How to become a Cardiac Technologist

Cardiac technologists provide technical services for the investigation, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease. As part of the cardiology team, cardiac technologists operate a range of specialist equipment, which provides data that cardiologists and other medical practitioners use for patient care.

Personal requirements of a Cardiac Technologist

  • Careful and analytical approach to work
  • Sympathetic, supportive and professional approach to patients
  • Ability to follow safety guidelines
  • Good communication skills
  • Commitment to ongoing professional development
  • Able to work as part of a team

Education & Training for a Cardiac Technologist

To become a cardiac technologist you usually have to complete a degree at university with a major in biophysics, health science, nursing, physiology or exercise physiology. Once you are employed, you will receive some on-the-job training and may be required to undertake further study in cardiac technology. This training is currently only offered by Mayfield Education in Victoria by distance education (www.mayfield.edu.au). To get into the degree courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, chemistry, biology and physics are normally required. Entry to the Mayfield Education course usually requires access to a suitable workplace. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Duties & Tasks of a Cardiac Technologist

Cardiac technologists may perform the following tasks:

  • electrocardiography (ECG) - recording the electrical activity of the heart, from which the heart rate is measured and its pattern and rhythm are interpreted
  • ambulatory monitoring - fitting a portable ECG monitor to record the ECG over a 24-hour period, and replaying and analysing the tape on a computerised system
  • exercise ECG stress testing - assessing a patient’s cardiac response to exercise using a treadmill or stationary bicycle and ECG recording
  • pacemaker implant testing - testing and, if necessary, reprogramming implanted cardiac pacemakers with computerised equipment
  • cardiac catheterisation - monitoring and recording ECG and blood pressure data during interventional procedures
  • electrophysiology studies - using computerised systems to record ECG data from within the heart in order to diagnose and treat abnormal heart rhythms
  • echocardiography - operating ultrasound equipment to scan the heart from the chest wall, obtaining and measuring images of the heart to assess blood flow and valve abnormalities
  • cardiac research - studying the effects of cardiovascular drugs and diseases using many of the above techniques.

Working conditions for a Cardiac Technologist

Cardiac technologists may be required to be on call.

Employment Opportunities for a Cardiac Technologist

Most large metropolitan and regional public and private hospitals have cardiac investigation units, and there is growth in the private sector, particularly for cardiac ultrasound. Training opportunities and position grading vary between states and between institutions.

Additional Information
Cardiac technologists performing echocardiograms need to be accredited with the Australian Sonographer Accreditation Registry (ASAR). Student membership is also available for students participating in an ASAR-accredited medical ultrasound program of study. See www.asar.com.au for more information on accreditation requirements.
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