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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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$ 27,000 - $ 94,000
$ 58,000
3,440+
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
Image
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.

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

Coordinates

Cardiovascular Technology, A.A.S.

Tulsa Community College
Tulsa (68.8 Miles)

EKG Technician Cardio Non-Credit Certificate

Paris Junior College
Paris (238.0 Miles)

Health Professions- Electrocardiography Technician (EKG) Track, A.A.S.

Collin College
McKinney (276.4 Miles)

Health Professions- Electrocardiography Technician (EKG) Track Occupational Skills Award

Collin College
McKinney (276.4 Miles)

Health Professions- Electrocardiography Technician (EKG) Certificate Level 1

Collin College
McKinney (276.4 Miles)
Dallas College logo

EKG Technician Non-Credit Certificate

Dallas College
Farmers Branch (294.7 Miles)
Dallas College logo

EKG Technician Non-Credit Certificate

Dallas College
Irving (299.7 Miles)
Dallas College logo

EKG Technician Non-Credit Certificate

Dallas College
Mesquite (300.2 Miles)
Dallas College logo

Invasive Cardiovascular Technology, A.A.S.

Dallas College
Dallas (304.2 Miles)
Dallas College logo

Adult Cardiac Sonography, A.A.S.

Dallas College
Dallas (304.2 Miles)
Dallas College logo

Pediactric Cardiac Sonography, A.A.S.

Dallas College
Dallas (304.2 Miles)
Dallas College logo

EKG Technician Non-Credit Certificate

Dallas College
Dallas (308.9 Miles)

Find Cardiovascular Technician Jobs in Your Area

Coordinates

Vascular Tech II / RVT - Troy, NY - Full Time

St. Peters Health Partners
Troy ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 5 months 1 week ago

Monitor Technician-PRN-Varies

LifePoint Hospitals
Warrenton ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 5 months 4 weeks ago

Monitor Technician, PRN (as needed)

Ardent Health Services
Owasso ( 56.5 ) Miles
Posted 2 weeks ago

Monitor Technician

Mercy Healthcare
Joplin ( 66.3 ) Miles
Posted 4 days 20 hours ago

Echo Technician, Certified

Freeman Health System
Joplin ( 66.3 ) Miles
Posted 3 weeks 1 day ago

Monitor Technician

Mercy Healthcare
Joplin ( 66.3 ) Miles
Posted 1 week 3 days ago

Echocardiology Coordinator - Full Time - Days

Mercy Healthcare
Joplin ( 66.3 ) Miles
Posted 2 months 1 week ago

Cardiac Cath Technologist - Full Time - Days

Mercy Healthcare
Joplin ( 66.3 ) Miles
Posted 1 week 3 days ago