It takes a team to accomplish the everyday miracles of modern care for heart patients. Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians are essential members of that team. Technologists are trained to prepare patients and assist physicians during procedures such as cardiac catheterization and open-heart surgery. They also monitor patients’ blood pressure and heart rate. The work requires a high degree of precision and concentration, but also the ability to keep patients comfortable and ease their anxiety. The work of technicians focuses on the measurement of the electrical signals generated by the heart— called an electrocardiogram, or EKG. Technicians place sensors on the patient, and operate different machines that record the patient’s heartbeat. They also administer stress tests. Some technicians take images, known as echocardiograms, of a patient’s heart using ultrasound equipment. An associate’s degree in cardiovascular technology and certification are the most common qualifications needed for employment. The work can be stressful, but very rewarding because every hour of every day someone’s life is on the line.
What they do:
Conduct tests on pulmonary or cardiovascular systems of patients for diagnostic, therapeutic, or research purposes. May conduct or assist in electrocardiograms, cardiac catheterizations, pulmonary functions, lung capacity, and similar tests.
On the job, you would:
Conduct electrocardiogram (EKG), phonocardiogram, echocardiogram, stress testing, or other cardiovascular tests to record patients' cardiac activity, using specialized electronic test equipment, recording devices, or laboratory instruments.
Explain testing procedures to patients to obtain cooperation and reduce anxiety.
Monitor patients' blood pressure and heart rate using electrocardiogram (EKG) equipment during diagnostic or therapeutic procedures to notify the physician if something appears wrong.
Arts and Humanities
medicine and dentistry
Engineering and Technology
computers and electronics
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
understanding people's reactions
looking for ways to help people
communicate by speaking
listen and understand what people say
Ideas and Logic
notice when problems happen
make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things
see hidden patterns
Hand and Finger Use
keep your arm or hand steady
People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.
They do well at jobs that need:
Concern for Others
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Electronic medical record EMR software
Data base user interface and query software
Structured data entry software
associate's degree or certificate after high school usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.