Should I Become A Cardiac Cath Lab Technician?
A technician in the cardiovascular catheterization lab is focused on assisting in the diagnosis and treatment of patients who suffer from heart and/or blood vessel disease. The catheterization process involves inserting a small tube through one of the patient's arteries to determine whether a blockage exists. However, additional duties may include making appointments, caring for and operating lab equipment, describing procedures to patients and administering stress tests.
|Degree Level||Associate's degree.|
|Degree Field||Cardiovascular technology.|
|Licensure and Certification||Certification through Cardiac Credentialing International.|
|Key Skills||Must be able to operate specialized cardiovascular diagnostic and imaging machinery, strong communication skills, detail-oriented, ability to stand and move equipment.|
|Salary||$54,330 per year (Median for Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians).|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, (May, 2014)
Step 1: Complete an Associate's Degree Program
Cardiac cath lab technicians begin their education and training by attending a 2-year, associate's degree program in cardiovascular technology at a junior or community college. Students who want to assist with a catheterization procedure must concentrate on invasive cardiovascular studies. Courses in the program will cover topics involving invasive cardiovascular procedures, invasive instrumentation, congenial heart disease and cardiovascular pharmacology.
- Acquire certification. Although certification is voluntary, some employers may prefer applicants who have earned certification. The Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) offers appropriate certification testing. Practicing technicians can pursue the Certified Cardiovascular Technician (CCT) designation. To maintain certification, cardio cath lab technicians are required to pursue continuing education coursework.
Step 2: Seek Employment
Employment opportunities for cardiac cath technicians are found within cardiology departments in public and private hospitals. However, additional employment opportunities are typically available in the offices of medical professionals or medical and diagnostic labs. In addition to completing the specific duties, technicians also deal with patients who are facing stressful, life-or-death situations. Employers may prefer technicians with calm and pleasant dispositions because these qualities can help reduce patient anxiety.
Step 3: Advance Your Career By Earning Additional Certifications
Professionals currently working in the field can make themselves even more valuable by gaining specialty certification. The CCI offers the Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS) designation to cath lab technicians who have two years of experience. Technicians who want to advance further in their career can consider pursuing a bachelor's degree and becoming a cardiovascular technologist. Technologist positions carry more responsibility and qualify for supervisory or management positions.