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What Does a Cardiovascular Technician Do?

Cardiovascular technologists and technicians ensure that a patient’s most important organ — the heart — is functioning correctly. They operate special imaging equipment to create images or conduct tests to diagnose heart and blood vessel problems.

Technicians manage electrocardiograms (EKGs or ECGs), which show heart rhythms, and assist physicians in diagnosing heart problems. They work closely with doctors and surgeons before, during and after a procedure. Technicians first apply the electrodes that register electronic signals and then they run the EKG monitoring equipment. They also take cardiovascular ultrasounds that provide 2D or 3D images of the heart and its chambers.

Cardiovascular techs may also administer stress tests to check heart functioning during exercise, or apply Holter monitors, which monitor heart rate for several hours or for several days.

There are many other specialities. Cardiovascular invasive specialists, also known as cardiac catheterization technologists, monitor heart rates. They prepare and monitor patients during open-heart surgery or the insertion of a pacemaker or stent. Pulmonary function technologists, also known as cardiopulmonary technologists, monitor and test patients’ lungs and breathing. Invasive cardiovascular technologists operate X-ray and ICVT imaging equipment as the cardiologist performs a procedure.

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Our one-of-kind Opportunity Meter rates jobs based on salary, current openings and future demand to help you choose the career that is best for you.
$ 27,000 - $ 94,000
$ 58,000
Female cardiovascular technician applies cardiogram electrodes on a male patient’s chest for an EKG
Cardiovascular technicians specialize in electrocardiograms, which help diagnose heart and lung ailments. (Credit: ALPA PROD/Shutterstock)
A Day In the Life
Cardiovascular technologist Shaun Foust holds a thank-you basket sent to the team for working during COVID-19
A Day In the Life

Shaun Foust became interested in heart health at the tender age of 12. That's when she read the materials explaining her grandfather's open heart surgery.  

"I always knew I wanted to work in the medical field — I just wasn’t sure which part," says Shaun.

Later in life, when she looked at programs of study, she was drawn to the cardiovascular technology program. Just like her 12-year-old self, she was "fascinated by the heart."

It's clear what pulled Shaun into the fold, but what has kept her there is the rewarding work. 

Cardiovascular technologists "are constantly reminded that we make a difference during a very difficult time," says Shaun. 

Find out what else Shaun has to say about being a cardiovascular technologist. 

Job Responsibilities
  • Prepare patients for electrocardiogram (EKG) tests, stress tests and other heart tests
  • Explain test procedure
  • Monitor patients' blood pressure and heart rate during EKG 
  • Operate diagnostic machine and run other tests
  • Review images and identify any abnormalities
  • Analyze findings and discuss with physician
  • Review and record all patient information
  • Prepare and maintain diagnostic medical equipment 
Education + Training

A high school diploma or equivalent is required. Cardiovascular technicians typically earn an associate degree or postsecondary certificate.

Students earn certification by graduating from an accredited program offered through a community college, technical school or four-year college. Candidates also may qualify through alternative combinations of education and experience.

Certification courses last anywhere from four to six weeks for basic EKG training to 18 to 24 months for more advanced skills. In most programs, students do coursework and earn credit while working in a clinical setting under the direction of a more experienced technologist. All candidates must pass an exam.

Most technicians have at least one professional certification in their speciality, but many earn multiple certifications. Professional certification is often required to get a license, but not all states require a license.

Many employers require technicians to be trained in CPR.

Cardiovascular Technician License and Certificate Requirements

You may need a state license before you can begin working as a Cardiovascular Technician in your state, but most states have different requirements, license fees, and application forms. The good news - we make it super easy for you to find what you need to get your Cardiovascular Technician License. Enter your zip code to get started.

You May Be a Good Fit for This Position If You
  • Are detail-oriented and can follow precise directions
  • Have good communication and interpersonal skills
  • Have excellent hand-eye coordination
  • Have strong technical skills to operate complex machinery
  • Have the physical stamina to work on your feet for long stretches and the physical strength to lift or position patients

Cardiovascular Technician Training in Your Area

Grayson College logo

EKG Technician Non-Credit Certificate

Grayson College
Denison (239.5 Miles)
Texas State Technical College logo

Electrocardiography (EKG) Technician Non-Credit Certificate

Texas State Technical College
Waco (384.8 Miles)
Kirkwood Community College logo

EKG Technician Training Course

Kirkwood Community College
Cedar Rapids (397.1 Miles)
Eastern Iowa Community College District logo

Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography, A.A.S

Eastern Iowa Community College District
Davenport (411.2 Miles)
Black Hawk College logo

EKG Technician Certificate

Black Hawk College
Moline (413.5 Miles)
South Plains College logo

EKG Technician

South Plains College
Levelland (446.5 Miles)
Southeast Technical Institute logo

Cardiovascular Technology, A.A.S

Southeast Technical Institute
Sioux Falls (451.3 Miles)
Lone Star College System logo

Electrocardiography Technician Certificate

Lone Star College System
The Woodlands (477.1 Miles)
Lone Star College System logo

Electrocardiography Monitoring Technician Certificate

Lone Star College System
The Woodlands (477.1 Miles)
Austin Community College District logo

Cardiovascular- Interventional Technology Certificate

Austin Community College District
Austin (481.5 Miles)
South Suburban College logo

Echocardiography, A.A.S.

South Suburban College
South Holland (533.6 Miles)
South Suburban College logo

Echocardiography Certificate

South Suburban College
South Holland (533.6 Miles)

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