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Employment of cardiovascular technologists and technicians is expected to grow 24 percent through 2018, much faster than average for all occupations. Median salary is around $47,010, according to the U.S. Department of Labor/Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook (2010-2011 edition).

America’s Career Infonet gives detailed information about the skills, abilities, work activities and recommended education for jobs in the field of cardiovascular technology:

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, cardiovascular technologists specializing in invasive procedures assist physicians with cardiac catheterization procedures in which a small tube, or catheter, is threaded through a patient’s artery from a spot on the patient’s groin to the heart. The procedure can determine whether a blockage exists in the blood vessels that supply the heart muscle and help to diagnose other problems.

Part of the procedure may involve balloon angioplasty, which can be used to treat blockages of blood vessels or heart valves without the need for heart surgery. Cardiology technologists assist physicians as they insert a catheter with a balloon on the end to the point of the obstruction. Another procedure using the catheter is an electrophysiology test, which helps locate the specific areas of heart tissue that give rise to the abnormal electrical impulses that cause arrhythmias.

Technologists prepare patients for cardiac catheterization by first positioning them on an examining table and then shaving, cleaning and administering anesthesia to the top of their leg near the groin. During the procedures, they monitor patients’ blood pressure and heart rate with EKG equipment and notify the physician if something appears to be wrong. Technologists also may prepare and monitor patients during open-heart surgery and during the insertion of pacemakers and stents that open up blockages in arteries to the heart and major blood vessels.

Work Environment

The typical hospital work environment of a cardiovascular technologist includes:

  • Walking and standing while wearing a lead apron
  • Heavy lifting to move equipment or transfer patients
  • Possibly stressful working conditions in close contact with seriously ill patients
  • Potential for radiation exposure, kept to a minimum by strict adherence to safety guidelines
  • Standard five-day, 40-hour workweeks as a norm, usually excluding nights and weekends

Skill Sets

To succeed on the job, cardiovascular technologists and technicians should:

  • Be reliable
  • Have mechanical aptitude
  • Be able to follow detailed instructions
  • Maintain a pleasant and relaxed manner for putting patients at ease
  • Be articulate in order to both communicate technically with physicians and also explain procedures simply to patients

Salaries and Projected Job Growth

According to America’s Career Infonet, the average salary and projected job growth for this career, nationwide, is as follows:

Job Hourly Rate Annual Salary Projected Growth Through 2016
Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians $22.60 $47,000 26%