Career and Education Opportunities for Cardiac Technicians in Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria, Virginia provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for cardiac technicians. The national trend for cardiac technicians sees this job pool growing by about 24.1% over the next eight years. Cardiac technicians generally conduct tests on pulmonary or cardiovascular systems of patients for diagnostic purposes.
A person working as a cardiac technician can expect to earn about $26 per hour or $55,420 yearly on average in Virginia and about $22 hourly or $47,010 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for cardiac technicians are better than earnings in the general category of Healthcare Technical in Virginia and better than general Healthcare Technical category earnings nationally. Cardiac technicians work in a variety of jobs, including: cardiovascular interventional technologist, perfusionist, and holter scanning technician.
There are eighty-four schools of higher education in the Alexandria area, including one within twenty-five miles of Alexandria where you can get a degree to start your career as a cardiac technician. Given that the most common education level for cardiac technicians is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, you can expect to spend about two years training to become a cardiac technician if you already have a high school diploma.
CAREER DESCRIPTION: Cardiac Technician
In general, cardiac technicians conduct tests on pulmonary or cardiovascular systems of patients for diagnostic purposes. They also may conduct or assist in electrocardiograms, cardiac catheterizations, pulmonary-functions, lung capacity, and similar tests.
Cardiac technicians explain testing procedures to patient to obtain cooperation and reduce anxiety. They also ready and position patients for testing. Equally important, cardiac technicians have to obtain and record patient identification, medical history or test results. They are often called upon to monitor patients' comfort and safety during tests, alerting physicians to abnormalities or changes in patient responses. They are expected to adjust apparatus and controls in line with physicians' orders or established protocol. Finally, cardiac technicians attach electrodes to the patients' chests and legs, connect electrodes to leads from the electrocardiogram (EKG) machine, and operate the EKG machine to obtain a reading.
Every day, cardiac technicians are expected to be able to evaluate problems as they arise. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings.
It is important for cardiac technicians to supervise and train other cardiology technologists and students. They are often called upon to observe gauges and video screens of data analysis system during imaging of cardiovascular system. They also check and maintain cardiology apparatus, making minor repairs when needed, to insure proper operation. They are sometimes expected to perform general administrative tasks. Somewhat less frequently, cardiac technicians are also expected to activate fluoroscope and camera to produce images used to guide catheter through cardiovascular system.
Cardiac technicians sometimes are asked to activate fluoroscope and camera to produce images used to guide catheter through cardiovascular system. They also have to be able to observe ultrasound display screen and listen to signals to record vascular data such as blood pressure, limb volume changes, oxygen saturation and cerebral circulation and compare measurements of heart wall thickness and chamber sizes to standard norms to pinpoint abnormalities. And finally, they sometimes have to observe gauges and video screens of data analysis system during imaging of cardiovascular system.
Like many other jobs, cardiac technicians must have exceptional integrity and be reliable.
Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Alexandria include:
- Health Information Systems Technician. Compile, process, and maintain medical records of hospital and clinic patients in a manner consistent with medical, administrative, and regulatory requirements of the health care system. Process, maintain, and report patient information for health requirements and standards.
- Medical Laboratory Technician. Perform routine medical laboratory tests for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. May work under the supervision of a medical technologist.
- Medical Laboratory Technologist. Perform complex medical laboratory tests for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. May train or supervise staff.
- Nuclear Medical Technologist. Prepare, administer, and measure radioactive isotopes in therapeutic, diagnostic, and tracer studies utilizing a variety of radioisotope equipment. Prepare stock solutions of radioactive materials and calculate doses to be administered by radiologists. Subject patients to radiation. Execute blood volume, red cell survival, and fat absorption studies following standard laboratory techniques.
- Pharmacist Technician. Prepare medications under the direction of a pharmacist. May measure, mix, and record amounts and dosages of medications.
- Radiation Therapist. Provide radiation therapy to patients as prescribed by a radiologist according to established practices and standards. Duties may include reviewing prescription and diagnosis; acting as liaison with physician and supportive care personnel; preparing equipment, such as immobilization, treatment, and protection devices; and maintaining records, reports, and files. May assist in dosimetry procedures and tumor localization.
- Radiological Technician. Maintain and use equipment and supplies necessary to demonstrate portions of the human body on x-ray film or fluoroscopic screen for diagnostic purposes.
- Radiology Technologist. Take x-rays and Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT or CT) scans or administer nonradioactive materials into patient's blood stream for diagnostic purposes. Includes technologists who specialize in other modalities, such as computed tomography, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance.
- Respiratory Therapist. Assess, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders. Assume primary responsibility for all respiratory care modalities, including the supervision of respiratory therapy technicians. Initiate and conduct therapeutic procedures; maintain patient records; and select, assemble, and operate equipment.
- Respiratory Therapy Technician. Provide specific, well defined respiratory care procedures under the direction of respiratory therapists and physicians.
- Sonographer. Produce ultrasonic recordings of internal organs for use by physicians.
- Surgical Technician. Assist in operations, under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, or other surgical personnel. May help set up operating room, prepare and transport patients for surgery, adjust lights and equipment, pass instruments and other supplies to surgeons and surgeon's assistants, hold retractors, and help count sponges, needles, and instruments.
EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Cardiac Technician Training
Sanford-Brown Institute - Landover, MD
Sanford-Brown Institute, 8401 Corporate Dr Ste 155, Landover, MD 20785. Sanford-Brown Institute is a small school located in Landover, Maryland. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 788 students and an admission rate of 74%. Sanford-Brown Institute has a one to two year program in Cardiovascular Technology/Technologist which graduated thirty-four students in 2008.
Certification in Clinical Perfusion: Certification in cardiovascular perfusion is evidence that a perfusionist's qualifications for operation of extracorporeal equipment are recognized by his/her peers.
For more information, see the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion website.
Registered Vascular Technologist: The examination's content outline includes: cerbrovascular, venous, peripheral arterial, abdomenal/visceral, miscellaneous conditions/tests, and quality assurance.
For more information, see the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers website.
Biomedical Electronics Technician: Biomedical electronics technicians are expected to obtain knowledge of the principles of modern biomedical techniques, the proper procedure in the care, handling and maintenance of biomedical equipment and to display an attitude/behavior expected of an electronics technician who works in a hospital or healthcare environment.
For more information, see the ETA International website.
Registered Pulmonary Function Technologist: The RPFT Certification exam is designed to objectively measure essential knowledge, skills and abilities required of an advanced pulmonary function technologist.
For more information, see the National Board for Respiratory Care website.
Nuclear Cardiology Technologist: Professional certification is a vital component of a successful career.
For more information, see the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board website.
LOCATION INFORMATION: Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria is situated in Alexandria City County, Virginia. It has a population of over 143,885, which has grown by 12.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Alexandria, 124, is far greater than the national average.
The three big industries for women in Alexandria are professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and health care. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and construction. The average commute to work is about 30 minutes. More than 54.3% of Alexandria residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.8%, is higher than the state average.
The unemployment rate in Alexandria is 4.6%, which is less than Virginia's average of 6.4%.
Church of Resurrection Episcopal, Agudas Achim Synagogue and Alexandria Bible Church are some of the churches located in Alexandria.
Alexandria is home to the Circle Terrace Hospital and the Kate Waller Barrett Branch as well as Marina Park and Founders Park. Shopping centers in the area include Hamlet Shopping Center, Landmark Shopping Center and Arlandria Shopping Center. Visitors to Alexandria can choose from Comfort Inn-Landmark, Best Western Old Colony Inn and Hilton Inn for temporary stays in the area.