What do Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians Do?
Cardiovascular technologists and technicians conduct diagnostic assessments on patients, focusing on the cardiovascular (heart and blood vessels) and pulmonary (lungs) systems. They perform tests of the heart’s electrical activity by means of electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG). They also test and monitor lung capacity and other health markers.There are 2,300 projected job openings each year in this field. This represents a 30 percent increase in cardiovascular technologists and technicians nationwide over a 10-year period.
Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians Skills and Abilities
To be a cardiovascular technologists or technician, you must have a basic understanding of medicine and the human body, including medical terminology and diagnostic procedures. You must possess critical thinking skills and be able to relate to others, making them feel comfortable and communicating effectively with them. Critical thinking, reasoning skills and monitoring abilities are all necessary for this occupation, as is attention to detail. If you are both analytical and personable, you might have what it takes to be a cardiovascular technician.
Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians Duties
Simultaneously interacting with patients and focusing on high-tech, sensitive equipment is the main role of a cardiovascular technologist or technician. You will have to converse with the patient, both to exchange necessary information and to help him or her relax. You will also attach monitoring equipment to the patient and monitor readings. You will be responsible for sterilizing areas and equipment, and likely assisting with surgeries. You will operate all kinds of equipment and will accurately read and record data for physicians and surgeons to analyze. Specific tasks include:
- Basic paperwork and administrative tasks
- Appointment setting
- Operating imaging equipment
- Ensuring that safety practices are being followed
- Precise record-keeping
- Typing and transcription
- Obtaining and recording patient information
- Monitoring a patient’s blood pressure and heart rate
- Discerning when there is a problem and notifying the attending physician
- Preparing patients for diagnostic tests
- Ensuring that diagnostic equipment is clean, available and in good working order
- Comparing measurements and other data to identify abnormalities
- Performing injections when necessary
- Constantly monitoring screens and gauges
- Interacting with patients and their families
- Preparing reports for surgeons and physicians
- Making calculations and collecting data
- Examining, calibrating and repairing medical equipment
- Explaining test results and upcoming procedures to patients and their families
- Preparing supplies
- Keeping inventory counts up to date and reordering supplies
- Training others
Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians Tools and Technology
The tools you will use as a cardiovascular technologist or technician include a range of specialized monitoring equipment, such as defibrillator implants (pace makers), image capturing systems of various kinds, vascular filters and contrast power injectors. You will need to use inventory management software, database software and diagnostic image review software. Familiarity and comfort with all sorts of computer systems is necessary.
Education and Training for Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians
To become a cardiovascular technologist or technician, you will need at least an Associate’s degree. Some of the instructional programs that might lead to this position are electrocardiograph technology, cardiopulmonary technology, perfusion technology or cardiovascular technology.
Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians Salary
The median annual salary for cardiovascular technologists and technicians is around $54,300, with the majority of people earning between $28,100 and $84,900. This works out to an hourly wage of between $13.52 and $40.84, with the median hourly figure at $26.12.
Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians Jobs by Geography
Texas, Puerto Rico and Utah each have a projected growth rate of over 40 percent in this field. Dozens of other states project greater than 30 percent growth over 10 years. If you want to be a cardiovascular technologist or technician, you have a good chance of finding open positions all over the United States.