Cardiovascular Technologist Training usually starts with an Associates degree, a two-year program at a community or technical college. Some educational institutions are starting to offer Bachelor degree programs for those who wish to further specialize in a particular area, such as invasive cardiovascular technology, or who want the chance to complete longer clinical placement periods.
For those who already have completed a health educational program, some cardiovascular technologist schools offer one-year certificate program. Cardiovascular Technologist Training naturally extends outside of the classroom with experiential lab work, clinical internships and even once you start your first job, as you can learn from your more experienced colleagues.
What to Expect During Cardiovascular Technologist Training
A cardiovascular technician must have a balance of interpersonal skills, technical know-how, physical endurance and a firm knowledge of biology and physics. Each of these areas will be learned and/or practiced during your cardiovascular training. Coursework delves into subjects like anatomy and physiology, pathology, echocardiography (cardiac ultrasound), electrocardiography, invasive cardiovascular procedures and laboratory skills. Other important skills you will learn include interacting with patients, medical terminology and emergency protocols. A lot of cardiovascular technologist training is hands-on during laboratory sessions and clinical placements, but there is also what’s called didactic courses, which essentially means lectures.
Where Would I Complete my Cardiovascular Technologist Training?
There are numerous cardiovascular technician schools across the country, including colleges that offer one-year certificate programs and Associates degrees and universities offering Bachelors degrees. More and more educational institutions are offering cardiovascular technologist training to meet the growing demand for these healthcare professionals. (According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected growth, between 2010 and 2020, for cardiovascular technician and technologists jobs is 29%). Make sure you are attending a school recognized by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or American Medical Association (AMA); that way you know the curriculum is approved by a multitude of professional health organizations and you will also meet the educational requirements for professional certification. If you are already a practicing cardiovascular technologist and are seeking professional development, organizations such as the American Society of Echocardiography, the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography and the Alliance of Cardiovascular Professionals, offer courses so you can further specialize or earn CME (Continuing Medical Education) credits.
Can I Do any Training Online?
It depends. Since a large part of cardiovascular technologist training is hands-on, many programs only offer in person or on campus programs. However, if you are already a registered cardiovascular technician (i.e. you have already completed an Associates degree), some cardiovascular technologist schools offer higher levels of education (such as a Bachelors completion program) online, since you would already have gained laboratory and clinical experience. Also there are several online options for professional development or CME courses.
I’ve Completed my Training – Now what?
It’s advisable to become certified after you complete your cardiovascular technologist training. Although not all states require such credentials, some employers do and many prefer you have them. Relevant certifications are offered through the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers or ARDMS (the RDCS or the RVT credentials) and through Cardiovascular Credentialing International or CCI (the CCT, RCS, RVS or RCIS credentials). Before graduating from your training program, talk to the faculty and career counselors at the school you are attending for guidance on job opportunities. You may also want to talk to the supervisor(s) at your clinical placements about job leads. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 75% of cardiovascular technicians and technologists are employed at hospitals.