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Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians

At a Glance

  • Conduct tests on patients' hearts and blood vessels
  • Some specialize in different tests and equipment
  • Usually wear a uniform and protective gear
  • May work part time or full time
  • May work evenings, weekends, and on-call
  • Training usually lasts two to four years

Career summary

Cardiovascular technologists and technicians help doctors identify and treat cardiac (heart) and vascular (blood vessel) problems.

Cardiovascular technologists, depending on their training, may also be called invasive cardiovascular specialists, cardiology technologists, echocardiographers, electrocardiograph technicians, cardiac monitor technicians or vascular technologists.

#review 3/26/19 lh

Cardiovascular technologists and technicians do the following tasks:


Cardiovascular technologists conduct tests on patients' hearts and blood vessels. Some testing procedures require inserting small tubes, called catheters, into patients. Other tests, such as ultrasound, are done externally.

Technologists help prepare patients for these tests and procedures. They explain the tests to patients. If tubes will be inserted, they shave and clean the area where the tubes will go. They apply anesthesia to the skin. They help doctors insert a small tube into the body. They activate the scope and camera that doctors use to guide the tube through the body. During these tests, they monitor patients' blood pressure and watch the heart's activity. They also monitor patients during open heart surgery and other heart procedures.

Technologists who use ultrasound on the heart are called echocardiographers. Ultrasound instruments record how blood vessels are working. The ultrasound wand sends out sound waves and collects the echoes to form an image on a screen. Technologists position the wand so it is over the heart. They adjust the amount and quality of the sound waves to improve the images.


Cardiovascular technicians who conduct electrocardiograms (EKG) tests are called electrocardiograph technicians. An EKG machine traces the rhythm of the heart. To run EKG tests, technicians put electrodes on patients' chests, arms, and legs. They monitor the equipment as the test proceeds.

Some EKG tests are run while patients exercise on a treadmill. Technicians control the speed of the treadmill. They may fit some patients with portable heart monitors. Technicians provide the data from this test to doctors.

Related careers

This career is part of the Health Science cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Military careers

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to cardiovascular technologists and technicians.

Common work activities

Cardiovascular technologists and technicians perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, cardiovascular technologists and technicians:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Cardiovascular technologists and technicians frequently:

It is important for cardiovascular technologists and technicians to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for cardiovascular technologists and technicians to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Cardiovascular technologists and technicians need to:


Reason and problem solve

Use math and science

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Work with people

Work with things

Perceive and visualize

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as a cardiovascular technologist or technician, you typically need to:

Education after high school

Both associate and bachelor's degree programs are available in cardiovascular technology. Most people complete the associate program. In these programs, you spend the first year studying anatomy, biology, and chemistry. During the second year, you learn how to do many types of procedures. If you have a degree in a related health care field, such as nursing, you may need to complete only the second year of training.

Many EKG technicians receive training on the job. However, a one-year certificate is also available. In this program, you learn how to do basic stress testing, EKGs, and Holter monitoring. Professional-technical schools, two-year colleges, and hospitals offer this program.

On-the-job training

Most EKG technicians receive training on the job. EKG supervisors or cardiologists lead the training. This type of training takes anywhere from two to six months.

Military training

Some branches of the military train people to be cardiopulmonary technicians. Training lasts 26 to 30 weeks, depending on your specialty. Further training occurs on the job.

Helpful high school courses

In high school, take classes that prepare you for college. A college preparatory curriculum may be different from your state's graduation requirements.

You should also consider taking some advanced courses in high school. This includes Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if they are available in your school. If you do well in these courses, you may receive college credit for them. Advanced courses can also strengthen your college application.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

Some employers prefer to hire cardiovascular technologists and technicians who have attended formal training programs. Other employers may hire people who they can train on the job. Most employers prefer to train people already in the health care field, such as nursing aides. Some employers hire EKG technicians who have high school diplomas and course work in biology and the physical sciences.

Employers look for technologists and technicians who are reliable and are able to follow detailed instructions. They look for people with mechanical abilities, such as the ability to set up and adjust medical equipment. Employers also look for technologists and technicians who are pleasant and able to put patients at ease.

In Washington, for many invasive and non-invasive cardiovascular technology jobs, a two-year degree is necessary. For jobs in catheterization labs, some employers prefer applicants who also have experience as an x-ray technician. Employers also look for applicants who are willing to learn and are self-motivated. Some employers seek applicants who are certified through Cardiovascular Credentialing International which is listed in the Other Resources section of this description.


Hospitals often train workers who are already on their staffs. Volunteer work in a hospital, cardiac rehabilitation program, or clinic EKG department is helpful. Certification in CPR as well as training in recognizing abnormal heart rhythms are also helpful.

#Added, certfication through CCI, CPR, & abnormal heart comments 3/14/06, CJ. Certification still available 3/10/08, cj.

Costs to workers

Workers are expected to purchase comfortable shoes and either lab coats to be worn over street clothes or uniforms. Workers who are required to wear uniforms may spend at least $200. Workers may also be required to join a union and pay an initiation fee and monthly dues. They may also pay annual national association membership dues along with certificate renewal expenses.


Cardiovascular invasive specialists must be licensed in order to practice in Washington State. Licensing requirements include:

The application fee is $150 and the renewal fee is $105 every two years.

