How to Become a Cardiac Technician (Including Salary)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 29 March 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Cardiac technicians help diagnose and treat various cardiovascular conditions. These professionals typically work with cardiology specialists to provide specialist care and support to patients. Learning about this role may help you decide if it's right for you. In this article, we discuss how to become a cardiac technician by providing a career guide, skills they use and national and regional average salaries.

What is a cardiac technician?

A cardiac technician is a medical professional who works with cardiac specialists to determine the diagnosis for a range of heart conditions. These professionals perform tests like echocardiograms and electrocardiograms (ECG) to identify patterns in heartbeat graphs or suspicious rhythms in heartbeat echocardiogram footage. Cardiac technicians may also take ultrasounds of the heart to help doctors gain a visual on the heart to properly determine the cause of an illness.

These professionals work with doctors and other clinical professionals to advise on treatments to either cure the illness or substantially improve the patient's quality of life. To do this, cardiac technicians operate a range of equipment, like machines and portable devices, to monitor cardiac activity and prepare reports. Cardiac technicians work in multiple clinical settings like general hospitals, specialist practices, GPs and private clinics. They may also work with other professionals to determine fitness levels in athletes and general health performance.

Related: How to Become a Sonographer in 5 Steps

How to become a cardiac technician

Learning how to become a cardiac technician can help you plan your next step. Cardiac technology is a specialist role that requires an in-depth understanding of heart and health behaviour to appropriately advise the cardiology specialist and find an accurate diagnosis. To do this, healthcare providers typically require candidates to fulfil a set of educational, accreditation and skills requirements. Here's a guide you can follow to become a cardiac technician:

1. Gain an education

To qualify for a cardiac technician role, most clinical settings expect candidates to have a degree in a subject like health care sciences, nursing, sports science, allied science or biophysics. These subjects provide you with important background knowledge of reading graphs, working with specialist equipment or laboratory tools and understanding how the human body responds to stress, such as exercise or illness.

This can help cardiac technician candidates identify critical patterns and utilise the appropriate recording equipment to consult with cardiac medical professionals. Courses in these programs also help to develop critical mathematical, observational and technical skills for a technician role.

Related: How to Become a Medical Scientist

2. Get a postgraduate degree

A postgraduate degree may also increase your chances of securing a cardiac technician role because it can provide you with expert knowledge about the field and specialties. For example, postgraduate education in health care sciences can offer you an opportunity to specialise in cardiovascular health. This may help you gain a more comprehensive understanding of how to identify cardiovascular illness through recording and observation. It can also help you provide well-informed results to your employer and help to diagnose and treat a patient. Postgraduate degrees can also impact your salary and help you progress into more senior positions during your career.

3. Gain accreditation

Special accreditation that establishes a candidate's competence and knowledge base is the typical minimum expectation of a cardiac technician candidate. This accreditation from the Australian Sonographer Accreditation Registry ensures that candidates can use equipment to compile reports and advise the cardiac medical professional. Accreditation also shows that you understand how to operate equipment safely without the risk of harming yourself or the patient. Accreditation may also encourage an employer and present you as more reliable and dedicated.

When seeking accreditation, ensure you find the appropriate accreditation for your chosen speciality, as accreditation for an echocardiologist may differ from that of an ultrasound or ECG technician, for example.

4. Build your resume

Before applying for a cardiac technician role, consider creating your professional resume to meet the qualifications and desired qualities for the role you want. To do this, you can read the job description and identify the skills and experience the employer wants that match your own. For example, if the listing states that the facility wants a candidate who can handle high patient volume, you may emphasise your organisation and endurance skills. Doing this can help the recruiter understand your ability to complete the responsibilities of the role.

When compiling your resume, ensure you include any relevant experiences that enable you to conduct cardiac technician roles to a high standard.

Read more: How to Write a Medical Resume (With Template and Example)

5. Seek experience

Once you're fully qualified for the role, you may look for experience in cardiac technology. Medical roles are typically competitive environments, as healthcare providers seek reliable and knowledgeable candidates. So, it's important to ensure that you build key competencies and qualifications that you can list on a resume and cover letter. It's likely that the facility you apply to offers some basic training on equipment operation, which can also help you progress further in your career.

Experience is a good opportunity to also decide which type of cardiac technology you wish to specialise in. For example, you may discover through a temporary role that you want to specialise in a type of technology or recording.

Related: What Does a Cardiac Sonographer Do? (With Duties and Salary)

Cardiac technician skills

Cardiac technicians require a combination of hard and soft skills to deliver critical reports on patient health. These skills enable technicians to operate equipment, notice patterns, interact with patients and advise clinicians. Here's a list of hard and soft skills that cardiac technicians use daily:

Hard skills

Hard skills refer to those that enable cardiac technicians to carry out observations and recordings of a patient's cardiovascular activity and prepare accurate and mathematical reports. Some of these skills include:

  • Data entry: When taking recordings from an ECG or echocardiogram, technicians often enter the data values into a system for record-keeping. This requires knowledge of data entry to ensure that all results are accurate and updated.

  • Graph reading: Cardiac technicians help cardiologists interpret their diagnosis from a set of recordings and plotting on graphs. Graph reading helps specialists identify accurate diagnoses.

  • Clinical skills: Clinical skills, like knowledge of sterile fields and how to handle equipment to ensure patient comfort, cleanliness and harm reduction, are vital to this field. It helps cardiac technicians provide a high standard of care.

  • Technical skills: These skills refer to abilities to handle computerised equipment and machines. Technical skills are vital for operating a host of cardiology equipment to determine diagnoses.

Soft skills

Soft skills refer to interpersonal skills that help cardiac technicians work with patients and communicate with their colleagues effectively. These skills can include:

  • Communication: This skill is important for working with cardiologists to establish the cause of heart problems. Communication helps technicians and specialists confer about results and determine the appropriate course of action.

  • Compassion: Cardiac technicians may encounter a range of scenarios that require compassion. For example, patients may become distressed during an exam and require calming down.

  • Positivity: A cardiac technician may provide care to those in critical condition or in end-of-life care. This requires technicians to remain positive to offer a high level of patient care and keep a pleasant working atmosphere.

  • Collaborative working: Cardiac technicians may work with several specialists in a diagnostic process. This requires a collaborative mindset to ensure an efficient flow of information and good working relationships.

Related: 20 Careers in Health Science

The average salary of a cardiac technician

Cardiac technicians' salaries may vary widely since there are many specialities, including working with equipment like electrocardiogram or echocardiogram machines. For example, the average national salary of an echocardiologist is $133,283 per year, while the average salary of a cardiac technician or ECG technician is $60,203 per year. Salary amount may also vary depending on the type of certifications or level of qualification.

Salaries can also vary based on the type of clinical setting a cardiac technician works in. For example, a private cardiac technician's salary may differ from that of a technician working at a national health care facility. The location makes a difference too. Here are the pay differences between the two specialities across Australia's major cities:

ECG technician

Here's the average salary for ECG technicians in different locations:

  • Sydney: $49,029 per year

  • Melbourne: $50,963 per year

  • Perth: $77,279 per year

  • Canberra: $48,564 per year

Echocardiologist

Here's the average salaries for echocardiologists in different areas:

  • Perth: $66,639 per year

  • Canberra: $125,246 per year

  • Sydney: $118,468 per year

  • Melbourne: $90,066 per year

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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