Cardiac care technicians assist cardiologists during heart testing and procedures and operate specialized equipment that monitors heart function. Also called cardiovascular technicians, cardiac care technicians are employed in hospitals, diagnostic and medical laboratories, doctors’ offices and outpatient care centers. The career is a good choice if you enjoy working with people, excel in science courses and can remain calm in stressful situations. Salaries are competitive, although the positions only require a two-year degree.
Cardiac Care Technician Job Description
Cardiac care technicians prepare patients and assist cardiologists with diagnostic and intervention procedures, such as catheterization, angiograms, angioplasty, stress tests, Holter monitoring, open heart surgery and the placement of pacemakers. They may also conduct electrocardiogram (EKG) tests that detect changes in the electrical activity of the heart. Cardiac technicians play an invaluable role during heart procedures, as they may be the first members of the cardiac team to detect an irregularity or abnormality.
The technicians work with patients who are often worried, nervous or stressed. Part of the job involves calming fearful patients and explaining details of various tests and procedures in easy-to-understand language. Cardiac technicians must also work well with doctors, nurses, other member of the medical team and concerned family members. Maintaining patient confidentiality is paramount, and technicians are expected to follow Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements regarding privacy.
The job may require the ability to stand for long periods of time. If you work as a cardiac care technician in a healthcare facility, you may also need to lift or move patients. Although cardiac care technicians who work in doctors’ offices may only work during weekdays, technicians employed by hospitals may be expected to staff evening or weekend shifts. Job duties vary, depending on the requirements of the facility and the expertise and experience of the technician.
If you want to work as a cardiac care technician, you must obtain an associate’s degree in cardiovascular technology. In addition to general science courses, you’ll also complete coursework in cardiac care technology, medical terminology, anatomy, pharmacology and electrocardiography as part of your cardiographic technician certification program.
Cardiac technician training that's required includes classroom instruction, laboratory exercises and hands-on training in hospitals, outpatient facilities or physicians’ offices. Following the completion of your degree, you can take a written examination to obtain certification in cardiac care. Certification may be a requirement for employment, particularly if you plan to work for a hospital.
In 2017, the median pay for diagnostic cardiovascular technicians and technologists was $57,250 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The highest wages were earned by technicians employed in outpatient care centers, followed by physicians’ offices, hospitals, and medical and diagnostic laboratories.
Job Growth Trend
Positions for cardiac care technicians and technologists are expected to increase by 10 percent until 2026, according the BLS. The bureau notes that opportunities for employment are expected to be good, due in part to the needs of the aging baby boomer population.