For more information on licensure, contact The Washington State Health Systems Quality Assurance (external link), PO Box 47877, Olympia, WA 98504-7877, 360.236.4700.

#fine 3/24/15 lh & 3/22/16 cj. okay 2/13/17 lh. Restated the ARRT exam listing above to make it shorter and added personal data questions, rest ok 2/16/18 cj. updated url rest fine 3/26/19 lh

Job listings

Listed below are links to job categories from the National Labor Exchange that relate to this career. Once you get a list of jobs, you can view information about individual jobs and find out how to apply. If your job search finds too many openings, or if you wish to search for jobs outside of Washington, you will need to refine your search.

To get a listing of current jobs from the WorkSource system, go to the WorkSource website (external link).


Cardiovascular technologists and technicians (SOC 29-2031)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $16.68 $19.83 $25.87 $37.13 $46.35
Monthly $2,891 $3,437 $4,483 $6,435 $8,032
Yearly $34,690 $41,250 $53,810 $77,230 $96,400
    Kennewick-Richland Hourly $15.20 $17.51 $23.96 $34.92 $44.69
Monthly $2,634 $3,034 $4,152 $6,052 $7,745
Yearly $31,625 $36,419 $49,837 $72,637 $92,975
    Olympia-Tumwater Hourly $16.75 $20.85 $35.14 $43.04 $50.54
Monthly $2,903 $3,613 $6,090 $7,459 $8,759
Yearly $34,829 $43,366 $73,101 $89,516 $105,133
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $17.65 $21.02 $26.67 $38.56 $48.02
Monthly $3,059 $3,643 $4,622 $6,682 $8,322
Yearly $36,724 $43,724 $55,458 $80,202 $99,881
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly $16.02 $17.86 $23.92 $36.10 $42.73
Monthly $2,776 $3,095 $4,145 $6,256 $7,405
Yearly $33,334 $37,148 $49,755 $75,075 $88,875
    Vancouver Hourly $20.20 $24.31 $37.93 $45.95 $50.26
Monthly $3,501 $4,213 $6,573 $7,963 $8,710
Yearly $41,997 $50,550 $78,902 $95,576 $104,551
    Wenatchee Hourly $17.57 $22.10 $32.07 $41.47 $49.68
Monthly $3,045 $3,830 $5,558 $7,187 $8,610
Yearly $36,554 $45,969 $66,709 $86,265 $103,344
    Yakima Hourly $17.06 $22.42 $32.55 $37.87 $44.59
Monthly $2,956 $3,885 $5,641 $6,563 $7,727
Yearly $35,498 $46,648 $67,692 $78,756 $92,762
United States Hourly $14.11 $18.35 $27.33 $36.17 $44.76
Monthly $2,445 $3,180 $4,736 $6,268 $7,757
Yearly $29,340 $38,170 $56,850 $75,240 $93,100

Pay varies with the technologist's or technician's level of education and skill. Those with formal training generally earn more than those who are trained at hospitals.

Technologists and technicians who work full time usually receive benefits. Typical benefits include medical plans and paid vacation and sick time. Some employers may pay for continuing education courses. Others may pay for or supply uniforms.

Employment and outlook

Washington outlook

In Washington, the use of cardiovascular technology to assess and treat patients is increasing. This is due to the ease and positive outcomes of treatment and greater health awareness. In addition, angioplasty is becoming more common in smaller hospitals so more technologists may be needed to assist with these types of procedures.

#national covers ekg techs 3/13/09 lh

The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians (SOC 29-2031)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 894 22.4% 16.1% 90
    Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties 25 28.0% 13.4% 3
    Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman Counties 36 16.7% 8.6% 3
    Benton and Franklin Counties 35 31.4% 15.0% 4
    Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties 23 21.7% 11.9% 2
    Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum Counties 38 21.1% 15.2% 4
    Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties 60 23.3% 14.1% 6
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 64 23.4% 14.6% 7
    King County 276 23.2% 19.6% 28
    Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania, and Yakima Counties 26 15.4% 13.8% 2
    Pierce County 129 25.6% 15.2% 13
    Snohomish County 106 23.6% 12.4% 11
    Spokane County 77 13.0% 13.9% 6
United States 57,800 6.7% 5.2% 3,700

National employment

Major employers:

National outlook

Job growth will be very strong in this occupation. This is due to developments in technology that allow non-invasive treatments for cardiac problems. The aging population will create more need for cardiac treatments. The strongest job growth will occur in health clinics because more procedures are done outside hospitals.

Opportunities will be best for those who are certified and trained to do a wide range of procedures.

Other resources

Alliance of Cardiovascular Professionals (external link)
PO Box 2007
Midlothian, VA 23113
American Society of Echocardiography (external link)
2530 Meridian Parkway
Suite 450
Durham, NC 22713
Cardiovascular Credentialing International (external link)
1500 Sunday Drive, Suite 102
Raleigh, NC 27607
Explore Health Careers: Cardiovascular Technologist or Technician (external link)
Health Occupation Students of America (external link)
548 Silicon Drive, Suite 101
Southlake, TX 76092
Society for Vascular Ultrasound (external link)
4601 Presidents Drive, Suite 260
Latham, MD 20706
Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (external link)
1850 Samuel Morse Drive
Reston, Virginia 20190
The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (external link)
1255 Northland Drive
Saint Paul, MN 55120-1155


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupation

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupations

Holland occupational cluster