Within the realm of surgical technologists there are vast possibilities for specializations and one such area is heart or cardiovascular surgeries.

If you aspire to specialize in this area of cardiovascular surgeries and get certified you will become a CVOR Tech or Cardiovascular Operating Room Technician.

In this article, we’ll delve into the critical role of a CVOR Tech, exploring their responsibilities, education, certification, salary, job outlook, how can you become one, and much more.

So, let’s begin – 


What is a CVOR Tech?

A CVOR tech is a Surgical Tech professional who chooses to specialize in the surgeries of the heart or cardiovascular surgeries. Many aspiring CVOR Techs start as surgical technologists and later specialize in cardiovascular surgery through additional training and experience.

Their primary role is to ensure that the CVOR (Cardiovascular Operating Room) runs seamlessly, which is essential when dealing with life-or-death situations.

Within the CVOR, these technicians prepare the surgical suite, making certain that all equipment is ready and sterilized.

They work closely with surgeons and nurses, assisting during the procedure by passing instruments, and ensuring the sterile field remains uncontaminated.


-> What is a Surgical Tech?

-> What Does a Surgical Tech Do?

CVOR Tech School – Education and Training

To become a CVOR Tech, you typically need a high school diploma or GED. The next step is to enroll in a surgical technology program to become a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST).

Then gain initial experience as a surgical technologist and later specialize in cardiovascular surgery through additional training and on-the-job experience.

This path will equip you with the expertise needed to excel in the high-stakes environment of cardiovascular operating rooms.

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CVOR Tech Certification

Certification as a CVOR Tech is not mandatory, but it can significantly enhance your career prospects and enhance your credentials as a CVOR Tech.

Organizations such as the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) offer certifications specific to cardiovascular surgery.

The NBSTSA offers the Certified Surgical Technologist-CVOR (CST-CVOR) certification designed for individuals working in cardiovascular operating rooms.

Read More:

-> Online Surgical Tech Programs

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CVOR Tech Salary

As per the BLS 2022 data, cardiovascular technologists and technicians had an annual average salary of $63,020. Though this figure can vary based on factors like experience, location, and the healthcare facility.

Fascinatingly, with experience and expertise the earning potential sky-rocketed as the top 10 percent of CVOR Techs earned around $102,000 annually.  

But the lowest 10 percent had an annual average salary of around $33,950. If you are just starting your career as a CVOR Tech, you can expect your salary to range from $33,950 to $63,020.

Read -> Surgical Tech Salary

CVOR Tech Job Outlook

As per the BLS, the projected employment growth rate for Cardiovascular technologists and technicians is projected to grow by 4% in this decade.

This is huge and promising considering it is a specialization within the vast field of surgical technologists. Also, with an aging population and ongoing advancements in medical technology, the demand for cardiovascular surgeries will rise.

This increased demand will naturally fuel the need for skilled CVOR Techs, making it a career with a bright and secure future.


-> Is Surgical Tech School Hard?

-> How to Become a Surgical Tech?

Types of CVOR Techs

Surgical Tech Requirements  

CVOR Techs play a crucial role in cardiovascular surgeries. They are a specialized group with different roles and responsibilities within the operating room.

Each type of CVOR Tech plays a crucial role in ensuring the success of cardiovascular surgeries. They work collaboratively within a specialized team to provide the best care for patients with heart conditions.

Here are the various types of CVOR Techs –

CVOR Scrub Technician

CVOR scrub techs are responsible for preparing the operating room and ensuring that all the necessary instruments and equipment are sterile and ready for surgery. They pass instruments to the surgeons during the procedure and maintain the sterile field.  

CVOR Circulating Technician

They manage the overall flow of the operating room, ensuring that everything runs smoothly. They help with patient positioning, transport, documentation, and communication between the surgical team and other hospital staff.  

Pediatric CVOR Tech

These specialized techs work exclusively in pediatric cardiovascular surgery. They are well-versed in the unique challenges and requirements of pediatric patients, providing them with specialized care during surgical procedures.

