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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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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)
Duties + 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.

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


Cardiovascular Sonography Certificate

Midlands Technical College
West Columbia (0.0 Miles)

ECG/Telemetry Technician, CTC

Bossier Parish Community College
Bossier City (0.0 Miles)

Electrocardiography Certificate

Lakeland Community College
Kirtland (0.0 Miles)
Triton College

Vascular Technology in Sonography Certificate

Triton College
River Grove (0.0 Miles)

Echocardiography Diploma

Pitt Community College
Winterville (0.0 Miles)

EKG Technician Non-Credit Certificate

Houston Community College
Houston (0.0 Miles)

Adult Echocardiography, A.A.S.

Piedmont Technical College
Greenwood (0.0 Miles)

Cardiorespiratory Sciences, A.A.S.

College of Southern Nevada
Las Vegas (0.0 Miles)
Triton College

EKG Technician Career Certificate

Triton College
River Grove (0.0 Miles)

EKG Technician Certificate

Union County College
Cranford (0.0 Miles)

Electrocardiogram Technician Certificate

Southwestern Michigan College
Dowagiac (0.0 Miles)

Cardiovascular- Interventional Technology Certificate

Austin Community College District
Austin (0.0 Miles)
Meet Ambassador
Shaun Foust
Cardiovascular technologist Shaun Foust holds a thank-you basket sent to the team for working during COVID-19
Meet Ambassador
Shaun Foust

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. 

Find Cardiovascular Technician Jobs in Your Area



LifePoint Hospitals
Columbus ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 7 months ago

Cardio Tech-Cardiac Lab-PRN

LifePoint Hospitals
Columbus ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 7 months 2 weeks ago

Cardiovascular Technician

Hackensack University Medical Center
Hackensack ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 8 months ago

MONITOR TECH,PRN, Various Shifts

Greenville Health System
Greenville ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 8 months 2 weeks ago

Echocardiographer- Non Invasive Cardiac Lab- Per Diem

RWJ Barnabas
Long Branch ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 10 months ago

Chief Perfusionist

MCG Health Inc
Augusta ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 11 months 2 weeks ago

Echo Technologist-PD

St. Catherine of Siena
Smithtown ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 year 1 month ago

Cardiovascular Perfusionist

Partners Healthcare System
Boston ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 year 3 months ago