In a professional clinical setting, a certified cardiovascular technician and technologist assists a cardiologist or other medical doctor. Cardiologists are medical doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses of the heart and blood vessels. Also, a cardiovascular technician and technologist aids a cardiologist and any supplemental nursing staff by developing and nourishing healthy clinical relationships among patients, loved ones and their doctors as well.
Cardiovascular Technician Schools By State
A typical cardiovascular technician and technologist career starts by successfully completing a two or four-year degree program. Today, hundreds of junior colleges, community colleges and other medical technician institutions around the country offer accredited associate degree programs for students interested in a career as a certified cardiovascular technician and technologist.
Cardiovascular Technician and Technologist Job Description
As a credentialed cardiovascular technician and technologist, you will be responsible for preparing and scheduling appointments in addition to being capable of explaining complex cardiovascular procedures in a simple, straightforward manner to patients and their families and loved ones too. Some other possible on the job requirements may include day-to-day tasks such as:
- Documenting, performing, and analyzing medical test results and relying this information to a physician effectively.
- Maintaining and preparing cardiovascular equipment and patients for Doppler ultrasounds, electrocardiographs (EKGs), or other noninvasive cardiovascular procedures.
- Maintaining, storing, and retrieving medical records and conducting ultrasounds and other cardiovascular procedures as directed by a patient’s physician.
- Monitoring a patients’ heart rate and other vascular vital signs during invasive open-heart surgical procedures such as bypass operations.
- Assisting a physician with cardiac catheterization procedures such as a balloon angioplasty.
Areas of Specialization as a Cardiovascular Technician and Technologist
Within the scope of cardiovascular technician and technologist careers, there are a few areas of specialization you can choose to pursue whilst enrolled in school. These areas of specialization include unique fields such as:
- Invasive cardiology technology
- Noninvasive cardiologic technology
- Vascular sonography
Invasive Cardiology Technicians
An invasive cardiology technologist focuses on assisting a cardiologist perform invasive procedures such as cardiac catheterization. The technicians’ duties during one of these procedures may include tasks such as cleaning, shaving, and applying the proper dose of anesthesia to the groin area before the patient receives a heart catheter. Sometimes this procedure involves a more complex procedure known as balloon angioplasty, which involves the treatment of blockages in the blood vessels. As the procedure progresses, it is the technologists job to assist the physician performing the delicate medical procedure by monitoring a patient’s blood pressure and heart rate. That is, a cardiology technologist is expected to alert physicians of any potential complications.
Noninvasive Cardiologic Technicians
Noninvasive cardiologic procedures encompass medical treatments which do not involve the insertion of medical instrumentation into a patient’s body. One such medical procedure is known as echocardiography, which involves the use of ultrasound technologies to detect and monitor a patient’s cardiovascular condition and relay that information to the patient’s physician.
Echocardiography technicians use the latest ultrasound technologies to view a patient’s heart valves and chambers and create images known as echocardiograms. Echocardiograms can be performed while a patient is inactive and resting depending on the type of testing ordered by a patient’s physicians.
Another specialized field of noninvasive cardiovascular medicine encompasses the performing of vascular sonographs that monitor and record a patient’s pulse rate, vascular blood flow, cerebral blood circulation, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, abdominal circulation, and peripheral circulation as well. These measurements are often monitored during or after invasive cardiologic surgeries, even though the sonographs themselves are considered non-invasive. Sonographers then rely the proper information to a patient’s physician in order to complete a medical diagnosis.
Lastly, an accredited cardiovascular technician and technologist perform other noninvasive cardiologic procedures known as electrocardiographs. This procedure involves the placing of electrodes on a patient’s arms, chest, and legs in order to record minute electrical impulses for a number of tests. Usually, a patient’s physician orders an EKG readout as a part of a routine heart check up. But often an EKG is performed before an invasive surgical procedure in order to give a patient’s physician more information on a patient’s current medical condition. Other procedures involving the use of an EKG technician include stress testing and Holter monitoring as well.
Over the next ten years or so, employment opportunities for a licensed cardiovascular technician and technologist are expected to jump approximately 25%. This rate of anticipated growth is faster on average than many other different medical careers. It is certain that as more of the U.S. population continues to age, the demand for invasive and noninvasive cardiologic procedures will increase likewise.*
On average, a licensed professional cardiovascular technician and technologist is capable of earning an annual income of approximately $48,000. In fact, the top 10% of experienced cardiovascular technicians and technologists bring home upwards of $70,000 per year working in either a hospital or private practioner setting.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/