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Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians - What They Do

How to Advance (Advancement)
Technicians may advance to the technologist level of practice with supplemental formal education and credentialing.

Technologists can advance to higher levels of the profession as many institutions structure the occupation with multiple levels, each having an increasing amount of responsibility. Advancement may occur through multiple credentialing in more than one cardiovascular specialty or through work experience. Technologists may also advance into supervisory or management positions. Other possibilities include working in an educational setting or conducting laboratory work.

Cardiovascular technologists and technicians held about 49,500 jobs in 2008. About 77 percent of jobs were in hospitals (public and private), primarily in cardiology departments. The remaining jobs were mostly in offices of physicians, including cardiologists, or in medical and diagnostic laboratories, including diagnostic imaging centers.

Job Outlook
Employment is expected to grow much faster than the average; technologists and technicians with multiple professional credentials, trained to perform a wide range of procedures, will have the best prospects.

Job Growth
Employment of cardiovascular technologists and technicians is expected to increase 24 percent through the year 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand will stem from the prevalence of heart disease and the aging population, because older people have a higher incidence of heart disease and other complications of the heart and vascular system. Procedures such as ultrasound imaging and radiology are being performed more often as a replacement for more expensive and more invasive procedures. Due to advances in medicine and greater public awareness, signs of vascular disease can be detected earlier, creating demand for cardiovascular technologists and technicians to perform various procedures.

Employment of vascular technologists and echocardiographers will grow as advances in vascular technology and sonography reduce the need for more costly and invasive procedures. However, fewer EKG technicians will be needed, as hospitals train nursing aides and others to perform basic EKG procedures. Individuals trained in Holter monitoring and stress testing are expected to have more favorable job prospects than those who can perform only a basic EKG.

The rules governing reimbursement by Medicare and Medicaid for medical procedures will affect the frequency of their use and demand for imaging technologists.

In addition to job growth, job openings for cardiovascular technologists and technicians will arise from replacement needs as individuals transfer to other jobs or leave the labor force. Job prospects will be best for those with multiple professional credentials, trained to perform a wide range of procedures. Those willing to relocate or work irregular hours also will have better job opportunities.

It is not uncommon for cardiovascular technologists and technicians to move between the specialties within the occupation by obtaining certification in more than one specialty. Technologists with multiple credentials will be the most marketable to employers.

Median annual wages of cardiovascular technologists and technicians were $47,010 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $32,800 and $61,580. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $25,510, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $74,760. Median annual wages of cardiovascular technologists and technicians in 2008 were $48,590 in offices of physicians and $46,670 in general medical and surgical hospitals.

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