Cardiovascular Technologist and Technician

What Does a Cardiovascular Technologist and Technician Do?
Heart health is an important factor in the overall health of individuals, but it is all too often overlooked. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming about 211 lives per 100,000 people, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Cardiovascular technologists and technicians work with physicians and patients on improving patient heart health and treating existing cardiac conditions. They typically work either in invasive procedures, echocardiography, or vascular technology. Those who specialize in invasive procedures work with doctors in treatments that require entry into the body, such as cardiac catheterizations, where a tube is wound to the patientís heart to assess blood vessel blockage. Those specializing in echocardiography use ultrasound technology to look over the patientís heart chambers, valves, and surrounding vessels for abnormalities. Finally, those who specialize in vascular technology work with electrocardiograms (EKG). They hook patients up to EKG monitors and analyze the readings, as abnormalities in the readings can indicate heart issues.

What Is the Employment and Salary Outlook for a Cardiovascular Technologist and Technician?
As a huge portion of the population reaches their elderly years, heart health problems will inevitably increase because people are more susceptible to suffering from cardiac problems as they age. With heart health remaining an important issue, the need for skilled cardiovascular technologists and technicians to work alongside physicians will remain at a high. There will also be more openings for new workers as current technologists and technicians retire, advance to other positions, or leave the industry to pursue other career goals. Employment opportunities for cardiovascular technologists and technicians are expected to grow by an amazing 24 percent through 2018, a much more impressive rate than the national job growth average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those specializing in vascular technology and echocardiographs will see the most expansion in opportunities due to advancements in medical technology. Cardiovascular technologists and technicians earn an average of $47,010, according to the most current data available from the Bureau.

How Can I Become a Cardiovascular Technologist and Technician?
Cardiovascular technicians typically receive on-site training, whereas cardiovascular technologists must first obtain an associate degree in cardiovascular health. An associate degree takes about two years to earn, during which time students take courses in anatomy, biology, and other classes related to their specific specialization. Students choose to specialize in either cardiovascular, noninvasive cardiovascular or noninvasive vascular technology. The specific courses they take are related to what they choose to specialize in because the technologist programs teach students the skills and knowledge specific to their specialization. Upon graduation, technologists have the option of becoming credentialed, though most employers now commonly require that their technologists become credentialed to work. Cardiovascular technologists must often participate in continuing education programs as well in order to maintain their credentials. This requirement ensures that practicing technologists remain up-to-date in the field and also weeds out those who are not passionate enough about their occupation to learn more over time.