How to Become a Cardiovascular Technologist: Education, Certification, & Training

Learn how to become a Cardiovascular Technologist and how to get certified to start your cardiovascular tech career.
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Cardiovascular Tech Career Facts


How to Become a Cardiovascular Technologist

Working as a cardiovascular technologist can be an interesting and rewarding career where you can make a big impact on patients’ lives.

According to the BLS, you can complete your cardiovascular technologist education in 2 years by obtaining an associate’s degree and becoming a certified cardiovascular technologist earning a median annual salary of $67,080.

It is an attractive career path for many people who want to enter healthcare and have a stable and secure job future.

So, if you are wondering about the steps to becoming a Cardiovascular Technologist, it’s a fairly straightforward path you’ll have to take, and then you’ll have a well-respected career in an emerging medical field.

The primary path to becoming a Cardiovascular Technologist involves going through a 2-year program so you can earn an Associate Degree in Cardiovascular Technology.

For the first of those two years, you will take more general courses such as biology, and during the second year, the courses will become more specialized and more in line with the specific area of interest you’ve chosen.

You can also pursue a bachelor’s degree called a Bachelor of Science in Cardiovascular Technology. This path would take longer, usually around 4 years to complete this cardiovascular tech degree program.

However, having your bachelor’s would make you more competitive in the job market and eligible for higher salaries.

Cardiovascular Technologist Education

Cardiovascular technologists must have an associate’s degree in diagnostic medical sonography, cardiovascular technology, or a related field.

Cardiovascular Technologist Education Requirements are as follows:
  • Associate Degree in Applied Science with a concentration in Cardiovascular Technology
  • CCI or ARDMS Certificate in Cardiovascular Technology and/or a specialty
  • Must maintain a current and active registration through the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) or the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS)

Cardiovascular Technologist Programs

There are accredited cardiovascular technologist programs offered by both the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Additionally, there are many unaccredited cardiovascular technologist programs available.
For CCI cardiovascular tech certification, you must complete a CHEA accredited cardiovascular technologist program or an unaccredited program with 800+ clinical hours. For ARDMS certification you must complete a CAAHEP accredited cardiovascular technologist program.

Cardiovascular Tech Career Paths

After completing your cardiovascular tech training and education, you can actually embark on your new career.

You’ll have to choose between four possible specialty areas covered in your education.

  1. Cardiology technologists are individuals assisting doctors during catheter implant procedures.
  2. Echocardiography is a specialty involving the use of ultrasound equipment when it’s necessary to view and listen to patients’ hearts.
  3. Electrocardiography is an area that calls for running stress tests, performing EKGs, and providing Holter monitors to patients.
  4. Vascular technologists are specialists who help doctors to evaluate abnormalities in blood flow.

Licensing and Certification

If you wish to become a Cardiovascular Technologist who is licensed and certified, you can earn a certification in echocardiography, cardiac catheterization, vascular ultrasound, or other areas of cardiography specialty.

You’ll need to attend a program that is recognized by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Cardiovascular Technology. It could either be accredited by the CAAHEP, CHEA, or unaccredited. It depends on which certification you’d like to pursue and ultimately the career path you want.

The Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) is a professional organization that offers examinations and educational programs for cardiovascular technicians. CCI was founded in 1968 with the aim of providing credentialing for cardiovascular professionals. Today, CCI offers nine different certifications in both noninvasive and invasive credentialing, making it a comprehensive resource for those working in the field of cardiovascular health.

  • Registered Congenital Cardiac Sonographer (RCCS) – Pediatric or adult Congenital ultrasound is a branch of diagnostic imaging that allows doctors and researchers to study developing organ systems.
  • Registered Cardiac Electrophysiology Specialist (RCES) – If you’re an electrophysiology worker, there are great tools that allow you to measure unusual heart activity using catheters and electrodes.
  • Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS) – Specialty work in cardiac catheterization is becoming more and more important in the medical field. There are various different branches of cardiac care, all with their own important tasks to be carried out. Cardiac catheterization is a type of heart surgery that is used for a variety of different cases depending on the situation.
  • Registered Cardiac Sonographer (RCS) – Specialty using ultrasound to evaluate heart and valve function
  • Registered Phlebology Sonographer (RPhS) – Specialty in performing ultrasounds on veins
  • Registered Vascular Specialist (RVS) – Specialty using ultrasound to image veins and blood vessels (A common use for this is to find and diagnose blood clots.)
  • Certified Cardiographic Technician (CCT) – Specialty administering EKG, Holter monitoring, and stress testing
  • Certified Rhythm Analysis Technician (CRAT) – Specialty monitoring equipment to analyze cardiac rhythms
  • Advanced Cardiac Sonographer (ACS) – For cardiovascular techs who practice at an advanced level

Each CCI certification for cardiovascular techs has different eligibility requirements.

How to Become a Cardiovascular Technologist - cardiovascular tech certification

The ARDMS is a well-known organization that provides certification for medical professionals who use ultrasound technology in their line of work. Founded in 1975, the organization sets standards for patient care, safety, and quality amongst its certified members. The ARDMS is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and offers four credentials, three of which include cardiovascular imaging.

The ARDMS cardiovascular certifications are:

  • Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) – A specialty performing a variety of diagnoses using ultrasound (e.g., fetal echocardiography)
  • Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS) – A specialty performing cardiac sonograms (e.g., adult, pediatric echocardiography)
  • Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT) – Using ultrasound technology, vascular specialists can examine blood vessels with various levels of detail and help both doctors & patients make informed decisions to manage or treat conditions.

Each of the above ARDMS certifications has its own eligibility and testing requirements.

Cardiovascular Technologist Salary

Cardiovascular Tech median annual wages according to the BLS are $67,080. So, working full time you can expect your annual cardiovascular tech salary to be about $67,080 depending on your location and other factors.
In addition to a high salary, cardiovascular tech job growth is expected to grow 14% which is double the national average job growth.
Quick Facts: Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, Including Vascular Technologists
2018 Median Pay$67,080 per year
$32.25 per hour
Typical Entry-Level EducationAssociate’s degree
Work Experience in a Related OccupationNone
On-the-job TrainingNone
Number of Jobs, 2018130,700
Job Outlook, 2018-2814% (Much faster than average)
Employment Change, 2018-2818,000

If you are interested in a rewarding, stable healthcare career as a cardiovascular technologist then click on the blue “Find Schools” button to view programs near you.

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