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Schools With Cardiovascular Technology Programs

Individuals interested in becoming cardiovascular technicians can attend a cardiovascular technology school to learn how to diagnose and treat patients with heart and blood vessel problems. These programs train students to perform specialized tests and procedures, conduct different types of medical tests, and share the results with a physician or supervisor. Some schools also offer programs that train students how to perform certain types of administrative duties and procedures.

Skills and Training Acquired at Cardiovascular Technology School

Cardiovascular technologists are responsible for scheduling appointments, reviewing patient files, reviewing physicians' interpretations, and monitoring patients' heart rates. They may also be responsible for operating and testing equipment, explaining test procedures, and identifying problems with any equipment in the laboratory. Cardiovascular technology schools prepare students to work with EKG machines, use ultrasound equipment, and to monitor patients during open-heart surgery.

Cardiovascular Tech Training Specializations

Many cardiovascular tech training schools offer specialized programs in four areas of practice. Students may consider completing certification that specializes in one of the following areas:

  • Cardiology - helping doctors implant cardiac catheters
  • Echocardiograph - designed for cardiovascular technologists who choose to perform ultrasound procedures on patients' hearts
  • Electrocardiography - also known as EKG technicians, these professionals perform electrocardiograms, run stress tests and equip patients with Holter monitors
  • Vascular technology - designed for cardiovascular technologists who want to evaluate blood flow abnormalities

The majority of cardiovascular technologists work in hospitals, and typically work a five-day, 40-hour work week. Most spend a lot of time on their feet, lift heavy equipment, provide assistance to patients, and perform procedures that will directly impact a patients' heart function.

Training Requirements

The amount of cardiovascular tech training that an individual requires will depend on the field of interest, and qualifications. Most programs train students in both invasive and noninvasive cardiology. Students may choose to attend a cardiovascular technology school to complete a two-year program and receive an associate's degree in the field. The first year is typically dedicated to core courses, and the second year consists of specialized courses that include topics in invasive, noninvasive cardiovascular, and noninvasive vascular technology.

Certification Courses

Cardiovascular tech programs offer a number of courses that train students how to work in a laboratory setting, how to monitor and record electrocardiograms and heart pressures, and work with a cineless X-ray system. Students enrolled in certification courses learn specialized skills in the following areas:

  • Critical Care
  • Electrophysiology
  • Pediatric Cardiology
  • Outpatient Monitoring
  • Special Procedures
  • Open Heart Surgery
  • Electrocardiography
  • Echocardiography
  • Vascular Laboratory
  • Exercise Physiology

Cardiovascular Tech Certification and Accreditation

Most cardiovascular technologists who have completed certification from an accredited college or university can obtain an entry-level position in their field. Some technicians also receive on-the-job training to advance in their careers. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Professionals (CAAHEP) accredits different cardiovascular technology education programs. In 2009, there were 168 accredited programs available in the United States, and these programs were eligible to obtain professional certification in the field.

Credentialing in the field is voluntary, and is available from the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) and the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS). Continuing education is required for most people to maintain certification.

Careers After Cardiovascular Technology School

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment of cardiovascular technologists and technicians is expected to grow much faster than average than other careers. Technologists and technicians who have many professional credentials and are trained to perform a variety of procedures will have the best prospects.

Employment is expected to increase about 24 percent through 2018, which is much faster than average for all occupations. As demand for healthcare services and treatment of heart disease in the aging population increases, there will be an increased demand for highly-trained and skilled cardiovascular technicians and technologists.

As of May 2008, the median annual wages of cardiovascular technologists and technicians were $47,010. The highest ten percent earned more than $74,760, and the lowest ten percent earned less than $25,510.

Students who complete formal training may also explore career opportunities as:

  • Diagnostic medical sonographers
  • Nuclear medicine technologists
  • Radiation therapists
  • Radiologic technologists
  • Radiologic technicians
  • Respiratory therapy technicians


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