Even though hospitals remain the primary employer, the number of job opportunities for cardiovascular technologists and technicians is also expected to grow quickly in physicians’ offices and diagnostic laboratories. By 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects to see a 30 percent increase in the sum of available positions, compared with 2012’s career offerings. For echocardiography technicians (echo techs), whose key responsibilities include administering non-invasive ultrasounds to pinpoint heart-related illnesses, it is a vital medical vocation that holds great promise.
“There is a lot of opportunity in Los Angeles, with so many hospitals and health care facilities,” said Giovanna Velasquez, an echo tech at Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center. “Plus, it is a really stable and good-paying profession.”
What defines an effective echo tech?
“Nothing beats experience. Also, treating your patients like they are your family makes a big difference in patient care. This job is more than doing tests. It’s about talking to patients, understanding where they are coming from, comforting them if they are sick, and keeping the lines of communication open.”
How will your role change by 2022?
“Right now, we work mainly in two-dimensional settings, and will work more in 3-D in the future. The machines will get better. It’s incredible how much we are able to see inside the heart in such a non-invasive way.”
How does one prepare for a sound career as an echo tech?
“It’s important to know what you’re doing and what you are looking for when you start a test. It’s also important to stay up-to-date with the latest guidelines. It’s a fast-moving field and you don’t want to be left behind.”
What is your message to striving echo techs?
“Whatever you do, love what you are doing. It doesn’t make sense to pursue this career if you don’t love it. In my personal life, I enjoy taking pictures. In my professional life, I take pictures of people’s hearts. It’s a good fit, and I feel very proud of what I do. It’s a fulfilling career. You have to be committed because decisions are made based on our findings.”
Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.