How to Become a Cardiovascular Technician

Cardiovascular technicians take the images physicians use to diagnose and treat disease. Learn more about entering this in-demand field.
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Updated on April 3, 2024
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Are you hoping to enter the healthcare field but want to avoid many years of school? Well, you can. To become an in-demand cardiovascular technician, you only need an associate degree and a certification, letting you pursue a well-paying job in just two years.

Working as a cardiovascular technician introduces you to a dynamic healthcare subfield where you can gain valuable experience. Networking with experienced technicians, nurses, and physicians can also help you advance your healthcare career.

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Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

How Do You Become a Cardiovascular Technician?

Cardiovascular technician education requirements include a high school or GED diploma and an associate degree. Many jobs also require professional certification.

1. Earn Your High School Diploma or GED Certificate

A high school or GED diploma qualifies you to enter a two-year cardiovascular technician associate program. Work with your teachers and guidance counselors to select appropriate science and math classes. Honors classes in these subjects can prepare you for college courses.

If you did not graduate high school, contact your local community college to learn more about GED preparation classes. These low-cost or free classes can help you prepare to get your GED certification. These schools may also offer the computerized GED on campus.

2. Complete Your Degree

An associate program offers you the education and training necessary to work as a cardiovascular technician. Classes may include cardiovascular skills, echocardiography, and the physics of cardiac ultrasound. Some programs offer a cohort learning model, letting you build strong bonds with other degree-seekers.

Expect to perform many hands-on experiences during your education, such as clinical rotations at local healthcare centers. You complete your educational experience with advanced coursework in the fundamental topics.

3. Apply for Certification

The certified cardiographic technician (CCT) certification shows potential employers that you have the latest in-demand skills and can adapt to the rapidly changing healthcare field.

You can take the CCT certification exam during your associate program or after graduation. Cardiovascular Credentialing International administers the test and charges a $175 examination fee as of March 2024.

Your certification journey continues after passing an exam. You maintain your certification by paying a fee and completing at least 16 continuing education credits every three years.

Types of Cardiovascular Technicians

Cardiac Sonographer

These professionals use ultrasound technology to create echocardiograms: images of the heart valves, blood vessels, chambers, and other internal structures. These images can be used to diagnose cardiac abnormalities, inform physicians during procedures or surgeries, and examine the condition of fetal hearts.

Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist

These specialists assess patients' heart rates and blood pressure during cardiac catheterization, pacemaker insertion, and other procedures. They may also assist doctors by applying topical anesthetic or cleaning incision sites on the skin.

Cardiographic (EKG) Technician

These technicians set up and operate EKG machines to test electrical activity in the heart. During a stress test, technicians monitor patients' cardiac activity during periods of cardiovascular exertion. Professionals will place electrodes on patients' limbs and chests and detect abnormalities using a visual representation of cardiac activity.

How Much Do You Make as a Cardiovascular Technician?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that cardiovascular technicians earned a median salary of $63,020 in 2022. Many factors impact salary, including employer, setting, location, and experience. Professionals working for an outpatient care center or diagnostic laboratory made significantly more than their peers employed by a physician's office or local hospital.

Geographic location also affects salary. Cardiovascular technicians living in Idaho and the District of Columbia in 2022 earned an average salary exceeding $91,000. Other well-paying states included Rhode Island, Oregon, and Alaska.

You can increase your salary potential by changing employers, relocating, or pursuing a higher degree. Depending on your employer, a bachelor's degree may qualify you for a promotion raise.

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Cardiovascular Tech

What's the difference between a cardiovascular technician vs. technologist?

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Cardiovascular technicians perform noninvasive procedures, such as operating medical imaging equipment. Technologists' advanced training prepares them to assist in catheterizing patients' arteries during imaging procedures. They perform these invasive tasks under a physician or nurse's supervision.

Work with your school's academic and career counselors to determine whether becoming a cardiovascular technician or technologist best aligns with your career goals.

How long does it take to become a cardiovascular technician?

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You need about two years to complete cardiovascular technician education requirements. Your community college may let you enroll in an accelerated program if you meet specific requirements. You may take longer to graduate if you enroll in a part-time program.

You can prepare for the job market by earning a CCT certification before or shortly after graduation.

Is cardiovascular tech a good career?

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The answer depends on your career goals. Cardiovascular technicians work directly with physicians, nurses, and patients. This job can also give you an in-depth introduction to the healthcare field and various career paths.

The high median salary makes working as a cardiovascular technician appealing, especially as the career requires only an associate degree. You can earn this degree affordably at a local community college. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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