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Cardio Technician Job Duties and Education Requirements

Cardio technicians, also known as cardiovascular technicians, are health professionals who help doctors diagnosis and assess ailments related to the human heart and blood vessels. The 2-year training programs for cardio techs are offered through vocational schools and community colleges accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Professionals.

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Cardio Technician Job Duties

Some of the tasks associated with a career as a cardio technician include taking patients' heart rates, organizing medical files and performing diagnostic tests. Cardio technicians might also be required to possess knowledge and experience in electrocardiography, or EKGs. On occasion, physicians have patients perform stress tests by running on a treadmill while being monitored by a cardio technician. For the most part, individuals in this profession work standard 40-hour work weeks, though roughly 18% of cardio technicians are employed part-time, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov).

Cardio technicians are often responsible for transporting patients between tests and consultations with physicians. While performing some diagnostic testing, cardio technicians must protect themselves and patients from overexposure to potentially harmful radiation. Cardio technicians can assist with cardiac catheterization for patients needing invasive heart-related treatment, such as an angioplasty. A cardio technician must also accurately document a patient's medical history.

Education Requirements

Most individuals employed as cardio technicians complete 2-year training programs available through community colleges and vocational schools. Cardio technicians with associate's degrees study courses related to medicine, health technology and physiology. Bachelor's degrees in cardiovascular technology are also available at a limited number of colleges and universities. Students enrolled in these programs concentrate on classes in small office management, patient care and cardiovascular technology. Training programs for cardio technicians are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Professionals (CAAHEP).

Licensing and Certification

Professional practice as a cardio technician doesn't require licensure from a regulatory agency. Some cardiovascular technicians elect to earn a certificate from an independent organization, such as Cardiovascular Credentialing International. Even for voluntary certification, individuals must complete a training program accredited by CAAHEP.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics