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Top Field to Go Into

By R. Patrick DeMuth, FSVU, RVT posted Thu December 12, 2013 11:40:37 AM


I am always interested in the lists that come out on Yahoo or Forbes naming the best careers to go into. Here is a link to yet another one We all know that health care is a significant segment of the gross national product and it stands to reason these are the jobs predicted to have great demand in the near future. With the aging demographic of America, the increased prevalence of vascular disease, and the relatively inexpensive modality of ultrasound, a perfect storm is created to see an explosion in the need for vascular technologists. In fact, it is no surprise that “sonographers” is almost always on these prognostications.

 For years the Department of Labor did not recognize Vascular Technologists as a unique field in medicine. However the current occupational outlook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveals some interesting tidbits worthy of discussion.

First and foremost, vascular technologists are lumped in with “Cardiovascular technologists and technicians.” Namely, these are folks working in the Cath Lab monitoring EKG’s, preparing patients for procedures, and also including technologists performing cardiac and vascular ultrasounds. Even though we are viewed differently than Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (which have their own classification) our field still suffers from being lumped with professionals performing tasks very different from our own.

The bad news in these results is how the BLS determines median pay (2010) for vascular technologists. When compared to Diagnostic Medical Sonographers a huge discrepancy is noted ($49,410 vs. $64,380), most likely a result of the lower pay of some in our group.

The good news, however, is the nearly 29% increase in the number of jobs expected in our field. If this is lumped with Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (many of whom also perform vascular ultrasound) who have a 44% expected increase, approximately 70,000 jobs are going to be created to meet the need on the horizon. Furthermore, according to Anne Jones, the next BLS update due next year will have a combined page listing Diagnostic Medical Sonography and Vascular Technology together! SVU has long been working to get Vascular Technology as a separate classification. This is a work in progress which will happen now that the CARE Bill work is done (look for near future information here on this topic!).

What does this mean for you and me? From education, to leadership roles, to manufacturing clinical expertise, these increased jobs means the need must be met and the current vascular technologist work force will be called upon to meet it. It may mean that we should all consider our personal development and experience as an asset that not only helps us move ahead individually, but can be leveraged to help and mentor others. Personally, I think it is a shame that many of the vascular ultrasound education programs around the country struggle to find locations for internships and externships. Perhaps the need for technologists is not so keen at the moment, but we should all consider that although we have a great jobs outlook, it may not be so if there are not enough of us to do the job down the road. 

1 comment



Tue January 14, 2014 03:51:47 PM

I know that Anne put a lot of hard work in on changing the designation. Thank you Anne, that is a huge deal!!