Individuals interested in working for the healthcare industry but not spending many years in college may wonder how to become a cardiovascular technician. Cardiovascular technicians and technologists require education, training and a commitment to helping others as part of the healthcare industry. Cardiovascular techs work in many medical settings, but most are employed in hospitals. Here is an overview of cardiovascular technologists, including how to become one, career outlook and what the position entails.
What is a Cardiovascular Technician?
Also called diagnostic imaging workers, cardiovascular technicians are medical professionals who monitor patients’ heart rates and assist doctors in diagnosing and treating patients with heart problems. They prepare patients for open-heart surgeries and monitor patients during the insertion of stents and pacemakers. Cardiovascular technicians assist surgeons and doctors with cardiac catheterization, which is a procedure that involves threading a catheter through the individual’s artery to his or her heart.
They also create diagnostic tests using special imaging equipment. Cardiovascular technicians work with the patient throughout the entire process from taking the patient’s medical history and doing the cardiovascular procedure to monitoring the patient afterward and putting away the equipment.
Becoming a cardiovascular technician requires formal education in the form of a two-year associate or 4-year bachelor’s degree in cardiovascular technology, sonography, vascular technology or a similar field. To best satisfy future employers and credentialing agencies, students should make sure their training program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.
Students in sonography and vascular education programs will complete courses in applied sciences, anatomy and medical terminology but will also take specialized courses to prepare them for their specific area of expertise such as breast sonography or vascular technology. In addition to coursework, the student will complete a clinical portion where he or she works in a medical setting under the supervision of a licensed or certified technologist.
Certification and licensure are required in some states to work as a cardiovascular technician and technologist, vascular technologist and diagnostic medical sonographer. Even in states where it’s not required by law, it may be required or preferred by employers. Certification can be obtained through organizations like the Cardiovascular Credentialing International, American Registry of Radiologic Technologists and American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers.
Eligibility for certification may vary by agency, but most require the applicant have completed a training program resulting in a degree, be able to show proficiency in diagnostic testing and pass a certification exam. Aspiring cardiovascular technicians can check their state’s licensing requirements through the American Society of Radiologic Technologists.
Cardiovascular technicians and technologists are predicted to see job growth of 10 percent between 2016 and 2026 as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The baby-booming population aging and in need of medical imaging tests for diagnosing purposes contributes greatly to this projected employment growth. As of May 2017, cardiovascular technicians and technologists earned average yearly wages of $57,250 with actual wages ranging from $28,680 to $90,760 or more. Factors such as experience, degree, certifications, employer and location can all play a part in determining wages.
The overall demand for healthcare workers continues to grow every year. Since the BLS predicts that about 60,500 new cardiovascular technician and technologists jobs will be created by 2026, more and more individuals may be asking how they can become cardiovascular technicians or technologists.