most common level of education completed by cardiovascular technologists
and technicians is an associate degree. Certification, although not
required in all cases, is available.
Although a few
cardiovascular technologists, vascular technologists, and cardiac
sonographers are currently trained on the job, most receive training in
2- to 4-year programs. The majority of technologists complete a 2-year
junior or community college program, but 4-year programs are
increasingly available. The first year is dedicated to core courses and
is followed by a year of specialized instruction in either invasive,
noninvasive cardiovascular, or noninvasive vascular technology. Those
who are qualified in an allied health profession need to complete only
the year of specialized instruction.
The Joint Review Committee
on Education in Cardiovascular Technology reviews education programs
seeking accreditation. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health
Professionals (CAAHEP) accredits cardiovascular technology education
programs. Review current programs here.
Unlike most other
cardiovascular technologists and technicians, most EKG technicians are
trained on the job by an EKG supervisor or a cardiologist. On-the-job
training for EKG technicians usually takes about 4 to 6 weeks. Most
employers prefer to train people already in the healthcare field—nursing
aides, for example. Some EKG technicians are students enrolled in 2-year
programs to become technologists, working part time to gain experience
and make contact with employers. For technicians who perform Holter
monitoring on-the-job training may last around 18 to 24 months. One-year
certification programs also exist for basic EKGs, Holter monitoring, and
stress testing and can be an alternative to on-the-job training.
Some states require workers
in this occupation to be licensed. For information on a particular
State, contact that State's medical board. Certification is available
from two organizations: Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI)
and the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS).
The CCI offers four certifications -- Certified Cardiographic Technician
(CCT), Registered Cardiac Sonographer (RCS), Registered Vascular
Specialist (RVS), and Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS).
The ARDMS offers Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS) and
Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT) credentials. Some states require
certification as part of licensure. In other States, certification is
not required but many employers prefer it.
and technicians must be reliable, have mechanical aptitude, and be able
to follow detailed instructions. A pleasant, relaxed manner for putting
patients at ease is an asset. They must be articulate as they must
communicate technically with physicians and also explain procedures
simply to patients.
technicians can advance to higher levels of the profession as many
institutions structure the occupation with multiple levels, each having
an increasing amount of responsibility. Technologists and technicians
also can advance into supervisory or management positions. Other common
possibilities include working in an educational setting or conducting
Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the US Department
of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.