How to Become
a Cardiovascular Technician
Best Education Tracks, Key Skills, and Top Certifications
The health industry is one of the most essential and prestigious in the world. Most health workers follow a difficult and demanding career path to achieve their positions. There are many specialists in hospitals and health centers.
What Is a Cardiovascular Technician?
A cardiovascular technician, also known as a cardiovascular technologist, is a healthcare specialist who can detect problems in the pulmonary and cardiac systems.
These professionals use technology and complex procedures to diagnose, monitor, and assist people with heart diseases. A CVT is not a cardiologist. However, they work together to support patients with heart problems.
What Type of School Should You Attend
to Become a Cardiovascular Technician?
If you want to become a cardiovascular technician, you should attend a vocational school, community college, or university. Some laboratories and hospitals ask for an associate degree as a minimum requirement. However, others prefer a bachelor’s degree from a university.
Best Cardiovascular Technician Education Tracks
Getting a job in the healthcare industry can be a long and complicated process. However, the career status and benefits can motivate you to accelerate your preparation. Below you will see the best education tracks to become a CVT.
A vocational school, or trade school, is an institution where you can learn specific hands-on skills. These schools can help you gain experience, practical knowledge, and certification in your field. Many hospitals and trade schools offer diplomas in cardiovascular technology. You will have to study for about a year to get your diploma.
Most employers require an associate degree when hiring a cardiovascular technician. You can get this degree from a community college. In two years, you will learn about heart disease, laboratory practice, diagnostics, and monitoring. According to PayScale, associate degree-holding cardiovascular technologists have an average salary of $47,932.
Community colleges are less expensive than universities and only require two years of study. You should choose an institution accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) for this career.
Cardiovascular Technology Degrees
In most jobs, the higher your academic level, the higher your income can be. If you want to earn a higher cardiovascular technician salary, you should consider getting a bachelor’s degree. To take this path, you should study topics in medicine and health. The school you choose must be endorsed by accreditation programs to be relevant in the industry.
How to Become a Cardiovascular Technician: A Step-by-Step Guide
There is no specific path to be an expert in this career. However, if you follow the steps below, you can get the training you need to succeed as a cardiovascular technician.
Evaluate the CVT field
You must make sure that you have the resources and mindset for this career. Depending on the school you prefer, you can evaluate the cost of tuition for your degree. You should also check the job outlook in your location, along with average salaries, benefits, and requirements.
Education is the most important part of becoming a cardiovascular technician. You can start with a community college and get an associate degree. You can also move your way up and get a bachelor’s. Either way, the more education you have, the higher your CVT salary will be.
Get a license
Most healthcare companies require a certification to work as a cardiovascular technician. Also, this job often requires licenses depending on your location. You should find information about these certifications and become an accredited CVT.
Look for a job
After completing your educational path and certification, your next challenge is to get a job. The most significant percentage of CVTs work in hospitals, so that may be your first goal to gain experience. You might start as an assistant and move up from there.
Improve your skills
After years of experience as a cardiovascular technician, you may have the necessary resources to get a master’s degree or doctoral degree. These are academic options that can make you a qualified specialist and researcher in the field.
Key Cardiovascular Technician Skills
This career requires a lot of theoretical and technical knowledge. A cardiovascular technician must be an expert in 3D imaging, analysis, and more to advance professionally. The responsibilities of a CVT may change depending on the department.
Below you will see the three key skills that all cardiovascular technicians should have.
Diagnosis Equipment Selection
Diagnostics require specific tools. As a CVT, you must evaluate patient reports to determine which equipment is appropriate for their treatment. This skill also includes comprehension and good diction to communicate with patients.
The most crucial step in this position is to operate the machines properly. A CVT will use instruments to run stress tests, check for heart disease, and measure blood pressure and heart rate. These include electrocardiogram machines, ultrasound scans, and defibrillators. You may also implant pacemakers, stents, and other devices for treating the heart.
Communication with patients is a fundamental step in the healthcare industry. A cardiovascular technician will need to help patients through medical procedures and advise on doctor visits, treatments, or surgical interventions.
Cardiovascular Technician Salary and Job Outlook
Statistics from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics show that a cardiovascular technician has a median salary of $58,730. A CVT’s salary depends on the state, experience, and company. The BLS report also shows that outpatient care centers pay CVTs the highest rates, at an average of $72,080 per year.
