Cardiovascular Technology Schools

Having a strong heart to pump blood through one’s veins is crucial to maintaining good health. While heart surgeons may earn deserved glory and prestige for their life-saving, corrective procedures, the often-unheralded work of cardiovascular technologists can uncover important diagnostic details and help inform treatment decisions for patients.

There are a few different paths that interested students can take to enter the field of cardiovascular technology. The quickest route is completing a certification program at a hospital and possibly earning a coveted spot on a medical team. However, some students pursue a bachelor’s degree before seeking work, although that level of education is not required. Typically, students can complete a two-year associate of science (AS) program to join this rapidly growing field.

In 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed that healthcare openings are projected to grow 13 percent between 2021 and 2031. Specifically, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 10 percent increase in openings for cardiovascular technologists and technicians in the same decade, close to the average growth expected for all occupations (7 percent). This equates to 14,700 new positions with median annual salaries of $75,380 (BLS 2022).

With this predicted increase in demand, investing in an accredited cardiovascular technologist school is a potentially lucrative career path leading to fulfilling work in hospitals and medical centers nationwide.

Prospective students should know that the phrase “cardiac sonography” is also known as echocardiography, and schools and organizations interchange these terms. A candidate can be prepared to earn a two-year degree while working alongside physicians and nurses by completing a few semesters of intensive coursework and hands-on clinical practicums.

Cardiovascular Technologist fast facts
Projected Jobs Created14,700
Projected Job Growth10 percent
Average Salary$65,490
Low Salary$33,950
High Salary$102,000
Entry-Level EDU Associate's Degree
Sourced from BLS 2022

Cardiovascular Technology Degree & Certification Programs

To start work as a cardiovascular technologist, some background education is necessary. The most prevalent degree program for this field culminates in an associate of science (AS) or an associate of applied science (AAS) degree and takes two years to complete. However, there is an increasing number of cardiovascular technology schools that offer bachelor of science degrees (BS) in cardiovascular technology.

Schools may also offer specialized training, either at an associate or bachelor’s level, in any of the following subspecialties:

  • Adult Echocardiography

  • Cardiac Electrophysiology

  • Invasive Cardiovascular Technology

  • Noninvasive Vascular Study

  • Pediatric Echocardiography

Admission to any cardiovascular technologist program requires a minimum of a high school diploma or GED, with some programs having course prerequisites or minimum standards of prior academic performance.

Here is a sampling of accredited cardiovascular technologist schools in the United States.

University of South Carolina: For those students with strong academic backgrounds who are ready for the challenge of a four-year university, the program at the University of South Carolina in Columbia is an excellent choice.

The school offers a bachelor of science (BS) degree in cardiovascular technology. Courses in the concentration include cellular and molecular biology, fundamental genetics, human anatomy and physiology, and organic chemistry. All students in this program must complete a clinical internship in an accredited hospital.

  • Location: Columbia, SC
  • Duration: Four years
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $512 per credit (residents); $1,397 per credit (non-residents)

Florida State College at Jacksonville: Located in Jacksonville, Florida State College at Jacksonville offers a 77-credit associate of science (AS) degree in cardiovascular technology. Students in this program learn how to become registered cardiac sonographers and assist physicians during diagnostic and interventional procedures. Examples of these services include surgery and stress echocardiograms.

Courses include non-invasive cardiology and cardiovascular practicum. In addition, this CAAHEP-accredited program can prepare students for invasive and noninvasive cardiovascular technology registry exams.

  • Location: Jacksonville, FL
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
  • Tuition: $8,076 total

Louisiana State University (LSU) Health New Orleans: At their New Orleans healthcare campus, the LSU New Orleans School of Allied Health Professions offers several training programs, including a cardiac and vascular sonography bachelor’s degree as part of the school’s department of cardiopulmonary science.

Applicants to this program must complete at least 60 hours of prerequisite courses with an average GPA of 2.5 or higher. In addition, graduates from this program are eligible to take certification exams offered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) or the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI). From 2018 to 2020, graduates boast a 100 percent first-time pass rate and a 91 percent job placement rate.

