Cardiovascular Technology Schools

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 Created15,700
Projected Job Growth30%
Low Salary$27,810
Average Salary (Median)$53,990
High Salary$82,920
Entry-Level EDUAssociate'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:

  • 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 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

Filter by state :
SchoolCityStateWebsiteTotal grads (2013)
Star Career Academy-CliftonCliftonNew Jerseyhttp://www.starcareer.edu/ 204
Associated Technical College-Los AngelesLos AngelesCaliforniahttp://www.atcla.edu169
Eastwick College-RamseyRamseyNew Jerseyhttp://www.eastwickcollege.edu152
West Coast Ultrasound InstituteBeverly HillsCaliforniahttp://www.wcui.edu/ 104
Grossmont CollegeEl CajonCaliforniahttp://www.grossmont.edu/65
EDIC CollegeCaguasPuerto Ricohttp://www.ediccollege.edu/site/home 62
Sanford-Brown Institute-New YorkNew YorkNew Yorkhttp://www.sanfordbrown.edu/new-york 56
Sanford-Brown Institute-Garden CityGarden CityNew Yorkhttp://www.sanfordbrown.edu/garden-city 46
Santa Fe CollegeGainesvilleFloridahttp://www.sfcollege.edu38
Omega InstitutePennsaukenNew Jerseyhttp://omegainstitute.edu/ 38
Central Florida InstitutePalm HarborFloridahttp://www.cfi.edu38
Sanford-Brown College-AtlantaAtlantaGeorgiahttp://www.sanfordbrown.edu/atlanta 35
Southeast Technical InstituteSioux FallsSouth Dakotahttp://www.southeasttech.edu34
Carnegie InstituteTroyMichiganhttp://www.carnegie-institute.edu34
Dade Medical College-HomesteadHomesteadFloridahttp://dademedical.edu/ 29
Sanford-Brown College-DallasDallasTexashttp://www.sanfordbrown.edu/dallas 28
City Colleges of Chicago-Harry S Truman CollegeChicagoIllinoishttp://ccc.edu/colleges/truman/pages/default.aspx26
Sanford-Brown Institute-TrevoseTrevosePennsylvaniahttp://www.sanfordbrown.edu/trevose 25
Harper CollegePalatineIllinoishttp://www.harpercollege.edu25
Sentara College of Health SciencesChesapeakeVirginiahttp://www.sentara.edu24
Georgia Northwestern Technical CollegeRomeGeorgiahttp://www.gntc.edu22
American Institute of Medical Sciences & EducationPiscatawayNew Jerseyhttps://www.aimseducation.edu/ 22
Sanford-Brown Institute-OrlandoOrlandoFloridahttp://www.sanfordbrown.edu/orlando 19
Northeast State Community CollegeBlountvilleTennesseehttp://www.NortheastState.edu19
Sanford-Brown Institute-TampaTampaFloridahttp://www.SBI-tampa.com17
Milwaukee Area Technical CollegeMilwaukeeWisconsinhttp://www.matc.edu/ 17
Central Piedmont Community CollegeCharlotteNorth Carolinahttp://www.cpcc.edu17
Atenas CollegeManatiPuerto Ricohttp://atenascollege.edu/17
Sanford-Brown College-DearbornDearbornMichiganhttp://www.sanfordbrown.edu/dearborn 16
Orange Coast CollegeCosta MesaCaliforniahttp://www.orangecoastcollege.edu/pages/home.aspx 16
Piedmont Technical CollegeGreenwoodSouth Carolinahttp://www.ptc.edu15
Sanford-Brown Institute-CranstonCranstonRhode Islandhttp://www.sanfordbrown.edu/cranston 14
Rush UniversityChicagoIllinoishttp://www.rushu.rush.edu/sp/Pages/Home.aspx 14
Medical University of South CarolinaCharlestonSouth Carolinahttps://www.musc.edu/ 14
Sanford-Brown College-HoustonHoustonTexashttp://www.sanfordbrown.edu/houston13
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-New OrleansNew OrleansLouisianahttp://www.lsuhsc.edu/13
Midwestern Career CollegeChicagoIllinoishttp://www.mccollege.edu12
Harrisburg Area Community College-HarrisburgHarrisburgPennsylvaniahttp://www.hacc.edu12
Star Career Academy-New YorkNew YorkNew Yorkhttp://www.starcareer.edu/ 11
Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico-PoncePoncePuerto Ricohttp://www.pucpr.edu11
Ponce Paramedical College IncPoncePuerto Ricohttp://www.popac.edu11
Mercy College of OhioToledoOhiohttp://www.mercycollege.edu11
Fortis Institute-NashvilleNashvilleTennesseehttps://www.fortis.edu/ 11
Chattanooga State Community CollegeChattanoogaTennesseehttps://www.chattanoogastate.edu/ 11
Bunker Hill Community CollegeBostonMassachusettshttp://www.bhcc.mass.edu11
