Cardiographers use equipment to monitor the heart. You could use your interest in science and technology to work with patients. Find out how you could become a cardiographer.
This page has information on the role of the cardiographer, including the entry requirements and skills needed.
The heart and blood vessels of the body are known as the cardiovascular system, which is assessed and monitored within the cardiac department of a hospital. Cardiographers are healthcare science assistants and healthcare science associates who support cardiologists who are doctors specialising in the cardiovascular system.
As a cardiographer, you'd operate electrocardiograph (ECG) machines which monitor the heart. You would fit electrodes to the patient's body, making sure they are correctly connected to the machine. You'd then take readings from the ECG which the doctor uses to make decisions about treatment.
You may also be involved in other types of cardiovascular monitoring and treatment including:
- echocardiography, using ultrasound to create images
- exercise testing, monitoring patients while they exercise on a treadmill
- tilt testing
- blood pressure monitoring
- pacemakers and ICD (implantable cardioverter-defibrillators)
- remote monitoring of patients
Cardiographers may have to learn how to use new equipment and techniques as advances are made and new methods are taken on.
Cardiographers work with healthcare and science professionals. They are part of the cardiac sciences team which includes anaesthetists, cardiothoracic surgeons, healthcare scientists, cardiologists (doctors specialising in the cardiovascular system) and specialist nurses.
Cardiographers also have a lot of contact with patients.
Entry requirements, skills and interests
There are no set entry requirements for cardiographers. Employers expect good numeracy and literacy. They may ask for at least two GCSEs (or equivalent) including English and maths. Some ask for science as well. Some employers ask for A levels or equivalent qualifications in science.
Employers often ask for relevant work experience. Even where this is not specified, it would be an advantage if you have worked in health or social care, either in paid employment or voluntary work.
Personal characteristics and skills needed
As a cardiographer, you'd need to:
- reassure patients
- operate machines
- be interested in science and technology
- follow instructions carefully
- record data accurately
- pay attention to detail
- explain clearly to patients
- work with all types of people
You'll also need
- technological skills
- IT skills
- good communication skills
Training and development
You will receive the training you need to work as a cardiographer. This includes:
- an introduction to the department and its systems and procedures
- the human body and the cardiovascular system
- using the equipment
As part of your training, you are likely to study for the Award or Certificate in Electrocardiography from the Society for Cardiological Science and Technology.
- Pay and conditions Expand / Collapse
Clinical support staff working in the NHS are paid on the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay system. As a cardiographer, you will typically start on AfC band 2. It is possible to apply for more senior positions at band 3 or 4, after further training and experience.
Most cardiographers in the NHS work standard hours, which are likely to be around 37.5 a week. They may work some evenings or weekends.
Terms and conditions will usually be different for clinical support staff working outside of the NHS.
- Where the role can lead Expand / Collapse
As you gain experience, you could become a senior cardiographer. A senior cardiographer might work with more complicated equipment or have more responsibility for working with patients. They may also supervise the work of other cardiographers.
With experience and further training, and if you have the academic ability to do so, you could apply for an undergraduate BSc (Hons) Healthcare Science (Cardiac Physiology) - the NHS Practitoner Training Programme. This would enable you to work as a healthcare science practitioner in cardiac sciences.
- Job market and vacancies Expand / Collapse
The Society for Cardiological Science and Technology advertises vacancies on its website, including jobs overseas.
If you're applying for a role either directly in the NHS or in an organisation that provides NHS services, you'll be asked to show how you think the NHS values apply in your everyday work.
- Further information Expand / Collapse