  • Location: New Orleans, LA
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
  • Tuition: $375 per credit (residents); $775 per credit (non-residents)

Mayo Clinic: One of the leading non-profit academic medical systems in the U.S., the Mayo Clinic offers a cardiovascular technology internship program with FSC-Jacksonville. Students who have completed the FSC-Jacksonville prerequisites can apply for the six-week internship at the Florida branch of the Mayo Clinic.

No official degree or certification is awarded apart from what the student has already earned as part of their community college experience, but students gain supervised clinical experience. Upon completion of this experience, students are eligible to sit for the Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS) exam offered by CCI.

  • Location: Jacksonville, FL
  • Duration: Six weeks
  • Accreditation: N/A
  • Tuition: N/A; students pay for living accommodations and transportation

Trinity Health of New England: Located in Hartford, Connecticut, Trinity Health of New England’s School of Invasive Cardiovascular Technology offers a one-year certificate program. Students in this program learn the fundamentals of heart and vascular function followed by didactic, lab, and clinical courses at hospitals around Connecticut. Diagnostic and interventional procedures are emphasized, including percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).

Applicants must have a two-year degree in an allied health degree, a bachelor’s degree in health science or non-health science with science course work, be a graduate of a paramedic program, enrolled in an accredited cardiovascular technology program with 100 course credits, or hold a foreign or domestic MD or DO degree.

  • Location: Hartford, CT
  • Duration: One year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
  • Tuition: N/A

Spokane Community College: Located in Spokane in eastern Washington, SPCC offers two accredited tracks for prospective cardiovascular technologists: invasive cardiovascular technology and noninvasive cardiovascular technology/echocardiography. Both programs culminate in an associate of applied science (AAS) degree.

In addition, candidates must have completed mathematics and science prerequisite courses within five years of applying to SPCC. Both tracks take an expected seven quarters to complete, with the final two quarters consisting of clinical practicums.

  • Location: Spokane and Tacoma, WA
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
  • Tuition: $119.13 per credit (residents); $170.92 per credit (non-residents)

SELECT * FROM `mts_online_offline_data` WHERE `page_url` = '/cardiovascular-technologist' AND ( `table_type` = 'Offline' OR `table_type` = 'BOTH (Online + Offline)' ) ORDER BY `grads` DESC