Bryan College of Health SciencesLincolnNebraskahttp://www.bryanhealthcollege.edu/bcohs/ 11
Sanford-Brown College-PhoenixPhoenixArizonahttp://www.sanfordbrown.edu/phoenix 10
UEI College-FresnoFresnoCaliforniahttp://www.uei.edu/9
St Cloud Technical and Community CollegeSaint CloudMinnesotahttp://www.sctcc.edu9
South Suburban CollegeSouth HollandIllinoishttp://www.ssc.edu/9
Sanford-Brown College-HillsideHillsideIllinoishttp://www.sanfordbrown.edu/hillside 9
Polk State CollegeWinter HavenFloridahttp://www.polk.edu9
El Centro CollegeDallasTexashttp://www.elcentrocollege.edu/9
Augusta Technical CollegeAugustaGeorgiahttp://www.augustatech.edu9
Pennsylvania College of Health SciencesLancasterPennsylvaniahttp://www.pacollege.edu/ 8
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-ShreveportShreveportLouisianahttp://www.lsuhscshreveport.edu8
Valencia CollegeOrlandoFloridahttp://valenciacollege.edu7
Southern Maine Community CollegeSouth PortlandMainehttp://www.smccME.edu7
Howard Community CollegeColumbiaMarylandhttp://www.howardcc.edu7
Hudson Valley Community CollegeTroyNew Yorkhttps://www.hvcc.edu/ 6
Gwynedd Mercy UniversityGwynedd ValleyPennsylvaniahttp://www.gmc.edu6
Darton State CollegeAlbanyGeorgiahttp://www.darton.edu6
American Institute of Medical TechnologyTulsaOklahomahttp://www.aimt.edu6
Spencerian College-LouisvilleLouisvilleKentuckyhttp://www.spencerian.edu5
Sanford-Brown College-FarmingtonFarmingtonConnecticuthttp://www.sanfordbrown.edu5
Sanford-Brown College-BostonBostonMassachusettshttp://www.sanfordbrown.edu/boston 5
Northwest Mississippi Community CollegeSenatobiaMississippihttp://www.northwestms.edu5
Central Georgia Technical CollegeWarner RobinsGeorgiahttp://www.centralgatech.edu5
Barry UniversityMiamiFloridahttp://www.barry.edu5
Pacific CollegeCosta MesaCaliforniahttp://pacific-college.edu/ 4
Northland Community and Technical CollegeThief River FallsMinnesotahttp://www.northlandcollege.edu4
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New JerseyNewarkNew Jerseyhttp://www.umdnj.edu/3
Sanford-Brown College-Tinley ParkTinley ParkIllinoishttp://www.sanfordbrown.edu/tinley-park 2
Sanford-Brown College-Grand RapidsGrand RapidsMichiganhttp://www.sanfordbrown.edu/grand-rapids 2
Rochester Community and Technical CollegeRochesterMinnesotahttp://www.rctc.edu/2
American Institute of Medical SonographyLas VegasNevadahttps://www.aimseducation.edu/cardiovascular-technologist 2
University of South Carolina-ColumbiaColumbiaSouth Carolinahttp://www.sc.edu/1
New York UniversityNew YorkNew Yorkhttp://www.nyu.edu1
Geneva CollegeBeaver FallsPennsylvaniahttp://www.geneva.edu1
2013 School Data from IPEDS (Sourced in January, 2015)

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.

SchoolCityStateWebsiteTotal grads (2013)
Kirtland Community CollegeRoscommonMichiganhttp://www.kirtland.edu23
Forsyth Technical Community CollegeWinston SalemNorth Carolinahttp://www.forsythtech.edu/8
St Philip's CollegeSan AntonioTexashttp://www.alamo.edu/spc/8
University of IowaIowa CityIowahttp://www.uiowa.edu2
2013 School Data from IPEDS (Sourced in January, 2015)

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).

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.

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).

Career Outlook

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 FactsCardiovascular 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, 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).

Barry Franklin
Barry Franklin Editor

Barry is the Editor-in-Chief of MedicalTechnologySchools.com, operated by educational web publisher Sechel Ventures Partners LLC, which he co-founded. Previously, Barry served as a VP at a Silicon Valley software company. In addition to running editorial operations at Sechel, Barry also serves on the Board of Trustees at a local K-8 school, and graduated from Carnegie Mellon University, where he also met his wife.