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Cardiovascular Technologist Certification

There is no national mandate when it comes to a cardiovascular technologist receiving their certificate or license. Each states is able to set its own standards and requirements. California, for example, does not require cardiovascular technologists or technicians to be licensed, while Florida does. Contact your state’s Department of Health to find out if certification is mandatory.

certified cardiovascular technologist

Regardless requirements in your state, most employers prefer or require job candidates to obtain cardiovascular technologist certification. In any case, having such professional credentials gives you a competitive advantage over those who are not certified. You need to meet the educational or experiential prerequisites in oder to be eligible for the cardiovascular technologist certification.

Note that most employers require cardiovascular technologists to have necessary first aid or lifesaving skills. You will notice that job listings tend to list BCLS, BART or other similar certifications as requirements for employment.

Cardiovascular Technologist Certification Options

Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) and the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) are two examples of the associations that administer licensure or credentials relevant to cardiovascular technology.

Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI)
  • Certified Cardiographic Technician (CCT)
  • Registered Cardiac Sonographer (RCS)
  • Registered Vascular Specialist (RVS)
  • Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS)
American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS)
  • Registered Cardiac Sonographer (RCS)
  • Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT)

Depending on what you specialized in at cardiovascular technologist school or the particular job you are pursuing, you may wish to write exams for more than one credential.

Preparing for the Exam

Before applying for the certification exam, you need to make sure you meet the prerequisites.

ARDMS

The ARDMS has many different options for prerequisites, and you must meet one of them to sit for the exam. For example, one of the prerequisites is completion of a two-year allied health program from an accredited school plus 12 months of full time clinical experience. The ARDMS will also let you know what kind of content will be on the exam and provide practice questions.

To determine if the program you are considering is accredited, use the Find a Program tool provided by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

CCI

The CCI outlines prerequisite options for each type of certification exam. For example, some of the prerequisite options for the RCIS certification exam include completion of cardiovascular technology program from an accredited school OR two years professional experience as an invasive cardiovascular technologist. It will also provide a break down of key topics on the exam and sample questions.

Practice Test

You can pay to take an online practice exam through the ARDMS or for a self-assessment exam through the CCI to help prepare. You can apply online for an ARDMS exam, and for the CCI you must send an application in the mail.

Consider this important advice from the late Tom Whelan, RDMS, RDCS, RVT, FASE regarding the importance of certification and a quality education: “Complete at least a two-year program at an accredited, college-based school is number one. Be sure it is accredited (with the CAAHEP) so you are eligible to sit down and write the Boards (certification exams). Be careful because a lot of private schools don’t tell you they’re not accredited. Take at least an Associate’s degree, if not a Bachelor’s“.

What to Expect from the Cardiovascular Technologist Exam

If you are pursuing your RVT or RCS credential through the ARDMS, you must write two exams: the SPI (Sonography Principles & Instrumentation) exam plus a specialty exam. The specialty exam for the RVT credential focuses on Vascular Technology. For the RCS credential, you have the choice between adult, pediatric or fetal echocardiography exams.

Both the CCI and ARDMS certification exams take place at Pearson VUE test centers. There are over 200 of these centers across the United States and more than 3,000 around the world. The tests are multiple choice and are completed on a computer. Candidates must present two pieces of identification when checking in for their test. They are not allowed to bring any assistive devices inside the exam room, such as a calculator or reference material. However, they may use the calculator on the computer and will be given a whiteboard and marker for rough notes.

Again, you can consult the ARDMS and CCI websites for a detailed breakdown of what key topics are on the cardiovascular technologist certification exams.


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