Cardiovascular Technician

Career Overview

Cardiovascular technicians are invaluable specialized physician assistants that diagnose and treat heart conditions. Typical duties of a cardiovascular technician include scheduling appointments, updating patient histories, explaining test procedures, operating test equipment like catheters or EKG machines, and identifying problems. Cardiovascular technicians may specialize in electrocardiograms or stress testing, which are conducted before patients undergo surgery. Some medical professionals work in hospitals, while others work in private practices or clinics. Most people work 40 hours a week, which may include evenings or weekends.

Required Degrees or Certifications

Some people receive on-the-job training, but to remain competitive, most cardiovascular technicians have an associate’s degree with accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Professionals (CAAHEP). Most employers want their cardiovascular technicians certified by the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) or the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS).

Expected Pay Scale Range

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for a cardiovascular technician is around $47,010. However, salaries range from as low as $25,510 to more than $74,760. Generally speaking, the highest paid cardiovascular technicians work in hospitals, rather than private practices, diagnostic laboratories, or diagnostic imaging centers.

Pay also ranges according to geographic location. Some of the highest paying states for this position include: California ($16-32/hr), Texas ($14-25/hr), Illinois ($13-23/hr), Arizona ($15-19/hr) and Ohio ($12-21/hr). The highest paying certification is for a “Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist” (RCIS) who can make up to $37 per hour.

Career Outlook

Cardiovascular technicians held approximately 49,500 jobs at last count in 2008. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment for this position will grow much faster than average, adding another 11,900 jobs by 2018. The aging population, increased prevalence of heart disease, advances in screening procedures and greater awareness will all contribute to the growth of this field. To have the best job prospects, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recommends being flexible in where you are willing to live or what hours you will work and seeking multiple credentials.

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