Cardiovascular Technology Schools
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As any member of humanity can testify, 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 work of the often-unheralded cardiovascular technologists can help determine important diagnostic and 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 to complete a certification program at a hospital and possibly earn a coveted spot on a medical team. Some students choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the field before seeking work, although that level of education is not required. More typically, students can complete a two-year associate of science (A.S.) program to join this rapidly growing field.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, 2015) projects that there will be a 22% increase in openings for cardiovascular technologists and technicians between 2014 and 2024, much faster than the average growth expected for all occupations (7%). With this predicted increase in demand, studying at an accredited cardiovascular technologist school may be a strong investment in one’s future. By completing a few semesters of intensive coursework and hands-on clinical practicums, a candidate can be prepared to work alongside physicians and nurses. It is a medical profession on the rise, and completing a program may offer the freedom and flexibility to work in hospitals across the country in this exceptional, fulfilling career.
|Cardiovascular Technologist fast facts|
|Projected Jobs Created||15,700|
|Projected Job Growth||30%|
|Average Salary (Median)||$53,990|
|Entry-Level EDU||Associate's Degree|
|Sourced from BLS, January 2015|
Degree & Certification Programs
In order to start work as a cardiovascular technologist, some background education is necessary. The most prevalent type of degree program for this field culminates in an associate of science (A.S.) or an associate of applied science (A.A.S.) degree and takes two years to complete. However, there is an increasing number of cardiovascular technology schools that offer bachelor of science degrees (B.S.) in cardiovascular technology as well.
Schools may also offer specialized training, either at an associate or bachelor’s level, in any of the following subspecialties:
Invasive Cardiovascular Technology
Noninvasive Vascular Study
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 across the country:
St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center: This hospital, located in Hartford, Connecticut, developed their own Invasive Cardiovascular Technology (CVT) program in order to meet the increasing demand for this particular position. In a one-year intensive training course, students learn the fundamentals of heart and vascular function followed by didactic, lab, and clinical courses that take place at hospitals around Connecticut.
Spokane Community College: Located in the city of 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 (A.A.S.) degree. Interested candidates must have completed mathematics and science prerequisite courses within five years of applying to SPCC. Both tracks also take an expected seven quarters to complete, with the final two quarters consisting of clinical practicums.
Clemson University: For those students with a strong academic background who are ready for the challenge of a four-year university, the program at Clemson in Greenville, South Carolina can be an excellent choice. The school offers baccalaureate programs in both adult echocardiography and noninvasive vascular study. A bachelor’s degree from these highly regarded programs can be hugely beneficial in obtaining a desirable position upon graduation.
Florida State College at Jacksonville: At FSC-Jacksonville, students are able to earn an associate of science (A.S.) degree in cardiovascular technology by completing 83 credit hours. This program typically takes 24 months, beginning in May, and tuition is reduced for local, in-state residents. This school can be an attractive option for those who already live in Florida. This program can prepare students for both the invasive and noninvasive cardiovascular technology registry exams.
Louisiana State University (LSU) Health New Orleans: At their New Orleans healthcare campus, LSU offers a number of allied health training programs, including a cardiac and vascular sonography bachelor’s degree as part of the school’s Department of Cardiopulmonary Science. It should be noted that cardiac sonography is also known echocardiography, which is how many cardiac technology organizations categorize this particular degree specialty. Students must have completed at least 60 hours of prerequisite courses before applying to this program.
Mayo Clinic: One of the leading medical organizations in the U.S., the Mayo Clinic offers a cardiovascular technology internship program in conjunction with Santa Fe Community College (SFCC). Students who have successfully completed SFCC’s prerequisites are able to apply for the six-week internship at the Florida branch of the Mayo Clinic. There is no official degree or certification provided at the completion of this program, apart from what the student has already earned as part of his or her community college experience, but this supervised experience through such a renowned clinic can really shine on a resume.