Adult CVOR Tech

They work with adult patients undergoing cardiovascular surgeries. They handle cases related to heart conditions in adults, including coronary artery bypass surgeries and valve replacements.

Cardiovascular Perfusionist

Although not CVOR techs in the traditional sense, perfusionists are essential members of the cardiovascular surgical team. They are responsible for maintaining the patient’s blood circulation and oxygenation during surgery.  

CVOR First Assistant

A CVOR first assistant is a highly trained surgical professional who works alongside the surgeon, providing aid during cardiovascular procedures. They may perform tasks like suturing, tissue manipulation, and providing exposure for the surgeon.

Lead CVOR Tech

They have experience and advanced knowledge in cardiovascular surgery. They often take on supervisory roles, overseeing other CVOR techs, and ensuring that procedures run smoothly.

Educator or Trainer and Research CVOR Tech

Some CVOR techs choose to become educators or trainers. They teach and mentor aspiring CVOR techs, ensuring they receive the necessary education and training for the specialized field of cardiovascular surgery.

Research-oriented CVOR techs work in medical research institutions. They are involved in clinical trials, data collection, and research related to cardiovascular surgery techniques and technologies.

Traveling CVOR Tech

Traveling CVOR techs are professionals who work on a contract basis. They move from one healthcare facility to another, providing their expertise in cardiovascular surgery temporarily.

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-> AST Surgical Tech 

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What do they do? Duties of CVOR Tech

Surgical Tech Requirements  

CVOR Techs are a vital part of the surgical team. They play an indispensable role in cardiovascular surgeries, ensuring that operations in the cardiovascular operating room run seamlessly.

Within the CVOR, they are tasked with a wide range of responsibilities. Let’s discuss them –

Surgical Suite Preparation

They are responsible for preparing the surgical suite, and ensuring that all equipment and instruments are ready, sterilized, and properly arranged for the upcoming procedure.

Intraoperative Support

During surgeries, they work in close collaboration with the surgical team. They assist the surgeon by passing instruments, ensuring a sterile field, and handling any instruments or supplies as needed.

They anticipate the surgeon’s needs, ensuring that instruments and supplies are readily available. They play a critical role in responding to any unexpected situations that may arise during surgery.

Sterile Field Maintenance

They are responsible for monitoring the sterile field throughout the procedure. This involves ensuring that infection control protocols are strictly followed and maintaining a sterile environment for the patient’s safety.

Patient Care

They provide essential assistance in patient care from positioning patients and prepping the surgical site, to ensuring the patient’s comfort throughout the surgery.

Postoperative Tasks

After the surgery, they assist in transferring the patient to the recovery area. They also actively participate in the process of cleaning and restocking the operating room for the next procedure.

Instrument Sterilization

They are responsible for ensuring that all instruments are sterilized and ready for the next procedure thus maintaining a safe and sterile surgical environment.

How to Become a CVOR Tech?

Becoming a Cardiovascular Operating Room Technician is an admirable career choice for those interested in cardiovascular surgery. This specialized role requires a combination of education, training, and dedication.

Here is a step-by-step guide to help you embark on your journey to becoming a CVOR Tech –

Step 1 – Obtain a High School Diploma or Equivalent

Before you begin your path to becoming a CVOR Tech, you’ll need a high school diploma or equivalent. This is the basic educational requirement for entry into most surgical tech programs.

Step 2 – Pursue a Surgical Technology Program

The foundation of a CVOR Tech’s education is often a surgical technology program. These programs are typically offered by technical schools, community colleges, vocational institutions, or online schools which we recommend.  

Read -> Surgical Tech Requirements

Step 3 – Earn Your Certification as a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST)

After completing the program, you are eligible to sit for the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) exam, which is administered by NBSTSA.

Or, you can also choose a certification like – Nationally Certified Surgical Technologist (NCST) which is offered through the American Allied Health (AAH).

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-> Surgical Tech Certification

-> How to Become a Certified Surgical Tech?

Step 4 – Gain Experience as a Surgical Technologist

Start your career as a surgical technologist. This entry-level position allows you to acquire valuable hands-on experience in various surgical specialties, including cardiovascular surgery.

