Vascular Technician Training Programs and Requirements

Vascular technicians, also known as diagnostic medical sonographers, perform arterial and venous diagnostic procedures using high frequency sound waves. Physicians use these sonographic images to diagnose and treat vascular conditions, ranging from peripheral artery disease to varicose veins. Most vascular technician jobs require a minimum of an associate's degree.

Training Requirements and Recommendations

Vascular technologists use noninvasive techniques to monitor and record patients' vascular information, such as blood pressure and oxygenation levels. Those pursing a degree in vascular technology should have strong communication and critical thinking skills, in addition to being mechanically inclined and able to follow directions. Most employers seek job applicants with at least an associate's degree in vascular technology.

Formal Education

The majority of aspiring vascular technicians pursue a 2-year degree in the field. However, students who go on to complete a bachelor's degree in vascular technology may find more and better job opportunities.

Associate of Applied Science

An Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Vascular Technology program introduces students to the various equipment used to diagnose and monitor patients who have vascular diseases. Specific topics of study might include acoustical and conceptual physics, vascular and cerebrovascular anatomy, and basic extremity testing. Students also typically complete numerous laboratory and clinical experiences.

Bachelor of Science

Some Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Vascular Technology programs are designed for working professionals who already have experience in the field. Others are much like associate's degree offerings in the field, but with the addition of general education requirements in subjects like humanities and composition. Advanced topics in a 4-year vascular technology program might include pediatric echocardiography, abdominal vascular disease and vascular lab management, as well as clinical application of vascular technology. Students also might be required to complete an internship.

Post-Graduate Certificate

Certificate programs in vascular technology typically last 1-2 semesters and are open to professionals who already hold a bachelor's degree in biology, radiology, registered nursing or a related field. Some programs are even more restrictive, requiring applicants to hold credentialing as a Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS) or Registered General Sonographer (RDMS). Classes might include ultrasound physics and peripheral and cerebral vascular evaluation. Students also typically complete practicum courses.

Job Experience

Employers generally fill vascular technician positions with candidates who have practical, hands-on experience. Most degree programs, whether on the associate's or bachelor's level, offer clinical experience as part of their curriculum. Students also might complete an internship at a local clinic or hospital while earning their degree.

Licenses and Certifications

Licensure is not required for vascular technicians. However, voluntary certification as a Registered Vascular Specialist (RVS) is available through Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI). The American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) also offers voluntary credentialing as a Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT).

Workshops and Seminars

Workshops and seminars for vascular technicians are widely available through colleges and universities and professional organizations. Many are designed to keep technicians current on new technologies and techniques in the field.

Additional Professional Development

CCI and ARDMS require most professionals to continue their education to maintain certification. A variety of continuing education courses in vascular technology are available online and through community colleges and 4-year institutions.

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