inside the body. The common job title is cardiology technologist, and job duties may include assisting with catheterization procedures and monitoring patients during procedures.

Noninvasive Cardiology

In this specialty, you'll deal with testing and procedures that don't involve working inside the body. You may help with testing and placing electrodes on the chest or other areas of the body. You will work with different pieces of ultrasound equipment and record the results of tests for the physician to use for diagnosing patients.

Cardiographic Technician

A cardiographic technician may also be referred to as an electrocardiograph (EKG) technician. In this career, you work mainly with EKG machines and testing. You may run tests on patients who don't have a heart condition because EKG testing is often required before any surgical procedure.

Working Conditions

As a cardiopulmonary technician, you typically work in a medical office, hospital, or other healthcare facility. You'll work with a diverse group of patients and with other healthcare personnel, including nurses, other technicians, and doctors. Some situations may be stressful, and you may be required to work long hours. The job also comes with safety concerns, such as being exposed to blood and body fluids.

Job Requirements

You'll likely need an associate's degree to work in this field. Programs usually offer a combination of classroom and hands-on training. You may also get training on-the-job.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to the BLS, the median annual salary earned by cardiovascular technologists and technicians, the category under which cardiopulmonary technicians fall, was $54,330 in May 2014. The employment of cardiovascular technologists and technicians is expected to increase by 20% between 2014-2024, per the BLS (bls.gov).

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