Cardiovascular Technician Job Description
Cardiovascular technicians perform diagnostic tests to help physicians diagnose problems with the heart and blood vessels. They work very closely with cardiovascular technologists, and assist with catheterizations, electrocardiograms (EKGs), lung capacity tests, and other diagnostic tests.
All cardiovascular technicians work in healthcare facilities like hospitals, care centers, laboratories, and physician’s offices.
Cardiovascular technicians need to be able to work well with patients. Patients with heart problems can be very worried and stressed about the outcome of their tests, and technicians can help put them at ease by being professional, kind, and understanding. Being able to relate to people and listen to their concerns is a huge asset in this occupation.
Cardiovascular technicians do not perform invasive procedures. Those procedures require additional training, and are normally performed by cardiovascular technologists. However, technicians are able to assist with those procedures, which can help them learn on the job.
Cardiovascular technicians who specialize in stress testing are known as EKG technicians. These technicians use electrocardiograms, which measure patients’ heart rates, blood pressure, and other vital signs.
Cardiovascular technicians spend most of their shifts working on their feet. They also may have to help move patients who are unable to move on their own. This isn’t a physically demanding occupation, but it can be exhausting.
This can be a stressful occupation as well. Many patients that cardiovascular technicians work with have terminal or chronic diseases, and it can be difficult to see them suffering.
The majority of people in this occupation work full time. Those who work in hospitals and other 24 hour care facilities may need to work on nights, weekends, and holidays.
Responsibilities for cardiovascular technician jobs often include:
- Using electrocardiograms to monitor patients’ blood pressure during procedures.
- Explaining testing procedures to patients to educate them and reduce anxiety.
- Alerting physicians to abnormalities in patients’ physical responses during tests.
- Using a spirometer or other testing equipment to diagnose problems with the pulmonary system.
How to Become a Cardiovascular Technician
Some cardiovascular technicians are trained on the job, but most employers prefer to hire candidates who have an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree. Without a degree, it isn’t possible to earn a certification.
Certifications are important in this occupation, because many insurance providers won’t pay for services if they aren’t administered by a certified technician. To become certified, technicians need to graduate from an accredited program and pass a test. There are numerous certifications available, and the one you choose should align with your chosen area of specialty.
Most cardiovascular technicians take specialized college courses in vascular technology. These programs normally provide students with work experience in a clinic, where they are able to learn on the job while working under the supervision of experienced technicians or technologists.
The majority of educational programs last for two years, but many community colleges also offer one year certificate programs.
Whether you choose to enroll in a two year program or a one year program should depend on your long term goals. Credits from a two year school are more likely to transfer to a four year college or university than those earned from a one year program.
There are currently 49,400 cardiovascular technicians in the United States, with 2,210 new cardiovascular technician job openings created each year.
Cardiovascular Technician jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Cardiovascular Technician Salaries
Cardiovascular Technician salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most cardiovascular technicians make between $36,200 – $66,300 per year, or $17.42 – $31.88 per hour.