Cardiovascular Technologist Jobs
Cardiovascular technologists work with medical technology specifically dealing with the heart and blood vessels. Using this medical technology, cardiovascular technologist help physicians to diagnose and treat cardiac (heart) and vascular (blood vessel) ailments.
Job Description: A Day in the Life of a Cardiovascular Technologist
The majority of cardiovascular technologists – approximately 75% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics – work in hospitals. Cardiovascular technologists may work some irregular hours, such as weekends and evenings. Cardiovascular technologists perform ultrasounds and cardiovascular procedures, monitor a patient’s heart rate, and use information gained from these procedures to help doctors in patient diagnosis and care. Unlike a medical laboratory technologist who spends the majority of his time in a lab, being a cardiovascular technologist does require some contact with patients.
Cardiovascular technologists may choose to specialize in one of three areas: vascular technology, echocardiography, or invasive cardiology. Invasive cardiology involves invasive heart-related techniques, such as assisting physicians in the insertion of a small tube (called a catheter) into the heart. Vascular technology involves procedures related to the blood vessels, and may include the use of ultrasound instruments to monitor blood flow, pressure and circulation. Echocardiography involves the use of electrocardiogram (EKG) and sonograms to monitor heart condition.
General Requirements and Training
Most cardiovascular technologists get their training by completing an accredited 2-year junior or community college program.
The first year involves basic science and medical courses, including anatomy and chemistry. The second year involves specialized instruction in either invasive cardiology, vascular technology or echocardiography.
After completing these educational requirements cardiovascular technologists may obtain certification from either the Cardiovascular Credentialing International or the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers.
Salary, Benefits, and Opportunities for Advancement
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median earnings of cardiovascular technologists is $47,010 per year as of May 2008. According to Payscale.com, a cardiovascular technologist with one to four years of experience earns an average of $16.26 to $25.46 hourly, while a cardiovascular technologist with twenty or more years of experience earns an average of $20.06 to $34.98.