List of Cardiovascular Technologist Schools

Filter by state :
School City State Website grads (2018)
Associated Technical College-Los Angeles Los Angeles California 215
West Coast Ultrasound Institute Beverly Hills California 194
Eastwick College-Ramsey Ramsey New Jersey 104
Eastwick College-Nutley Nutley New Jersey 49
Grossmont College El Cajon California 46
Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico-Ponce Ponce Puerto Rico 40
City College of San Francisco San Francisco California 34
William Rainey Harper College Palatine Illinois 31
Carnegie Institute Troy Michigan 29
Universidad Ana G. Mendez-Cupey Campus San Juan Puerto Rico 28
Medical University of South Carolina Charleston South Carolina 24
American Institute of Medical Sciences & Education Piscataway New Jersey 23
Spokane Community College Spokane Washington 23
Sentara College of Health Sciences Chesapeake Virginia 22
Orange Coast College Costa Mesa California 21
Kirtland Community College Roscommon Michigan 20
Milwaukee Area Technical College Milwaukee Wisconsin 20
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-New Orleans New Orleans Louisiana 18
Polk State College Winter Haven Florida 18
Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City Oklahoma City Oklahoma 17
St Philip's College San Antonio Texas 17
Southeast Technical Institute Sioux Falls South Dakota 17
ATA College Tulsa Oklahoma 14
Harrisburg Area Community College Harrisburg Pennsylvania 14
Howard Community College Columbia Maryland 14
Rush University Chicago Illinois 14
Barry University Miami Florida 13
Florida State College at Jacksonville Jacksonville Florida 13
Northeast State Community College Blountville Tennessee 13
Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences Lancaster Pennsylvania 13
Arkansas Tech University Russellville Arkansas 12
Atenas College Manati Puerto Rico 12
Vatterott College-Dividend Memphis Tennessee 12
University of South Carolina-Columbia Columbia South Carolina 11
Southern Maine Community College South Portland Maine 11
Mercy College of Ohio Toledo Ohio 11
Central Piedmont Community College Charlotte North Carolina 11
Fortis Institute-Nashville Nashville Tennessee 11
Eastern International College-Jersey City Jersey City New Jersey 10
Florida SouthWestern State College Fort Myers Florida 10
Piedmont Technical College Greenwood South Carolina 10
Valencia College Orlando Florida 10
Bunker Hill Community College Boston Massachusetts 9
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-Shreveport Shreveport Louisiana 9
St Cloud Technical and Community College Saint Cloud Minnesota 9
Bryan College of Health Sciences Lincoln Nebraska 8
Hudson Valley Community College Troy New York 8
Inter American University of Puerto Rico-Ponce Mercedita Puerto Rico 7
Augusta Technical College Augusta Georgia 7
El Centro College Dallas Texas 7
Gwinnett Technical College Lawrenceville Georgia 7
South Suburban College South Holland Illinois 7
Molloy College Rockville Centre New York 6
Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science Rochester Minnesota 6
Fletcher Technical Community College Schriever Louisiana 6
Central Georgia Technical College Warner Robins Georgia 5
Eastern International College-Belleville Belleville New Jersey 5
Georgia Northwestern Technical College Rome Georgia 5
Middlesex County College Edison New Jersey 5
Piedmont College Demorest Georgia 5
Tulsa Community College Tulsa Oklahoma 5
National American University-Georgetown Georgetown Texas 4
City College-Hollywood Hollywood Florida 4
Midwestern Career College Chicago Illinois 4
National American University-Austin Austin Texas 3
Rochester Community and Technical College Rochester Minnesota 3
Rutgers University-New Brunswick New Brunswick New Jersey 3
Southern Connecticut State University New Haven Connecticut 3
Northwest Mississippi Community College Senatobia Mississippi 2
University of Nebraska Medical Center Omaha Nebraska 1
2017-2018 School Data from IPEDS (Sourced in November, 2019)

Hybrid & Online Programs

As of 2023, there are no 100 percent online program options in cardiovascular technology that have received accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). This is due to the essentially clinical nature of the discipline and the importance of hands-on training in preparing people for this career.

However, students seeking flexibility in training may still be able to complete some program prerequisites or coursework in an online format. To check the availability of online and hybrid course options, prospective students should contact program representatives.

School City State Website grads (2018)
Santa Fe College Gainesville Florida 39
Medical University of South Carolina Charleston South Carolina 24
Forsyth Technical Community College Winston-Salem North Carolina 8
Weber State University Ogden Utah 3
2017-2018 School Data from IPEDS (Sourced in November, 2019)

Cardiovascular Technology Core & Elective Courses

The Joint Review Committee on Education in Cardiovascular Technology (JRC-CVT) has provided the curriculum guidelines for cardiovascular technologist training. These standards suggest that programs must cover basic units of instruction—including cardiac and vascular knowledge—and clinical practicums to become accredited. The JRC-CVT outlines four steps to become an accredited program:

  • Self-study
  • On-site Evaluation
  • Committee Review and Recommendation
  • CAAHEP Board of Directors

Though there is flexibility in which primary and clinical skills are covered in any given program, the cardiac and vascular units are required for program accreditation.

The JRC-CVT prescribed curriculum does not leave room for elective courses. Still, in the case of a bachelor's degree program, students may be able to choose elective courses to fulfill general education requirements. In addition, students may also select specialized courses focusing on a particular patient population (e.g., pediatrics, echocardiography, other procedure-specific training).

Cardiovascular Technology Program Accreditation

Institutions of higher learning can receive accreditation based on a program or based on their overall offerings. Any school offering cardiovascular technologist training may have one or both types of accreditation.

