Online Cardiology Certificate Programs with Training Information
Cardiologists are medical doctors who must complete medical school and residency training before working with patients. Students can find certificate and associate's degree programs to become cardiology technicians or technologists, but due to the hands-on nature of the training, online options are not typically available.
Cardiology and cardiovascular technicians perform diagnostic procedures and testing on the heart and the vascular system. There are no online certificate or degree programs for cardiology technicians because of the necessary hands-on training. Many community colleges and technical schools offer these programs.
Students in a certificate program train to become cardiology technicians and learn to operate electrocardiograph (EKG) machines. Certificate programs generally take less than a year to complete. Classes cover healthcare ethics, physiology, anatomy and medical terminology. Clinical experiences give students experience in operating the EKG machines and in working with patients and medical staff. When choosing a program, students should look for one that qualifies them to apply for national certification.
An associate's degree program in cardiovascular technology prepares students for more advanced work, such as assisting physicians with cardiac catheterizations. Some programs allow students to choose a track in invasive or non-invasive cardiovascular technology, while others cover both areas. A few schools allow students to take some prerequisite courses online. These degree programs usually require about two years, and students must take general education courses such as social studies, English composition and mathematics. Again, although credentialing is optional, students should seek a program that qualifies them for certification by national professional organizations in this field.
Overview of an On-Campus Cardiology Technician Certificate Program
An on-campus cardiology technician certificate program trains individuals to perform diagnostic cardiology procedures and testing at the request of licensed physicians. Students are trained to operate EKG machines that record the electrical changes that occur during and between heartbeats. Graduates of a cardiology technician certificate program are prepared to pursue national certification as Certified Cardiographic Technicians (CCTs) through the exam offered by Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI). Certificate holders can find employment opportunities with doctors' offices, cardiology departments, hospital pre-admission testing areas and a variety of outpatient medical facilities.
A certificate program of this type can usually be completed within one year. Courses incorporate both theoretical and hands-on instruction. In addition to specific courses in relevant topics to cardiology, students are usually required to complete a basic life support class providing them with CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) certification.
Common Coursework for an On-Campus Cardiology Technician Certificate Program
Course requirements for a cardiology technician certificate introduce students to basic concepts and procedures within the allied health profession as a whole, as well as providing focused study within the cardiology. Main topics include healthcare law and ethics, healthcare delivery systems, anatomy, physiology, EKG theory and medical terminology.
Medical Terminology Course
Students are introduced to frequently used prefixes and suffixes used in medical terminology. Instruction incorporates commonly used terms from each of the major body systems and presents medical abbreviations.
EKG Theory Course
This course discusses the basic scientific theory behind EKGs and cardiac rhythms. Students are provided with a general overview of cardiac anatomy and physiology. They gain the knowledge and skills needed to recognize cardiac dysrhythmias.
EKG Applications Course
This course trains students in the setup and adjustment of EKG equipments. Students learn to perform stress testing and Holter monitoring and to record vital signs. Methods of performing EKGs and assessing printouts are also covered.
Cardiovascular technicians conduct tests and perform diagnostic procedures on pulmonary and cardiovascular systems as members of a medical cardiac catheterization team. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for cardiovascular technologists and technicians were projected to increase by 24% between 2008 and 2018. As of May 2009, the BLS listed the median annual wage for technologists and technicians as $48,300.
Overview of an On-Campus Cardiovascular Technology Associate Degree Program
Associate degree programs in cardiovascular technology prepare students for employment as cardiovascular technologists. Students learn to perform diagnostic tests that can be used to diagnose, treat and provide follow-up medical care for patients with cardiovascular disease. Through hands-on lab opportunities, students become familiar with the sophisticated equipment and procedures used to perform the diagnostic procedures and intervention treatments. Both non-invasive and invasive cardiovascular methods are discussed.
An associate degree in cardiovascular technology requires approximately 76 credit hours. This type of program can take up to five semesters to complete. Courses incorporate classroom instruction with lab components to provide students with hands-on experience in the field. While some programs focus on both invasive and non-invasive cardiology, others allow students to choose a specialty track in one or the other.
Common Coursework for an On-Campus Cardiovascular Technology Associate Degree Program
Common coursework for an associate degree in cardiovascular technology incorporates courses in a variety of topics relevant to the field, including cardiopulmonary anatomy, cardiovascular pharmacology, and advanced cardiac life support. Some schools allow students to complete several of the pre-requisite or introductory courses online via distance learning. Courses offered online commonly include general education topics and theoretical topics, such as medical terminology.
Cardiovascular Patient Assessment Course
Students become familiar with the concepts and techniques used to assess patients, including inspection, auscultation, percussion and palpation. Basic ECG monitoring and laboratory values, such as electrolytes and CBC, are presented.
Non-Invasive Cardiology Course
This course presents the theory, rationale, performance, application and interpretation of non-invasive cardiology. Two-dimensional Doppler, auscultation, phonocardiography, and normal heart sounds are discussed. A laboratory portion introduces students to non-invasive cardiology through hands-on experiences.
Invasive Cardiology Course
Emphasis is placed on basic cardiac catheterization theory, protocols and application of angiographic procedures. Other topics include sterilization, patient assessment, cardiac waveforms, coronary artery anatomy and pharmacology.
Although professional credentialing is considered optional, the BLS reports that most employers are now requiring candidates to obtain certification. Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) and the American Registry of Diagnostic Sonographers (ARDMS) both provide professional credentials for cardiovascular technologists and technicians. Requirements for credentialing typically require candidates to complete an accredited education program and earn a passing score on the credentialing examination. Once professional credentials are obtained, technologists are required to maintain their certification by completing a set number of continuing education credits.
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