How Long Does Cardiovascular Technology School Take?
Cardiovascular technologists work to assist cardiologists in diagnosing and treating a patient’s heart problems. They provide assistance during procedures like cardiac catheterization and open-heart surgery. Some of their tasks include cleansing the target area for catheter insertion and keeping track of a patient’s vital signs like blood pressure and heart rate while an operation is going on. They may also assist in inserting pacemakers and stents.
If you are interested in a career as a cardiovascular technologist, there are a variety of educational paths to take. You can work towards a certificate, associate or bachelor’s degree in cardiovascular technology. These programs typically include a lecture component and experience in a clinical setting.
A certificate program in cardiovascular technology usually takes a year or a year-and-a-half to complete. Schools offering a certificate program usually cover such key topics as EKG patterns, arrhythmia recognition and echocardiography, among others.
The most common educational preparation to become a cardiovascular technologist is an associate’s degree in cardiovascular technology. This usually takes two years to finish and teaches students lessons on heart diseases, methods of conducting diagnostic scans and operating echocardiography equipment. The curriculum also includes lessons on how to assist a cardiologist during treatment operations. General cardiovascular technology courses and concepts in the sciences are given as introductory courses and students are later asked to focus their studies on non-invasive cardiovascular technology or invasive cardiovascular technology.
Although less popular than an associate’s degree, a growing number of colleges are now offering a bachelor’s degree in cardiovascular technology. This typically takes four years of fulltime study to finish. The University of South Carolina offers a bachelor of science degree in cardiovascular technology which teaches students such concepts as fundamental genetics, cell and molecular biology, general physiology, comparative vertebrate anatomy, biochemistry, organic chemistry and cardiovascular technology training. For this program, the student’s first three years are spent in campus where he earns 100 credit hours to qualify him to apply for an internship. The clinical internship then ranges from 18 to 22 months at a hospital.
Cardiovascular technology students must see to it that they maintain good grades in school as well pass the national registry examination in cardiovascular technology to become licensed cardiovascular technologists.
Aside from the educational preparation that you need to obtain for this career, you also have to be prepared for the rigors of the job. You must have a very keen eye for detail and have steady hands since you will be assisting in very delicate procedures. You also have to be comfortable with being on your feet for long periods of time since operations can take a long time to finish.
You also need to be physically fit so you can lift and turn patients when necessary. If you are a high school student and are keen on pursuing a career as a cardiovascular technologist, you should strengthen your background in math and science. Taking courses like biology, anatomy and physiology are especially helpful.