What is Cardiovascular Technology?
A cardiovascular technologist plays an important role in gathering information so that a physician can diagnose and treat diseases of the cardiovascular system. The CV technologist learns how to use special (ultrasound) imaging equipment to check the heart and blood vessels for healthy and diseased areas. The programs at Mercy College of Ohio help prepare you for a career as an Echocardiographer or a Vascular Technologist.
The CVT programs are six consecutive semesters in length and minimally require two academic years to complete. Courses in the associate degree programs are divided into didactic, laboratory and clinical areas. Cardiovascular technology students are educated in the theory of a broad spectrum of diagnostic techniques used in the diagnosis and follow-up care of cardiovascular diseases related to heart attack, stroke, deep vein thrombosis and peripheral arterial disease.
In the first year of the programs, students receive education and training in cardiovascular anatomy and physiology, and the application of clinical cardiovascular techniques including electrocardiograms (ECG), ambulatory monitoring and stress testing. Students completing the first year of study, are eligible and encouraged to take the National Certification Exam, Certified Cardiographic Technician (CCT) through Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI). Students often find part-time or contingent work after completing the first summer clinical rotation and work in the field while completing the second year of the program.
The second year of the programs has emphasis on noninvasive vascular studies OR adult echocardiography, with lecture and laboratory courses combined with clinical experience in hospitals and clinics.
What will my role be in healthcare?
Cardiovascular Technologists may perform electrocardiograms (EKG), ambulatory monitoring and cardiac stress tests as well as ultrasound imaging of the heart and/or vascular system. An EKG shows the electrical activity of the heart and can help diagnosis rhythm problems and heart attacks. Ambulatory monitoring is an essentially an EKG performed over a long period of time in which the patient goes about their normal daily routine. This is used to detect abnormal heart rhythms. Cardiac stress tests help to identify patients at risk of having a heart attack. Patients are asked to exercise while hooked up to an EKG machine.
Noninvasive Cardiovascular Technologist (Echocardiographer):
Noninvasive cardiovascular technologists perform electrocardiograms (EKG), stress testing, heart rhythm monitoring and ultrasound scans of the heart (echocardiograms), all of which provide information on the health of the heart without going inside the body. An echocardiogram combined with Doppler technology is the most extensive noninvasive examination performed and provides images and information on both the anatomic structure and function of the heart.
Noninvasive Peripheral Vascular Technologist:
Noninvasive peripheral vascular technologists may also perform electrocardiograms, stress testing, and ambulatory monitoring. Peripheral vascular studies are performed on the arteries and veins that are in the arms and legs and also in the abdomen (stomach area). These studies utilize Doppler technology that allows the condition of the veins and arteries to be examined and determine the blood flow through them. Doppler technology is also used in police radar guns, sonar on submarines or “fish finders” used by fisherman.
What environment do Cardiovascular Technologists work in?
Most CV technologists work in hospitals or private physician offices. Hours are usually during the day, but you may be “on call” for emergency testing and may have to work weekends.
What do Cardiovascular Technologists earn?
Cardiovascular Technologists earn around $52,000 per year depending on experience and location (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014).
Mercy College of Ohio’s Cardiovascular Programs are accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Cardiovascular Technology.
Graduates are eligible to sit for the Registry Exam offered through Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) OR the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) upon graduation.
Learn more about the Cardiovascular Technology Program Chair, Vickie Delaney!
Professor Delaney has 30 years of experience in healthcare as a Medical Assistant, EKG Technician, Echocardiographer and Vascular Technologist along with many years as a lab manager. She taught as an adjunct professor for 17 years at the University of Toledo before joining Mercy College of Ohio in 2011 as the Program Chair for Cardiovascular Technology.
Vickie Delaney, MA, BS, RDCS, RVT, FASE
Program Chair and Instructor, Cardiovascular Technology Program