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Cardiology Technologist


Description

Did you know that heart disease is a leading killer? Countless people are developing this serious disease, therefore the world needs an abundance of cardiology technologists. Cardiology technologists perform and interpret cardiology tests to provide information needed for the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease. They operate electrocardiogram (ECG) and other electronic equipment to record cardiac activity of patients to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease.

Cardiology technologists work with a team of health care professionals involved in diagnostic testing, monitoring and evaluating heart function, including electrocardiography, exercise stress testing, holter monitor analysis, echocardiography, and pacemaker analysis and programming. They participate in both invasive and non-invasive procedures, but they may specialize in one of the two.

Cardiology technologists perform a number of other tests and procedures on patients. Examples of such tasks are: electrocardiography (ECG), which record and measure the electrical activity of the heart to interpret its rhythm, and ambulatory monitoring, involving fitting a portable ECG monitor to record the ECG over a 24-hour period. They may also be involved in cardiac stress technology, pacemaker implant testing, cardiac catheterization, electrophysiology studies, echocardiography, and cardiac research, studying the effects of cardiovascular drugs and diseases, using many of the above techniques. Accordingly, catheters are used to help determine if there is a blockage in the blood vessels, amongst other diagnostic findings.

Ultrasounds transmit high frequency sound waves into areas of the patient's body and then processes reflected echoes of the sound waves to form an image. Technologists view ultrasound images on a screen for interpretation and diagnosis by a physician. During the scan, technologists monitor the image on the screen for subtle differences between healthy and diseased areas. They also prepare patients for tests and explain procedures, record additional medical history, select appropriate equipment settings and change the patient's position as necessary.

The heart is a precious lifeline that keeps us alive. Yet so many people neglect their heart, engaging in detrimental habits and poor lifestyle choices. If you are obese, have diabetes, smoke or have high cholesterol, then your risk of developing disease is high. But cardiology technologists encourage people to quit smoking, start exercising and eat healthier, which will result in a healthier heart and lifestyle.
 
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  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
$20,920
 
Median Salary:
$36,430
 
Highest 10% of Earners:
$56,080

  Interests and Skills  
Cardiology technologists are interested in helping people, first and foremost. They must be mature and self-confident and emotionally stable. They have excellent communication skills and can get along with people well, be patient and instill confidence. Confidence is also important in being able to think and act quickly in high stress situations. Finally, cardiology technologists should enjoy finding solutions to problems and interacting with many different people.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Operate electrocardiogram and other electronic equipment to record cardiac activity of patients
  • Prepare patients for cardiology procedures and tests, such as electrocardiography tests, ambulatory monitoring, exercise stress testing and pacemaker analysis
  • Perform and monitor cardiac activity and record results
  • Measure patients' blood flow by analyzing their bodies' use of oxygen
  • Analyze 24-hour tape recordings of patients' heart rhythms
  • Immediately notify physicians when they recognize life-threatening heartbeats
  • Ensure patient comfort and safety during tests
  • Prepare reports for interpretation by cardiologists outlining the results of diagnostic procedures
  • Reprogram pacemakers according to required standards
  • Check cardiology equipment to ensure proper operation
  • May supervise and train student and other cardiology technologists
  • The exact duties and responsibilities of a cardiology technologist are often dependent upon the particular institution where an individual works. They generally work standard 40-hour workweeks, which may include evening and weekend work. Some technologists work on-call, in shifts therefore hours can be irregular and long at times. Cardiology technologists also spend a great majority of their time on their feet. They may also be expected to help lift and move patients from wheelchairs to beds.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Most cardiology technologists work in hospital cardiology departments, however, some are employed in private laboratories and clinics.

  Long Term Career Potential  
What does the future hold for cardiology technologists? Registered cardiology technologists may take qualifying examinations in special areas such as pacemakers, ambulatory monitoring and exercise stress testing to change the focus of their career. With years of experience, they may advance to clinical specialists or supervisory positions. However, without additional education, opportunities for advancement are limited.
 

  Educational Paths  
Cardiology technologists must complete of a two-year college, hospital or alternative training program in cardiology technology coupled with a supervised practical training internship.
 

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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