Career Snapshot: What is a Cardiovascular Technician?

If you’re looking for a high-paying career that’s in demand throughout the state, Piedmont Technical College dean of Health Science Jerry Alewine thinks you should consider Cardiovascular Technology.  “Unfortunately, heart disease is a problem that isn’t going away,” Alewine says. “And there’s a real need throughout our state—really throughout the country—for qualified cardiovascular technologists.”

What does a Cardiovascular Technician do?

A Cardiovascular Technician is a health care professional who, at the direction of a licensed physician, performs diagnostic tests which are used in the diagnosis, treatment and serial follow-up of patients with cardiovascular disease. There are two basic areas of expertise: Invasive Cardiology and Non-Invasive Cardiology.

Simply put, the Cardiovascular Technician is the health care professional who performs tests on cardiac patients. An Invasive Cardiovascular Technician works to assist the doctor with diagnosing heart issues in a more aggressive manner in areas such as cardiac catheterization labs and operating rooms. Non-invasive Cardiovascular Technicians assist using equipment such as ultrasound.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment is expected to grow by 29 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than average for all occupations.

But can’t a nurse do that? Or a radiologist?

Not always. Many health care facilities have cross-trained nurses and other technicians to perform those tasks. But, cardiology is a specialized field that is constantly changing and needs specially-trained technicians who can focus on that specific area of medicine. Cardiovascular Technicians know the heart in much the same way a cardiologist does. 

The job requires both in-depth technical knowledge and a knack for detective work. Cardiovascular technologists often aid clinicians in diagnosing complex medical mysteries—helping patients who have been ill for long periods of time with limited or no response to treatment.

Although heart patients are often faced with chronic problems related to their illnesses, ultimately the reward is the opportunity to build relationships with patients—always offering care and compassion in their time of need.

Earnings and Education

Although some technologists and technicians are cross-trained on the job, the positions require at least an associate degree, and most technicians have received between two and four years of education specific to cardiovascular technology. Many employers also require certification.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment is expected to grow by 29 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than average for all occupations.

Regional Earnings

*Earnings data from EMSI Analyst

Get Training at PTC

Piedmont Technical College offers South Carolina's only two year associate degree program in Cardiovascular Technology. Learn more about the Cardiovascular Technology program.