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Cardiovascular technologists and technicians salary & career outlook

A growing population and new medical advances are expected to generate more career opportunities for health care professionals, and cardiovascular technologist and technician jobs are no different. While title of their profession may be a mouthful, these vital medical personnel play a succinct role in the delivery of medical care that gets right to the heart of the matter.

Like ultrasound technicians, cardiovascular technologists and technicians take diagnostic images of the insides of patients' bodies, to help doctors create treatment plans, though they focus specifically on cardiac and vascular conditions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these professionals often specialize their skills: Cardiac technologists focus on the heart, while vascular technologists concentrate on imaging the arteries and veins.

Whatever their specialty, the BLS reports that cardiovascular technologists and technicians tend to share a set of general duties:

  • Operate and maintain imaging equipment
  • Inform patients about procedures and collect imaging data
  • Analyze images and discuss findings with physicians
  • Record findings and track patient records

Cardiovascular technologists and technicians must spend a great deal of time on their feet, and may be required to work nights, evenings and weekends. They must be detail-oriented, have an excellent bedside manner and be comfortable with and knowledgeable about medical technologies.

How much do they make?

According to the BLS, the national mean annual salary for cardiovascular technologists and technicians in 2013 was $53,990, with a range that stretches from $27,810 or less for the lowest-paid 10 percent up to $82,920 or more for the highest-paid 10 percent. Salary can vary quite a bit from one position to the next, with factors such as education, experience, location and employer each playing a role. Cardiovascular technologists and technicians employed in the offices of dentists, physicians and other health professionals earned the highest wages in 2013, the BLS reports.

Location can also impact your earnings, thanks to both the regional mean salary and the average cost of everyday goods and services. Cross-indexing 2014 data from the Center for Community and Economic Research Cost of Living Index with mean metropolitan area salaries reported to the BLS in 2013, some high-value locations for cardiovascular technicians and technologists can be found:

  • Little Rock, AR: $62,980 mean annual salary; state ranked 11th in affordability
  • Las Cruces, NM: $72,120 mean annual salary; state ranked 12th in affordability
  • Indianapolis, IN: $56,210 mean annual salary; state ranked 3rd in affordability

What's the career outlook?

The employment outlook for cardiovascular technicians and technologists is uncommonly good, thanks in part to an aging population of baby boomers and expansions in medical insurance coverage. The BLS expects job growth of 30 percent among the various specialties of cardiovascular technology between 2012 and 2022, which is much faster than the average for all occupations nationally.

Certain areas, particularly in the Western U.S., have even higher projected growth for the same period, according to state labor data aggregated by Projections Central. These include:

  • Utah: 44.7% projected growth
  • Texas: 44.3% projected growth
  • Puerto Rico: 42.6% projected growth
  • Arizona: 40.5% projected growth
  • Idah: 39.8% projected growth

How to become one

Because patients' health can depend on accurate testing and diagnosis, employers usually require that cardiovascular technologists and technicians receive formal training before they can be considered for positions in the field. The Occupational Information Network reports that nearly two-thirds of cardiovascular technicians and technologists working in 2013 held associate degrees, while an additional 13 percent had completed some non-degree postsecondary education.

Before applying for jobs, cardiovascular technologists must have a certain number of hours of hands-on training in invasive or noninvasive imaging technologies and procedures. Those who complete academic programs also typically take introductory medical classes, like anatomy and medical terminology.

If you want to try and take advantage of the upward trend in high-tech health care jobs, it might be time to make some investments in your education. Look into cardiovascular technician and technologist schools to find potential options for the training you need in your area.

Sources:

Cost of Living Data Series: Third Quarter 2014, Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, Missouri Department of Economic Development,
http://www.missourieconomy.org/indicators/cost_of_living/index.stm

Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, Occupational Information Network, http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/29-2031.00

Long Term Occupational Projections for Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, Projections Central,
http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm

Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, Occupational Employment and Wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, April 1, 2014,
http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292031.htm

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, Including Vascular Technologists, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition," Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Jan. 8, 2014,
http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Healthcare/Diagnostic-medical-sonographers.htm