In the field of healthcare, there are several career specialties for people to pursue, one of which is a cardiovascular technologist. In this position, people have a long list of responsibilities that relate to treating and diagnosing heart and blood vessel problems.
It’s a rewarding career that allows you to use a combination of technology and healthcare knowledge to aid people in a variety of ways. If you have an interest in healthcare, learn more about how to become a cardiovascular technologist through this guide.
What Is a Cardiovascular Technologist?
A cardiovascular technologist works in a lab where they perform various procedures that involve the heart. These procedures include working with and utilizing defibrillators, pacemakers, stent implants, and diagnosing heart conditions and disease.
As a cardiovascular technologist, it’s possible to specialize in one of three areas, which include cardiac sonography, invasive cardiology, and vascular technology.
What Does a Cardiovascular Technologist Do?
Cardiovascular technologists have responsibilities that correspond with blood vessels, heart, and lung disorders. When a patient undergoes a procedure, cardiovascular technologists prepare the patient, put them in position, and set up any necessary devices. They also connect the patient to any devices that diagnose or monitoring a patient’s health.
While cardiovascular technologists do play a significant role in diagnostics, they do not participate in the medical procedures themselves. However, there are situations where they assist physicians or surgeons and even interpret a patient’s reports.
Working with patients means helping them in more ways than one. A good bedside manner helps patients prepare mentally and emotionally for any procedures or diagnosis they may receive.
A significant part of a cardiovascular technologist’s job is to interpret and read reports on their patients. This means that reading comprehension skills are a must when working in this field. Keep in mind that interpreting reports may be what leads to a certain diagnosis or treatment.
Working as a cardiovascular technologist involves dealing with multiple forms of equipment. This means performing routine maintenance and understanding the best way to properly maintain and utilize all the equipment necessary for work.
Essential Cardiovascular Technologist Skills
Cardiovascular technologists must pay attention to others and actively listen to what is going on. This includes patients and medical professionals. It’s not just listening, cardiovascular technologists must ask appropriate questions and understand the points of a patient.
In any medical field, it’s important to have incredible critical thinking skills. Throughout your position, you have to use logic and reasoning to come up with solutions or unique approaches to various problems. These skills are vital for everyday activities in this position.
There are times when working in this position, where you will identify and solve complex problems. This means reviewing all the information you have available, creating multiple potential solutions, and implementing the best ones with the least amount of consequence.
Cardiovascular Technologist Salary and Job Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary estimate of a cardiovascular technologist is $68,750 per year, or $33.05 an hour. In terms of job outlook, the rate is 12 percent for this position, which is much faster than the average position.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Cardiovascular Technologist?
While a cardiovascular technologist does need a degree, it does not take nearly as long to become one as other healthcare occupations. Most cardiovascular technologist positions require an associate degree, which means it only takes two years to become one.
How to Become a Cardiovascular Technologist: A Step by Step Guide
Anyone can become a cardiovascular technologist. Below are the steps to become one from receiving your formal education to getting the credentials to work in your chosen state.
Step 1: Earn Your Certificate or Degree in Cardiovascular Technology
The first step to working in this field is to take part in a cardiovascular technologist program. There are various courses to take in cardiovascular technology and a diploma, certificate, or degree are all acceptable for this field.
In most cases, these programs take one to two years to complete. Some institutions offer bachelor’s degree programs in cardiovascular technology, which means you’ll spend four years in the program.
Step 2: Earn Your License or Certification
Depending on your location, you need a license or certificate to work as a cardiovascular technologist. Some licensing boards require you to meet certain professional requirements and in most situations, you’ll take an exam.
Some states also require you to earn certification. Most employers prefer hiring someone with a certificate. Also, insurance providers typically only pay when procedures are done by someone who is certified.
Keep in mind that several certifications range from the general duties of a technologist to the more highly specialized positions.
Step 3: Start Work as a Cardiovascular Technologist
Once you meet all the credentials of your state, the next step is to gain real experience. With the fast growth rate of this position, the odds of finding a job are higher than in other careers.
If you cannot get a position right away, consider interning at a hospital or clinic to gain more experience in the field. Some individuals volunteer or intern while they earn their degree, to increase the chances of earning a position after graduating.
Step 4: Continue Your Education
Cardiovascular technologists must stay up to date with the latest advancements in the field and master new machines as they come out.
Every state has its own continuing education standards. These standards typically involve completing a certain number of courses within a two or three-year period.
Should You Become a Cardiovascular Technologist in 2020?
When a person experiences an issue with their heart, lungs, or blood vessels, the condition is oftentimes life-threatening. A cardiovascular technologist plays an important role in helping someone overcome these conditions and use the machines and technology necessary to improve their health or monitor their condition.
There are various roles to undertake in the healthcare field. If you want to help people without undergoing several years of college and medical school studies, then a career as a cardiovascular technologist may be right for you.