List of Cardiovascular Technologist Schools
|School||City||State||Website||Total grads (2013)|
|Star Career Academy-Clifton||Clifton||New Jersey||http://www.starcareer.edu/||204|
|Associated Technical College-Los Angeles||Los Angeles||California||http://www.atcla.edu||169|
|Eastwick College-Ramsey||Ramsey||New Jersey||http://www.eastwickcollege.edu||152|
|West Coast Ultrasound Institute||Beverly Hills||California||http://www.wcui.edu/||104|
|Grossmont College||El Cajon||California||http://www.grossmont.edu/||65|
|EDIC College||Caguas||Puerto Rico||http://www.ediccollege.edu/site/home||62|
|Sanford-Brown Institute-New York||New York||New York||http://www.sanfordbrown.edu/new-york||56|
|Sanford-Brown Institute-Garden City||Garden City||New York||http://www.sanfordbrown.edu/garden-city||46|
|Santa Fe College||Gainesville||Florida||http://www.sfcollege.edu||38|
|Omega Institute||Pennsauken||New Jersey||http://omegainstitute.edu/||38|
|Central Florida Institute||Palm Harbor||Florida||http://www.cfi.edu||38|
|Southeast Technical Institute||Sioux Falls||South Dakota||http://www.southeasttech.edu||34|
|Dade Medical College-Homestead||Homestead||Florida||http://dademedical.edu/||29|
|City Colleges of Chicago-Harry S Truman College||Chicago||Illinois||http://ccc.edu/colleges/truman/pages/default.aspx||26|
|Sentara College of Health Sciences||Chesapeake||Virginia||http://www.sentara.edu||24|
|Georgia Northwestern Technical College||Rome||Georgia||http://www.gntc.edu||22|
|American Institute of Medical Sciences & Education||Piscataway||New Jersey||https://www.aimseducation.edu/||22|
|Northeast State Community College||Blountville||Tennessee||http://www.NortheastState.edu||19|
|Milwaukee Area Technical College||Milwaukee||Wisconsin||http://www.matc.edu/||17|
|Central Piedmont Community College||Charlotte||North Carolina||http://www.cpcc.edu||17|
|Atenas College||Manati||Puerto Rico||http://atenascollege.edu/||17|
|Orange Coast College||Costa Mesa||California||http://www.orangecoastcollege.edu/pages/home.aspx||16|
|Piedmont Technical College||Greenwood||South Carolina||http://www.ptc.edu||15|
|Sanford-Brown Institute-Cranston||Cranston||Rhode Island||http://www.sanfordbrown.edu/cranston||14|
|Medical University of South Carolina||Charleston||South Carolina||https://www.musc.edu/||14|
|Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-New Orleans||New Orleans||Louisiana||http://www.lsuhsc.edu/||13|
|Midwestern Career College||Chicago||Illinois||http://www.mccollege.edu||12|
|Harrisburg Area Community College-Harrisburg||Harrisburg||Pennsylvania||http://www.hacc.edu||12|
|Star Career Academy-New York||New York||New York||http://www.starcareer.edu/||11|
|Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico-Ponce||Ponce||Puerto Rico||http://www.pucpr.edu||11|
|Ponce Paramedical College Inc||Ponce||Puerto Rico||http://www.popac.edu||11|
|Mercy College of Ohio||Toledo||Ohio||http://www.mercycollege.edu||11|
|Edison State College||Fort Myers||Florida||https://www.fsw.edu/academics/programs/ascardiotech||11|
|Chattanooga State Community College||Chattanooga||Tennessee||https://www.chattanoogastate.edu/||11|
|Bunker Hill Community College||Boston||Massachusetts||http://www.bhcc.mass.edu||11|
|Bryan College of Health Sciences||Lincoln||Nebraska||http://www.bryanhealthcollege.edu/bcohs/||11|
|St Cloud Technical and Community College||Saint Cloud||Minnesota||http://www.sctcc.edu||9|
|South Suburban College||South Holland||Illinois||http://www.ssc.edu/||9|
|Polk State College||Winter Haven||Florida||http://www.polk.edu||9|
|El Centro College||Dallas||Texas||http://www.elcentrocollege.edu/||9|
|Augusta Technical College||Augusta||Georgia||http://www.augustatech.edu||9|
|Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences||Lancaster||Pennsylvania||http://www.pacollege.edu/||8|
|Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-Shreveport||Shreveport||Louisiana||http://www.lsuhscshreveport.edu||8|
|Southern Maine Community College||South Portland||Maine||http://www.smccME.edu||7|
|Howard Community College||Columbia||Maryland||http://www.howardcc.edu||7|
|Hudson Valley Community College||Troy||New York||https://www.hvcc.edu/||6|
|Gwynedd Mercy University||Gwynedd Valley||Pennsylvania||http://www.gmc.edu||6|
|Darton State College||Albany||Georgia||http://www.darton.edu||6|
|American Institute of Medical Technology||Tulsa||Oklahoma||http://www.aimt.edu||6|
|Northwest Mississippi Community College||Senatobia||Mississippi||http://www.northwestms.edu||5|
|Central Georgia Technical College||Warner Robins||Georgia||http://www.centralgatech.edu||5|
|Pacific College||Costa Mesa||California||http://pacific-college.edu/||4|
|Northland Community and Technical College||Thief River Falls||Minnesota||http://www.northlandcollege.edu||4|
|University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey||Newark||New Jersey||http://www.umdnj.edu/||3|
|Sanford-Brown College-Tinley Park||Tinley Park||Illinois||http://www.sanfordbrown.edu/tinley-park||2|
|Sanford-Brown College-Grand Rapids||Grand Rapids||Michigan||http://www.sanfordbrown.edu/grand-rapids||2|
|Rochester Community and Technical College||Rochester||Minnesota||http://www.rctc.edu/||2|
|American Institute of Medical Sonography||Las Vegas||Nevada||https://www.aimseducation.edu/cardiovascular-technologist||2|
|University of South Carolina-Columbia||Columbia||South Carolina||http://www.sc.edu/||1|
|New York University||New York||New York||http://www.nyu.edu||1|
|Geneva College||Beaver Falls||Pennsylvania||http://www.geneva.edu||1|
Hybrid & Online Programs
As of 2015, there are no 100% 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. Students seeking flexibility in training may still be able to complete some program prerequisites or coursework in an online format. Contact program representatives or check websites for the availability of online and hybrid course options.
