Cardiovascular Technologist Job Description
Cardiovascular Technologists, or technicians, work as assistants to physicians in diagnosing and treating cardiovascular ailments (dealing with the heart and surrounding blood vessels).
These technicians will also schedule appointments, consult patient files and review physicians’ notes, and monitor heart rate. They also deal with the operation and care of equipment used for testing, explain procedures to patients, and check results to identify problems. Other duties will depend upon your chosen specialty; you could choose to specialize in invasive cardiology, or non-invasive (like echocardiography) or vascular technology.
Cardiovascular technologists choosing to specialize in invasive cardiology will be known as cardiology technologists. These specialists will assist surgeons and physicians with cardiac catheterization. This procedure involves a catheter, or small tube, threaded through an artery from an entry point near the patient’s groin, all the way up to the heart. This procedure will discover any blockages in the blood vessel, or other problems, and sometimes treatment can be given this way; removing the need for heart surgery.
Cardiovascular technologists in this case will prepare patients for surgery, by shaving and cleaning the catheter entry area, and administering anesthesia. During the procedure they will monitor heart rate and blood pressure using EKG equipment, and keep the physician informed. Specialist cardiology technologists will also prepare and monitor patients during insertion of pacemakers and stents, and even assist during open heart surgery.
Cardiovascular Technologist Salary
The average salary of a cardiovascular technologist is close to $65,000 a year, with the lowest earners taking about $45,000, and the highest earners claiming more than $95,000. This of course depends greatly on training and experience, as well as the type of facility offering employment, and geographical location.
Cardiovascular Technologists Career Outlook
Employment outlook in this field is excellent, with growth expected to be much faster than average. Cardiovascular technologists with multiple skills and credentials, with certification in many procedures, will have the greatest choice of employment.
The increase in the aging population, a higher incidence of heart disease and other complications, and increasing technology, all add to the increase in demand for cardiovascular technologists.
Cardiovascular Technologist Requirements
A cardiovascular technologist will usually need an associate degree for entry-level employment, with some employers also requiring professional credentials, and continued on-the-job training is normal in this environment. Personal requirements include reliability, mechanical aptitude, and the ability to follow instructions in detail. Good people skills and a relaxed bedside manner are also necessary, and you should be articulate; able to communicate with physicians and surgeons on a technical level and then explain everything simply to your patient.
You should contact a credentialing body for details of exactly what you need for your chosen field.
Cardiovascular Technologist Training
The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Professionals (CAAHEP) accredits the programs for cardiovascular technology education. There are several of these programs available all over the United States, which lead to examinations for license and certification. Credentialing is voluntary but is the professional standard, and you will find most employers ask for credentials. These are available from the CCI (Cardiovascular Credentialing International) or the ARDMS (American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sono-graphers); if you choose a career as a sono-grapher or EKG technician, training and examinations are specialized. Once employed, a cardiovascular technologist can further their education and experience, and go on to take other exams for increased credentials, in order to advance their career. Cardiovascular Technologists are able to advance into supervisory or management positions, as well as going on to laboratory work or a teaching position.