A career as a cardiovascular technologist is a great jump start toward a lifelong association with the healthcare industry. Many young adults choose to become some type of medical technologist because it requires very little training and they can get to work soon after they graduate from high school.
If you are looking for an excellent health care job to start your career with, you should consider what US news has ranked as the #8 Best Health Care Support Job in the nation, which is the role of a cardiovascular technologist.
What is a Cardiovascular Technologist?
A cardiovascular technologist can assist with diagnosing and treating patients who have issues with heart and blood vessel issues. These healthcare providers spend most of their shifts up on their feet. They will need to wear lead vests which can be very heavy when they are exposed to radiation and will need to move patients around that are unable to walk on their own. Cardiovascular technologists need to be up-to-date with the latest high-tech advancements in their field. They should also have excellent communication skills and great bedside manner with their patients to set their mind at ease.
Patients visit cardiovascular techs when they are having chest pains, shortness of breath or an irregular heartbeat. These professionals are responsible for preparing their patients for tests such as X-Rays that can show what is happening in the arteries or blood vessels, as well as the heart. This allows their doctor to clearly diagnose their health issue and understand what needs to be done to treat it.
What Qualities Does a Cardiovascular Technologist Need to Have?
A cardiovascular technologist will need to have great attention to detail, be able to focus under stressful conditions and be very compassionate toward their patients. They will also need plenty of stamina and as they spend most of their time on their feet.
Sometimes a technician will see patients who are relatively healthy and just coming either for a check-up or to rule out any heart issues. Other times, they will encounter patients who are very ill and do not have much longer to live. These patients need to have a kind and compassionate person by their side to make them feel comfortable whatever they are facing.
The Job Outlook for Cardiovascular Technologist
If you are interested in finding a job that has a great outlook for the next 10 to 20 years, a career in cardiovascular technology is the right choice for you. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this profession is expected to grow at a rate of 10% which will create as many as 5,400 new jobs between the years 2016 and 2026.
There are two main reasons why the job outlook is so great for cardiovascular techs. The baby boomer generation is getting older and more of them will rely on the care and technology that is used by these professionals to diagnose serious issues of the heart and cardiovascular system. Another main reason for the job growth is due to healthcare legislation because it has recently provided more people with access to cardiovascular technology, testing and routine checkups.
How Much Does a Cardiovascular Technologist Make?
Another reason why so many people are interested in becoming a cardiovascular tech is because of the salary. With the need for experts in this field growing every day, the annual salary amount for cardio techs should also be on the rise to entice more people to consider this type of career move.
The amount will vary based on what part of the country you live in and whether you have a bachelor’s degree or a n associate degree in cardiovascular technology.
On average, cardiovascular technologists make a median wage of $55,570 per year. That was taken from statistics gathered in 2016. The higher-paid 10% technicians received $89,450 annually while the lower-paid 10% of techs made on average $28,650 on average.
In the 75th percentile, cardiovascular technologists made $73,050 per year while the 25TH percentile made $37,690 annually.
Similar occupations such as an Echo Technician or a Cardiac Monitor tech both earn relatively the same amount each year. Cardiac Monitor Techs earn around $59,000 per year while Echo Technicians earn around $61,000.
What Type of Education or Training is Needed to Become a Cardiovascular Tech?
As mentioned earlier, there are bachelors and associate degrees available for cardiovascular technologists. Usually, these programs will include courses in subjects like anatomy as well as applied sciences and invasive and noninvasive cardiovascular technology as well as many others. If a professional enrolls in a cardiovascular tech program by way of a similar healthcare field like radiation therapy, they can receive on-the-job training for this program.
Every state is different when it comes to gaining a license or certification in cardio tech. However, employs may have a different idea of what they want from a technician that they hire. Most want their new tech to be certified through an accredited organization such as The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.
What is a Typical Day Like for Cardiovascular Technologists?
You may be wondering what a typical day at work is like for a cardiovascular tech. Daily, a cardio tech will monitor their patient’s blood pressure and their heart rate by using EKG equipment. They will perform various diagnostic and therapeutic procedures to let their doctor know if something isn’t right. The tech monitors the patient’s level of comfort and safety during all the tests and they report everything back to their referring physician.
The main responsibility of a cardio tech is to explain all testing procedures to the patient in words that they can easily understand. This is to help reduce their level of anxiety and help them feel more at ease once they know exactly what is going on.
Additional tasks that a tech may perform while their patient is undergoing tests is observe their gauges, as well as any video screens that show data while their cardiovascular system is analyzed. Any sudden drop or rise in their vitals could mean that there is a serious issue with their cardio health and that will need to be addressed quickly.
Cardiovascular technologists will also conduct EKGs, phonocardiograms, echocardiograms, stress tests and other types of tests related to the cardiovascular system throughout their day. These tests help to record the patient’s cardiac activity by using special electric testing equipment, devices or lab instruments. They also help prepare and position their patients for testing.
In short, a basic day for a cardio tech would look like this.
- Monitor patient’s conditions during their treatments, procedures or activities.
- Inform their physicians, specialists and other professionals regarding their patient’s current conditions
- Explain the medical procedures and test results to the patients or their family members.
How Satisfied Are Cardiovascular Technologists with Their Jobs?
Overall, most people who work as a cardiovascular technologist are pleased with their job. But there are some disadvantages to this line of work that may cause some individuals to choose an alternate career path.
There are plenty of opportunities for cardiovascular techs to advance and move up to gain a better salary or more job responsibility. If you would like to use your job as a cardiovascular technologist as a starting point so that you may move up to something bigger and better later, this is a great option for you.
A couple of disadvantages associated with being a cardiovascular tech include the high level of stress that you are put through and the low level of schedule flexibility. The work environment and overall complexities that you must face each day can be very stressful. So, you will need to be able to work well under pressure and remain calm when put under stress. The fact that you must deal with many high-risk patients while working in this field is another reason why it is considered such a high stress job. Although cardiovascular techs can perform tests that could help save a patient’s life, they may also have to deliver tragic news to a patient, or their family members as well.
Because there is currently such a high demand for good cardiovascular techs, it can be difficult for some facilities to hire on more than one cardio techs at a time. Therefore, your schedule may not always be as flexible as you like, or you may be on call and must come in to work evenings or weekends.
Do You Think Being a Cardiovascular Technologist Is Right for You?
Being a cardiovascular technologist is a great way to enter the healthcare field without spending too much time training or earning your degree. The courses are considerably short and once you complete them you will be on your way toward helping patients with various cardiovascular conditions. The typical day at work for a cardio tech can be filled with stress, heavy lifting, and staying on your feet most of the time. It can be a high stress job, but it is also one that is very rewarding.