Cardiovascular Tech Job Description

Cardiovascular technicians assist cardiologists and other specialists with tests and procedures of the heart and blood vessels.

Cardiovascular technicians assist cardiologists and other specialists with tests and procedures of the heart and blood vessels.

Conduct tests on pulmonary or cardiovascular systems of patients for diagnostic purposes. May conduct or assist in electrocardiograms, cardiac catheterizations, pulmonary functions, lung capacity, and similar tests.

The cardiovascular tech job description includes assisting physicians in diagnosing and treating cardiac (heart) and peripheral vascular (blood vessel) ailments. Cardiovascular techs may specialize in any of three areas of practice: invasive cardiology, echocardiography, and vascular technology. Cardiovascular technicians who specialize in electrocardiograms (EKGs), stress testing, and Holter monitors are known as cardiographic technicians, or EKG technicians.

The correct terminology depends on the cardiovascular tech job description and training. However, the common usage is cardiovascular tech or cardiovascular technician. Cardiovascular technologist is used less often. The range in a cardiovascular tech job description will vary widely. Techs in a smaller organization will be less specialized and have a broader range of duties.

Working Environment

Cardiovascular tech's generally work a 5-day, 40-hour week that may include weekends. Those in catheterization laboratories tend to work longer hours and may work evenings. They also may be on call during the night and on weekends. As they are usually paid hourly this can result in significant extra earnings through overtime and other incentives.

Cardiovascular technologists and technicians spend a lot of time walking and standing. Heavy lifting may be involved to move equipment or transfer patients. Those who work in catheterization laboratories may face stressful working conditions because they are in close contact with patients with serious heart ailments. For example, some patients may encounter complications that have life-or-death implications.

Education and Training

A basic EKG technician may only receive a brief training period with some didactic learning while on the job. Most other technicians require a certificate or an associate’s degree from an accredited vocational school or college. Cardiovascular technologists frequently have a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent.

Employers typically prefer candidates with degrees or certificates from accredited institutes or hospital programs. Most programs also include a clinical component in which students earn credit while working under a more experienced technologist in a hospital, physician’s office, or imaging laboratory.

Licensing and Credentialing

The majority of the states require some type of licensing or registration. The usual method to obtain this is: 
1) Possess the amount of training and/or a degree from an accredited school 
2) Apply for licensure/registration in the state you wish to practice in.

Significant Points

  • About 3 out of 4 jobs are in hospitals.
  • The vast majority of cardiovascular technologists and technicians complete a 2-year junior or community college program.
  • Employment will grow much faster than the average, but the number of job openings created will be low because the occupation is small.
  • Employment of most specialties will grow, but fewer EKG technicians will be needed.
  • Employment of diagnostic medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including vascular technologists is projected to grow 39 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Career Progression

There is not a tremendous amount of upward mobility in this career. Advancement may be to positions such as lead technologists and in some instance department manager. Wages are expected to increase at a moderate pace. Those looking to assume more managerial roles or CEO responsibilities usually acquire additional education in human resources or healthcare administration.

Resources for Cardiovascular Technologists Job Description:

Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians Job Description Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.

Alliance of Cardiovascular Professionals (ACVP)

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