The primary accrediting body for cardiovascular technologist programs is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). This commission accredits qualifying programs which offer diplomas, certificates, associate's degrees, or bachelor's degrees to cardiovascular technologists.

To obtain accreditation from the CAAHEP, programs must meet the standards adopted by several professional organizations, including the American College of Cardiology, the American College of Radiology, and the American Society of Echocardiography. The accreditation process involves a self-study submitted to the commission and a follow-up site visit by an expert in the desired field of accreditation (e.g., cardiovascular technology). For cardiovascular technology programs, the CAAHEP specifically takes recommendations from the JRC-CVT. These evaluations consider the faculty and facilities available to the program, as well as the course curriculum. For more on the CAAHEP accreditation process, visit their website.

Community colleges and universities may also seek accreditation from other bodies based on school type or region, such as the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) or the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). In addition, interested students may be able to find the local accreditation agency for their school by visiting the website for the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Career Outlook

As stated above, the career outlook for cardiovascular technologists is tremendously positive. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for diagnostic medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including cardiovascular technologists, is expected to grow by 10 percent between 2021 and 2031 (BLS 2022).

Job growth for cardiovascular technologists and technicians is expected to be 5 percent over the same period, the same as the expected growth rate for all occupations (5 percent). From 2021 to 2031, approximately 2,700 cardiovascular technologist and technician jobs will be in demand.

Cardiovascular imaging technology is evolving rapidly, making it possible for hospitals to replace more invasive procedures with those that may be within the purview of cardiovascular technologists. Most cardiovascular technologists are employed at hospitals, but more private physician’s offices are expected to hire these specialists in the coming years as the medical system expands access to outpatient care.

Like so many healthcare professions, demand is due to the increase in the average age of the U.S. population and the expansion of healthcare access. First, blood clots, tumors, and heart disease are common in older adults who statistically need more medical care. Second, from 2010 to 2016, the Affordable Care Act expanded health insurance to more than 20 million previously uninsured Americans, giving more people access to diagnosis and treatment services offered by cardiovascular technologists.

Career Facts Cardiovascular Technologist
Related CareersMedical and Clinical Laboratory Technician, Nuclear Medicine Technologist, Radiologic Technologist, MRI Technologist
Common Job TitlesCardiac Catheterization Laboratory Technologist, Cardiac Catheterization Technician, Cardiac Technician, Cardiology Technician, Cardiopulmonary Technician, Cardiovascular Technician, Cardiovascular Technologist (CVT), Electrocardiogram Technician (EKG Technician), Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS)
Technology & EquipmentHemodynamic Monitors, Thermodilution Cardiac Output Computers, Pacemaker Analyzers, Pacemakers, Physiological Monitoring and Analysis Systems, Image Capturing And Transmission Systems, Image Storage Systems, Scan Converters, Inventory Management Software, Digital Imaging Communications In Medicine, EMR Software, Database Software, Information Systems Integration Software, Cardiac
Sourced from BLS 2022

Cardiovascular Technology Licensing & Certification

Two organizations offer certification for cardiovascular technologists: the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) and Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI).

The American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) offers three certifications related to cardiovascular technology:

  • Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS)
  • Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS)
  • Registered Diagnostic Vascular Technologist (RVT)

Most cardiovascular technologist positions require the RDCS credential, an international credential that verifies a professional has reached the highest academic and professional standards for patient and professional safety. The ARDMS offers three specialty exams with the RDCS credential:

  • Adult Echocardiography
  • Fetal Echocardiography
  • Pediatric Echocardiography

Once applicants are approved, they can take the exam at a Pearson VUE test center.

Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) provides four certification options for cardiovascular technologists, aptly named CCT1, CCT2, and CCT3. The level of certification appropriate for any individual will depend on how much experience they have in the field.

  • CCT1: available to current students and recent graduates of cardiovascular technology programs.
  • CCT2: available to currently employed technologists.
  • CCT3: available to bachelor's degree holders in cardiovascular technology

The exam application fee is $175 and is administered at Pearson Professional Centers year-round.