The Cardiovascular Technology (CVT) Program provides an organized curriculum that includes required General Education classes and required core classes for the invasive cardiovascular curriculum. The program graduate is eligible to sit for the Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS) credential.
A cardiovascular technologist is an integral member of the cardiac catheterization team. The primary duties of a cardiovascular technologist include assisting the cardiologist in the diagnosis and treatment of coronary artery disease (CAD) and peripheral artery disease (PAD),and providing patient hemodynamic monitoring and analysis for the patient during these procedures. Students apply hands-on techniques to assist physicians during a variety of procedures in the field of cardiology, including interventional procedures such as angioplasty and stenting, atherectomy, and thrombectomy.
An individual who chooses this career must enjoy working with people and be sensitive to the psychosocial and physical needs of patients and their families. A cardiovascular technologist must be able to follow instructions and work well under pressure as a team member. Rapid thinking and decision making is pertinent to efficient functioning within the cardiac catheterization laboratory. In addition, a cardiovascular technologist must have fluency in human anatomy and physiology, with emphasis on the cardiovascular system.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employment for cardiovascular technologists is expected to grow by approximately 14 percent through 2030 (Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, May 2021 Edition). A graduate from the Cardiovascular Technology Program can seek employment in a hospital cardiac catheterization laboratory, outpatient cardiovascular laboratory, traveling agency, or other industry-related facility in Florida or throughout the nation. An entry-level technologist can expect to make approximately $50,600 annually in Florida. This pay is based on a 40-hour workweek and has the potential to increase with on-call pay and shift differential. The program graduate is eligible to take the national boards administered by Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) for the Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS) designation.
The Cardiovascular Technology Program is a limited-admission health science program accredited through the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) upon the recommendation of the Joint Review Committee on Education in Cardiovascular Technology (JRC-CVT).
Admission to the Cardiovascular Technology Program has several minimum requirements. The student must:
- Gain acceptance to Polk State College as credit-seeking student with all required admission documents received by the Registrar's Office.
- Complete any admission testing (if required) and any required Developmental Education courses.
- Earn an overall GPA of 2.5 (or higher) at the time of application and admission to the program.
- Provide evidence of current American Heart Association (AHA) Healthcare Provider CPR Certification. (Note: No other CPR certification is acceptable.)
- Provide a copy of a valid state driver's license.
- Complete the following prerequisite courses (i.e., prior to program admission) with a grade of C or better:
Note: The program prerequisites and General Education courses taken prior to admission may change. A student who has not yet been admitted to the program may be required to take additional or alternate prerequisites. The Program Director can provide more information about prerequisite requirements.
Additional Program Requirements
The Program Director provides information regarding the following additional admission requirements with a letter to each student once he or she is accepted into the program:
- Completion of a medical physical exam.
- Submission of immunization records and communicable disease screenings with documentation verifying current titer levels for the required immunizations.
- Completion of a ten-panel drug screening.
- Provision of a signed Affidavit of Moral Character attesting that the applicant has not committed specific criminal acts.
- Completion of a federal background check and sexual predator check.
The CVT Program is a limited-admission program accepting one cohort annually. A prospective student who meets the program requirements must submit the program application via Etrieve during the application window (i.e., typically from April 15 through the June 30). The CVT Program application must be submitted electronically by the final deadline of June 30 (no paper applications are accepted).
The CVT Selection Committee reviews all applications and ranks students per the CVT Program Point- Ranking System. The simple point-ranking system assigns points for the following criteria: Overall College GPA, Pre-requisite Courses Completed, General Education Courses Completed, Relevant Healthcare Experience, Previous Education Completed, and American Heart Association (AHA) Healthcare Provider CPR Certification. (Note: No other CPR certification type is acceptable.)
Each applicant is ranked based on the total points accumulated within the above-listed criteria, with the top thirteen applicants selected into the subsequent cohort. Remaining applicants are ranked as alternates according to the total accumulated points. Those not admitted to the program must re-apply during the limited-admission enrollment period in the following year. The program does not add students to a waiting list. An incomplete application that does not contain all required supporting documentation is not reviewed by the CVT Selection Committee. When an application is accepted as complete, the Etrieve submission system automatically generates an acceptance letter (or alternate letter) to the applicant.
Polk State College reserves the right to make changes to the admission criteria as circumstances require. Every reasonable effort is made to communicate changes in the program to potential students.
The cost of the two-year CVT Program is approximately $11,000. This cost includes course fees, books, uniforms, national registry fees, a physical examination, the immunization records tracking system (CastleBranch), the student record-tracking system (Trajecsys), and ACLS Certification. This figure does not include any college preparatory courses or any additional classes the student may enroll in, or the travel expenses to and from clinical rotations.
Following the completion of all requirements for graduation from the Cardiovascular Technology Program, the graduate is eligible to take the national registry exam administered by Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI). After successful completion of this exam, the graduate earns the Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS) credential.
A Radiological Technologist has the option to sit for the registry administered by CCI and the registry administered by the American Registry of Radiological Technologists (ARRT) for Cardiac Intervention (CI). After successful exam completion, the graduate earns additional credentials and is listed as an RT(R) (CI). If the graduate opts to take both registries, he or she can receive the RT(R) (CI), RCIS credential.
Each student is encouraged to add appropriate electives to the program courses as scheduling permits. Electives in areas such as computer technology, human relations, chemistry, microbiology, and other health science fields are pertinent to careers in Cardiovascular Technology. While these courses are not required, they serve to prepare the student to enter the health sciences workforce and act as additional preparation for the national registries.
Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs):
Upon successful completion of the program, the graduate is able to:
PLO 1: Apply basic patient care skills to pre-, intra-, and post-operative procedures in the cardiovascular laboratory.
PLO 2: Demonstrate technical abilities and skills needed to assist physicians during diagnostic and interventional cardiac and peripheral procedures in the catheterization laboratory.
PLO 3: Differentiate between normal versus abnormal pathological processes as these relate to procedures in the cardiovascular laboratory.
PLO 4: Apply critical-thinking skills, to include advanced cardiac life support algorithms, as these apply to the cardiovascular procedures performed in the catheterization laboratory.