While working in a general operating room, you’ll gain insight into surgical procedures and the importance of maintaining a sterile field.

Step 5 – Specialize in Cardiovascular Surgery

You can specialize in cardiovascular surgery after gaining experience as a surgical technologist. Many healthcare facilities offer on-the-job training and mentoring programs for CVOR Techs.

This specialized training will equip you with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in the cardiovascular operating room.

Step 6 – Pursue Cardiovascular-Specific Additional Certifications

Although not mandatory, obtaining a certification specific to cardiovascular surgery can enhance your credentials as a CVOR Tech.

The American Heart Association (AHA) provides a BLS (Basic Life Support) certification which is designed to promptly recognize life-threatening emergencies, give high-quality chest compressions, deliver appropriate ventilations, and provide early use of an AED (automated external defibrillator).

You may also undertake AHA’s CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) training besides BLS certification. These would help you to leap above the competition.

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Step 7 – Seek Employment Opportunities, Stay Current, and Advance Your Career

Once you’ve completed your education, training, and certification, you can begin your job search as a CVOR Tech.

Also, it’s essential to stay updated with the latest advancements in cardiovascular surgery. Participate in seminars, workshops, and training programs to enhance your skills and knowledge.

The career advancement opportunities may include roles as lead CVOR Tech, educator, or supervisor.

FAQs – CVOR Tech

Surgical Tech vs Surgical Assistant

How Many Years Does it Take to Become a CVOR Tech?

To become a CVOR Tech, you first need to become a CST. For that, you need to enroll in a Surgical Tech program, with your High School completion certificate.

There are the traditional programs but you know, we only recommend you to go after the online Surgical Tech programs.

More On -> How Long Does It Take to Become a Surgical Tech?

Now, you need to ensure that get certified as CST, since it holds more value and is sought after by employers as well. All of these would take you 1 year.

But the real deal has just begun. You need to gain experience, a minimum of 2 years as a CST, and then try to specialize in cardiovascular surgery tech.

Meanwhile, you should also try to get additional specific certifications from AHA. So, considering all the steps, it would take you around 3 to 4 years to become a CVOR Tech.

What Degree Do You Need to Become a CVOR Tech?

There is no specific degree that professionals must hold before becoming a CST or CVOR Tech. There are no such requirements in education or certification as well.

But it is often preferred by employers. So, you should aim to acquire the education and certifications. Just to be on the safer side.   

However, you must hold a high school diploma or GED, complete an online surgical tech program, and get certified. Post specializing in cardiovascular surgery you can then become a CVOR Tech.

You can also choose an AAS degree in Surgical Technology or a BSN degree in any healthcare-related field to be eligible. With associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees, you can often expect higher earning potential and better job prospects.

Is CVOR Tech a Good Career?

There is no Yes or No answer to this. It depends on your interests, career goals, and priorities.

However, we could throw some stats and facts that could help you determine if a CVOR Tech career is suited for you or not.

Consider the Data –

As per the BLS 2022 report, they had an annual average salary of $63,020 Fascinatingly, with experience and expertise the earning potential sky-rocketed as the top 10 percent of CVOR Techs earned around $102,000 annually. 

Also, the projected employment growth rate is set to grow by 4% in this decade. This is huge considering it is a specialization in the vast field of Surgical technologists.

Besides these, you’ll be working closely with healthcare professionals fosters a sense of teamwork and camaraderie. 

You get a quick entry with no degrees.

Lastly, the job fulfillment you get by assisting in surgeries and contributing to patient care can be deeply rewarding.

Now, we leave it up to your good judgment to decide. But, if we are to answer, we believe a career in CVOR Tech, is definitely worth it.


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About the Author
Grant founded OnlineDegree.com with a purpose-driven mission: make college accessible and affordable for everyone. After graduating college with an overwhelming amount of debt, he was determined to change how students embark on their education. He's a frequent speaker and author in higher education, and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, American Express, AOL, MSN, Thrive Global, Reader's Digest, Inside Higher Ed, Evolllution, EducationDive, and nearly 100 radio shows and podcasts.