Medical Assistant vs. Cardiovascular Technician: What You Need to Know

Cardiovascular technicians perform a number of important and complicated procedures on behalf of patients suffering from diseases mainly involving the heart and, peripherally, the lungs and the circulatory systems. These highly-trained professionals may administer a carotid artery ultrasound, an EKG, etc. They can also monitor patients that suffered a heart attack or stroke or who may be on life support systems.

Cardiovascular technologists or technicians (CVTs) assist cardiologists in diagnosing and treating medical problems of the heart and its supportive systems (like blood vessels). They can also help with many non-invasive and invasive procedures like the insertion of catheters, pacemakers, and defibrillators.

Here are some of the major differences between Cardiovascular Technologists/Technicians and MAs:

  • Most CVTs start off with an associate in their field but they can advance in their educational levels; unlike MAs, they rarely enter the field with just a certificate or diploma, although this isn’t totally unheard of (especially in the past).
  • The duties of CVTs is more focused and specific than those of an MA.
  • In general, CVTs are better qualified than most other people in providing things like EKGs, since they perform more of these than other folks in healthcare. In general, all EKGs would be performed by them were there enough of them around. Unfortunately, this is a position which hospitals hire only a limited number of.
  • CVTs, especially the experienced ones with multiple certifications, can make more than MAs and generally have more job security than MAs, which can be replaced more easily and quickly in most cases.
  • A CVT is qualified to assist in and expected to help perform more invasive procedures than an MAs is allowed to perform; one of the few invasive procedures MAs can perform is phlebotomy.
  • There are more subspecialties for CVTs than there are for MAs (not counting specialties of MAs simply by area of medicine, such as Cardiology Medical Assistant, Oncological Medical Assistant, etc.); CVTs, for example, can have special vascular certification, thus concentrating on blood flow ailments; there are also such things as cardiac sonographers that fall both under medical imaging and cardiovascular technology. MAs are mostly just “certified” or “clinical.”
  • Unlike MAs, CVTs are generally certified in their field, though neither is yet by requirement licensed in most states.
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Article Written by Rachel Dennis

Rachel Dennis works as both a professional writer and health care provider. She has been a licensed health care provider since 1998, with work experience as a medical assistant, certified nursing assistant and emergency medical technician. She has been writing since 1994 and has been published both on-line and in print.

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