Cardiovascular Technologist or Technician

Pros


  • You will be working with people who have serious heart ailments, helping them to heal and recover.
  • Job growth is expected to be high in this field.
  • This is a good job for people who like to fix things and work with their hands.

Cons

  • Many of the patients you will see have serious health problems, and with these people in your care you may face life or death situations.
  • A lot of time is spent standing in this job, and you may be required to lift heavy equipment and/or help move patients.
  • This type of work requires you to be able to deal with a range of people, so good communication skills are a must.

Overview

Cardiovascular technologists and technicians help doctors to treat patients that have various medical problems related to the heart and blood vessels. Generally, cardiovascular technologists and technicians will either work in invasive or non-invasive cardiology. Invasive cardiology involves procedures that insert catheters into a patient’s artery with the goal of diagnosing and treating blockages that may be causing heart problems. Non-invasive cardiology does not involve inserting instruments into a patient’s body, and involves using machinery such as an ultrasound scanner to diagnose problems.

The day to day work of cardiovascular technologists and technicians consists of scheduling appointments, reviewing diagnostics and monitoring heart rates. They also are responsible for taking care of the specialized equipment that they use. The remainder of the daily activities for this work depends on what specialty one is concentrated in. For example, some cardiovascular technologists and technicians are trained to diagnose and treat circulation disorders. These are called vascular technicians. Another group is focused on electrocardiography, which is a monitoring device that measures the electrical signals from the heart.

Almost all cardiovascular technologists and technicians work in hospitals. They will spend a lot of time on their feet, and may have to assist in transferring patients that are not capable of moving independently. A good portion of cardiovascular technologists and technicians need to spend evenings and weekends at work as the nature of this career means there are emergency situations that occur outside of the normal workday.

Education

The minimum requirement for cardiovascular technologists and technicians to gain employment is to have completed a two year degree, usually at a community college. Many hospitals also require cardiovascular technologists and technicians to be properly certified. Once employed, they will also receive on the job training. There are a lot of training programs that are available for cardiovascular technologists and technicians to be able to concentrate on a particular specialty, and many hospitals will either reimburse the associated tuition costs or perhaps even provide hands-on training taught by experienced personnel from within the organization.

Job Prospects

There are excellent job prospects for this field of work. Those who have gone beyond the minimum standard for training in this profession will have the best opportunities. Oftentimes workers in this field will switch specialties as the market demand dictates. As people age they require the services of cardiovascular technologists and technicians because heart disease is a serious problem that afflicts many people. The increasing need for this type of medical service as well as older cardiovascular technologists and technicians retiring is creating strong demand in this profession.

Advancement Opportunities

Since this type of work is generally done in large hospital organizations, advancement opportunities are good for those who are ambitious. Spending time in special training programs and taking advantage of specific programs to increase responsibility at one’s employer are the best methods by which to advance. Cardiovascular technologists and technicians can be found working in management or other very specialized duties that are an asset to their employer.