Invasive Cardiovascular Technician: Salary, Requirements & Career Info
An invasive cardiovascular technician, also called a cardiology technologist, is a medical assistance professional who helps physicians in hospitals with invasive catheterization procedures into a patient's heart. They also help prepare and monitor patients for different types of heart surgery. Invasive Cardiovascular techs require highly specialized training.
Salary Info for Cardiovascular Technicians
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary for a cardiovascular technician or technologist in May 2012 was $53,050 (www.bls.gov). This varied significantly by the state and type of medical facility in which they worked.
Training and Credential Requirements
It is common for a would-be cardiology technologist to complete a 2-year associate's degree program in cardiovascular technology. There are now a few 4-year programs available, with a focus on both core education and specialized instruction, but they are less common. Applicants should look for programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Professionals (www.caahep.org).
Most employers also require the technician to have professional credentials to prove competency. Both the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) and the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) offer credentialing exams.
Through the CCI, becoming a Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS) requires some combination of an associate's or higher degree and six months to two years professional experience (www.cci-online.org). The ARDMS has similar requirements for becoming a Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS), a more general credential (www.ardms.org).
The majority of all cardiovascular technicians work in hospitals, according to the BLS, but they can also find work in medical labs, physicians' offices or outpatient care centers. The work environment is stressful, as some cardiovascular patients face life-threatening conditions.
Job outlook is excellent; according to the BLS the employment of cardiovascular technologists and technicians is expected to grow 29 percent between 2010 and 2020, much faster than average for all professions combined. This demand comes from the aging population and the prevalence of heart disease. Technicians trained to perform many procedures and with multiple credentials will have the best job prospects.
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