Cardiovascular technicians have a high job outlook in the next decade. BLS says that CVT job opportunities will grow by 12 percent by 2029, which is much faster than average.
Entry-Level Cardiovascular Technician Job Requirements
To get a job as an entry-level CVT, you must have some sort of educational training. In addition, your resume must include work experience as an assistant or apprentice, a certification by an accredited organization, and important skills.
According to ZipRecruiter, a plurality of entry-level cardiovascular technologists earn between $38,000 and $46,500 per year.
What Does a Cardiovascular Technician Do?
Cardiovascular technicians can perform many different tasks on the job. These activities may change depending on your experience or workplace. Like most healthcare professions, you will find full-time schedules and challenging circumstances. Read below to learn more about the roles and responsibilities of a CVT.
Uses Medical Equipment
Cardiovascular techs need to be experts in using medical equipment. In some cases, they will have assistants or nurses to help. As a CVT, you will need to prepare the machines and patients for procedures. You will also have to sterilize different equipment.
Diagnoses Cardiac Issues
As an expert in this area, you will need to analyze the results of different procedures and diagnose possible problems. You must pay attention to detail because these types of conditions are delicate. A good diagnosis can detect heart attacks, blood vessel diseases, and other cardiac problems.
Efficiency in a hospital is essential for everyone’s health. In an emergency, you may need to assist doctors and nurses to save the lives of patients. Everyone in a healthcare setting needs to work together to serve patients as best as they can, and this includes CVTs.
Cardiovascular Technician Certifications
Certification is an important step to start working as a CVT. Several states require a license to work in this position. National and international health organizations validate these documents. They are not programs or courses but tests to determine your skills in the field.
Read below to learn more about the two top certifications for cardiovascular technicians.
Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) Certifications
Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) is a healthcare organization headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina. This group offers many certifications and specializations in the field. You can become a Certified Cardiographic Technician (CCT), Advanced Cardiac Sonographer (ACS), Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS), and more.
American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) Certifications
The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) is another organization that can certify radiologists and cardiovascular technologists. Currently, ARRT offers licenses for many image diagnostic fields, such as radiology, tomography, ultrasounds, and MRIs, among others.
How to Prepare for Your Cardiovascular Technician Job Interview
In addition to your education, all health companies evaluate your professional profile. These jobs require many individual skills because they directly affect the lives of patients.
If you want to apply for a cardiovascular technician job, the questions below can help you ace your job interview.
Cardiovascular Technician Job Interview Practice Questions
- Why did you choose this health center to work for?
- What has been your experience working with patients?
- What are your skills with diagnostic equipment?
- What is the most important thing you learned during your education?
- Describe a time where you had to solve a problem on the job.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Cardiovascular Technician?
It can take two to five years to become a cardiovascular technician. The route depends on your performance and education level. If you get an associate degree, your education will take around two years. A bachelor’s degree takes four years. On top of that, you will usually need to complete a certification or on-the-job training.
Should You Become a Cardiovascular Technician in 2021?
Yes, you should become a cardiovascular technician in 2021. This career has a bright job outlook for the next few years. You can also move on to better positions and higher salaries based on good job performance.
Another reason to choose this career is that you can learn from home. Thanks to recent advances in technology, many online colleges teach remotely, which can help you save on cost of living expenses. If you want to become a CVT, now is the right time.
Cardiovascular Technician FAQ
Is being a cardiovascular technologist dangerous?
This job can sometimes be dangerous. CVTs are often exposed to radioactive elements during scans. However, thanks to technological advances, the risks of suffering from radiation illnesses are very minimal.
Where does a cardiovascular technician work?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most cardiovascular technologists work in general medical and surgical hospitals. The rest of the workplaces are physician’s offices, medical and diagnostic laboratories, specialty hospitals, and outpatient care centers.
How many people currently work as cardiovascular technicians?
In 2019, BLS reported that about 57,400 people were working as cardiovascular technicians. However, projections indicate that by 2029 there will be more than 60,000 workers in the field.
How much does an Associate Degree in Cardiovascular Technology cost?
Data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reveals that the average annual cost of tuition and fees at a two-year institution is $3,621. Associate degrees are primarily offered at two-year institutions.