|School||City||State||Website||Total grads (2013)|
|Kirtland Community College||Roscommon||Michigan||http://www.kirtland.edu||23|
|Forsyth Technical Community College||Winston Salem||North Carolina||http://www.forsythtech.edu/||8|
|St Philip's College||San Antonio||Texas||http://www.alamo.edu/spc/||8|
|University of Iowa||Iowa City||Iowa||http://www.uiowa.edu||2|
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 in order to become accredited, programs must cover basic units of instruction—including cardiac and vascular knowledge—and clinical practicums. The JRC-CVT also provides examples of how these units of instruction should be organized in an accredited program:
Basic Instruction: introduction to patient care techniques and the hospital environment, basic statistics and general mathematics, human anatomy, basic pharmacology pertaining to cardiovascular drugs, and basic medical electronics and instrumentation
Cardiac and Vascular Units: invasive and noninvasive cardiology, and cardiac electrophysiology
Clinical Units: cardiac and vascular pathophysiology, patient psychology, CPR, clinical cardiac and vascular medicine and surgery, medical-legal ethics
Though there is flexibility in which basic 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, but in the case of a bachelor's degree program, students may be able to choose elective courses to fulfill general education requirements. Students may also choose specialty courses focusing on a particular patient population (e.g., pediatrics, echocardiography, other procedure-specific training).
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.
One of the main accrediting bodies 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. In order to obtain accreditation from the CAAHEP, programs must meet the standards adopted by a number of 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 take into consideration 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). 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).
The career outlook for cardiovascular technologists is, in short, tremendously positive. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for diagnostic medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including vascular technologists, is expected to grow by 24% between 2014 and 2024 (BLS, 2015). Job growth for cardiovascular technologists and technicians specifically is expected to be 22% over the same period, which is more than triple the expected growth rate for all occupations (7%), making this career one of the fastest growing in the country. From 2014 to 2024 more than 11,500 cardiovascular technologist and technician jobs in the field are expected to be added.
Cardiovascular imaging technology is evolving at a rapid pace, making it possible for hospitals to replace more invasive procedures with those that may be within the purview of cardiovascular technologists. The majority of cardiovascular technologists are employed at hospitals, but more private physician’s offices are expected to hire these specialists in coming years as the medical system expands access to outpatient care.
Further, like so many healthcare professions, demand is both due to the increase in the average age of the U.S. population as well as the myriad health problems that so many Americans face. For cardiovascular technologists, issues such as blood clots, tumors, and heart disease which are common in older adults are those that require their expertise. Further, the Affordable Coverage Act has allowed many more Americans to become covered by health insurance, giving them access to diagnosis and treatment that may require the assistance of a cardiovascular technologist.
|Career Facts||Cardiovascular Technologist|
|Related Careers||Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technician, Nuclear Medicine Technologist, Radiologic Technologist, MRI Technologist|
|Common Job Titles||Cardiac 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 & Equipment||Hemodynamic 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, Infomration Systeme Integration Software, Cardiac|
|Sourced from BLS, January 2015|
Licensing & Certification
Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) provides four certification options for cardiovascular technologists, aptly named CCT1, CCT2, CCT3 and CCT4. The level of certification appropriate for any individual will depend on how much experience they have in the field. CCT1 is available to students as wella s recent graduates of cardiovascular technology programs. Those students who complete a bachelor's degree in cardiovascular technology are eligible to apply for CCT3 certification. CCT2 is available to currently employed technologists while CCT4 is for those who volunteer in the field. While credentials from CCI may be required for certain positions, they are not legally mandated by state or federal governments. Before seeking work as a cardiovascular technologist in any state, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with their specific licensing requirements, if any. A national certification exam is also offered by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS).