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Invasive Cardiovascular Technology

The Invasive Cardiovascular Technologist Professional

The invasive cardiovascular technologist is a health care professional who, through the use of specific high-technology equipment and at the direction of a qualified physician, performs procedures on patients leading to the diagnosis and treatment of congenital and acquired heart disease, and peripheral vascular disease.

As a member of the cardiac catheterization team, the cardiovascular technologist is a surgical scrub assistant, monitors the patient's condition, and operates other "CATH Lab." equipment.

The most important "CATH Lab" studies are coronary angiography, percutaneous coronary intervention (where stents, balloons, plaque removal devices, and other treatments to restore blood flow are deployed), right heart catheterization (where blood flow measurements are made), electrophysiology (where irregular heartbeats are created, studied and treated) and pacemaker implantations.

Invasive Cardiovascular Technology - Spokane Community College

Invasive cardiovascular technologists also work with physicians during critical times during heart attacks by restoring blood flow to diseased areas of the heart. They assist with percutaneous revascularization, give clot-dissolving drugs, and operate cardiac assist pumps.

The Cardiovascular Technology Programs (Invasive and Noninvasive) are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (www.caahep.org) upon the recommendation of the Joint Review Committee for Cardiovascular Technology (www.jrccvt.org).

Invasive Cardiovascular Technologist
(a.k.a. Cardiovascular Technologist, Cath Lab Technologist)

Job Description

The cardiovascular technologist (CVT) works in a hospital as a member of a team of medical professionals. They work with patients suspected of having cardiovascular disease. The CVT works to diagnose and treat these various cardiovascular pathologies. They work in a cath. lab with cardiologists. The cath. lab is a specialized X-ray angiography suite where a patient undergoes cardiac diagnostic and interventional procedures. Coronary angiography is a diagnostic procedure where small tubes called catheters are inserted into the blood vessels and advanced to the heart. Contrast is injected through these catheters to illuminate the blood vessels. X-ray motion pictures are taken to create a road map as the contrast flows through the vessels. If there are obstructions they will be visualized. Pressures in the various chambers are also measured. This provides the physician a working diagnosis. The patient is consulted and a treatment plan is formulated. This plan may mean another visit to the lab to treat the disease. This would be called an interventional procedure. The most common type of interventional procedures are designed to open obstructed blood vessels. To treat electrical problems we may implant pacemakers or defibrillators. These procedures require a team of three technologists with the physician. The credentials of the team may vary by region however the roles are consistent in the cath. lab. These are:

  1. Scrub
    Surgically scrubs in, preps and drapes the patient, then assists the physician with equipment. Equipment includes needles, wires, catheters, and medications.
  2. Circulator
    Moves about the lab during the procedure providing equipment to the scrub tech. as needed. Also attends to the needs of the patient as well as managing the IV drugs.
  3. Monitor
    Watches over the vital signs during the procedure. Documents the procedure and creates a medical record. Records the intra cardiac pressures. Is responsible for interdepartmental communications.

There are many other procedures and sub procedures the CVT will be involved with. The roles are similar but the equipment and patients are variable.

Required skills and abilities

  • Fluent in medical terminology
  • Demonstrates the principals of surgical asepsis
  • Attends to details
  • Understands cardiovascular pathophysiology
  • Read a 12 lead EKG
  • Identifies lethal arrhythmias 100% of the time
  • Identify normal versus abnormal intra cardiac and peripheral pressure waveforms
  • Work as a member of a team
  • Practice a code of medical ethics
  • Fluent in English
  • Must have good bilateral finger dexterity, good hearing and vision in low light conditions

Level of training

Is a graduate of an accredited program having earned an AAS in invasive cardiovascular technology. Definitions of an accredited program are established by CAHAAP and the AMA.
Has passed the RCIS exam administered by CCI.

Opportunities for advancement

Cardiovascular technologists can advance to supervisory or management positions within the health care provider organization. Another opportunity is to leave the direct patient care arena and enter the "industry". This means working for a medical manufacturer. These positions might be in sales or clinical applications. With additional training the CVT can become a perfusionist. The perfusionist runs the "Heart-Lung machine' to maintain the patient during cardiac surgery. This requires two more years, but is not offered at SCC. Some CVT's have their own business where they hire themselves out per case. There are other opportunities for creative individuals.

Special Restrictions

As the nature of cardiology is often emergent, living within 30 minutes of your employer is often a requirement. This allows you to respond in a timely manner when you are "on call".

Must be able to lift and move 50 pounds.

Special Licenses

RCIS, which is accepted nationally, is recommended though not required by all institutions.

To contact the accrediting agencies, use the information below.

6 Pine Knoll Dr.
Beverly, MA 01915-1425

These charts reflect the accreditation report for the program. You can use it to compare programs for their strength. We at SCC are above threshold for all of our quality standards. There are currently 56 accredited ICT programs in the USA. See CAAHEP.org for more information.

Career Opportunities

Continued technological advances in cardiac diagnosis and therapy have created steady demands for trained technologists with few training programs available. Placement of graduates in good paying jobs approaches 100 percent. Positions are available in hospitals and medical centers and are plentiful outside of the Spokane area.

Potential Positions:

  • cardiovascular technologist
    (sample job description)
  • hemodynamic monitor technologist
  • cardiac catheterization technologist
  • cardiology technologist
  • cardiopulmonary technologist

Students must have their health science clinical files completed before they attend clinical. Students reentering the programs or entering with advanced standing, must update their files before attending clinical.

All required paperwork is to be turned in to the health science office: Building 9, Room 132.


(Students must bring in a copy; the office is not equipped to make copies for students.)

  1. Medical insurance - bring in a copy of your medical insurance card or purchase medical insurance from the SCC cashier and bring in a copy of your receipt. (If you have SCC medical insurance, it must be updated each quarter and a copy of your receipt must be brought in for your file.)
  2. American Heart Association Healthcare Provider CPR card - bring in a copy of a current CPR card (within the last year). This must be updated annually as long as you are in the program, and a copy must be kept on file.

Originals Required

  1. TB test - bring in documented results of two- step TB test (two separate tests within the last year). Must show results and be signed and dated by a healthcare provider. The TB test must be within the last year and updated annually in your file as long as you are in the program and a copy on file.
  2. DT - Diphtheria/Tetanus vaccination within the last 10 years. Must be signed and dated by a healthcare provider.
  3. MMR - Measles/Mumps/Rubella vaccination or a titer for each of the diseases showing immunity. Must be signed and dated by healthcare provider.
  4. A photo copy of your shot card may be substituted for the above immunizations (TB, DT, MMR).
  5. Physical - current physical - signed and dated by the physician. Use Health Science physical form.
  6. Drug screening - mandatory drug screening through Pathology Associates - results of which will be sent to the Dean by the lab. Students need to turn in a copy of their receipt for their file.
  7. Hepatitis B form - SCC form - completed and turned in for file.
  8. Chicken Pox form - SCC form - completed and turned in for file.
  9. Flu Vaccine form - SCC form - completed and turned in for file.
  10. MultiCare Flu declination form
  11. Clinical Agreement form - SCC form - completed and turned in for file.
  12. National Background Check

Students are advised to keep a copy of their physical, TB test results and immunizations for their own records. Potential employers will be requesting this same documentation and the school is not responsible for providing such documentation.

Students who change programs or are reentering a program with advanced standing: previous files are not considered current and many file requirements will have to be updated.

It is the student's responsibility to maintain their own medical and personal records. You will need them again when you apply for employment in the medical field.

It is in your best interest to obtain a documented shot record from your healthcare provider and keep that record, along with updates, in a safe, accessible place in your personal file. It is also important for you to keep a copy of your CPR card and physical. The Health Science office does not provide copies.

Westside ICT classroom (photo)

In 2003, a partnership was developed with Spokane Community College (SCC) to develop a satellite of its Invasive Cardiovascular Technologist Program in Western Washington. Partnering organizations include:

  • Good Samaritan Community Healthcare
  • MultiCare Health System
  • Pierce College
  • Spokane Community College
  • Tacoma Community College
  • Tacoma-Pierce County Employment and Training Consortium
  • Franciscan Health System
  • Providence Everett Medical Center
  • Providence St. Peter Hospital

The first cohortof students began the Western Washington program in September 2004.

The classroom and learning laboratory for Westside students is located at Tacoma General Hospital, in Tacoma, Washington. Westside students participate in SCC classes via real-time, interactive videoconferencing, and complete on-line learning modules independently. The Westside Lab Instructor teaches skills in the laboratory to Westside students, and students complete almost 800 hours of clinical training at cath labs in Western Washington hospitals. Westside students are required to attend lectures and lab sessions at the Westside classroom (in Tacoma) approximately four to five days per week.

The Western Washington ICT Program accepts up to 14 new students each fall. For general application information, please visit the Westside Application Information tab.

Commencement Bay (photo)
Commencement Bay and the Olympic Mountains

Note: This information is subject to change without notice and does not represent a contract between the college and its students.

  • Anatomy and Physiology - two quarters
    (BIOL& 241/242)

    SCC course description for 241 - Human Anatomy and Physiology 1 (5 cr.): Human body structure and function with emphasis on introductory cytology and histology; the skeletal, muscular and nervous systems; and the sense organs.

    SCC course description for 242 - Human Anatomy and Physiology 2 (5 cr.): Continued study of human body structure and function with emphasis on circulatory, respiratory, digestive, urinary, endocrine and reproductive systems.

  • English Composition
    (ENGL& 101)

    SCC course description: This course develops and sharpens the basic principles of writing college-level essays. Students work on a series of essays to improve their ability to write clear, detailed prose and to use texts to support their claims.

  • General Physics I
    (Physics 114 at TCC, Pierce College, or OC)

    Course description - General Physics (5 cr.): This course is for science and other majors not requiring calculus-level physics. There is an emphasis on mechanics, Newton's Laws of Motion, rotation motion and conservation principles (prerequisite to Physics 114 is Math 114, Math 122, or Physics 111 at Pierce, Math 99 or 115 at TCC).

  • Intermediate Algebra
    (Math 95 at TCC, Math 98 at Pierce College, Math 99 at OC, MATH 99 at SCC)

    SCC course description - Intermediate Algebra (5 cr.): This course covers intermediate algebra skills. Topics include a review of beginning algebra concepts, radicals, inequailties, functions and quadratic functions. Other topics may include exponential and logarithmic functions.

  • General Biology
    (Biology& 100 at TCC, Biology& 160 at Pierce College, OC, and SCC)

    SCC course description - General Biology (5 cr.): An integrated view of the living world including the nature of sciences, evolution of biological organization, composition and organization of living substances, metabolism, control, reproduction, heredity and ecological relationships.

  • Interpersonal Communication
    (CMST& 110 at TCC, CMST& 230 at Pierce College, CMST& 210 at SCC)

    SCC course description: This course provides an opportunity to learn and apply the theory of interpersonal communication. Learning experiences include work with personal growth, verbal and nonverbal communication skills, active listening, stress management, and resolving communication conflicts to develop healthy personal relationships.

All Westside application materials are available online. Students applying for the Westside program must complete an SCC application as well as the supplemental Westside application materials.

Supplemental Application Materials

The following supplemental application materials are required as part of the Westside application:


Please mail completed application packets, to be received by June 30, to the following address:

Western Washington ICT Program
Attn.: W. Scott Corson, Program Coordinator/Lab Instructor
MS 315-O4-ICT
315 Martin Luther King Jr. Way
P.O. Box 5299
Tacoma, WA 98415-0299

The ICT Westside program offers open enrollment; students may apply at any time. The program will admit approximately 15 students per year. To be admitted, students must submit a complete application packet. All application packets will be evaluated for completeness, to confirm that prerequisite course requirements have been met, and whether or not it was received by the application deadline in order to determine which applicants are qualified for admission into the program. Students who are selected for sponsorship by a partnering organization will have the highest priority for admission to the program. If a student has already made sponsorship arrangements with a sponsoring consortium member hospital, the student must include a letter indicating sponsorship commitment from their sponsoring hospital with their application packet in order to be given priority admission status.

Your application packet should include:

  1. Application to Spokane Community College
  2. Medical documents as detailed on the Special Program Requirements page
  3. Recommendation/Reference
  4. Documentation of Experience/Observation in the Healthcare Field
  5. Personal Statement
  6. Official college transcripts documenting completion of required prerequisite classes* (see below)
    • Prerequisite classes documented on applicants' transcripts are equivalent to Spokane Community College classes required for program entry
    • GPA for each prerequisite class taken is 2.5 or higher
    • Advising staff will stamp the date each application packet was received
* A student completing program prerequisites in summer quarter may submit an application packet. The student will need to include documentation that he/she has registered for the prerequisite class(es). However, such applicants will only be considered for admission if program openings are unfilled by applicants who have completed all prerequisite classes. If an applicant who is completing prerequisite class(es) in summer quarter is admitted to the program, that admission is conditional upon completion of the prerequisite class(es) with a 2.5 or higher GPA.

W. Scott Corson
Westside ICT Program Coordinator/Lab Instructor

MultiCare Health System
MS 315-O4-ICT
315 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way
PO Box 5299
Tacoma, WA 98415-0299
Phone: 253-403-3438
Fax: 253-403-3491

Darren Powell
Cardiovascular Technology Program Director

Spokane Community College
MS 2090
1810 North Greene Street
Spokane, WA 99217-5399
Phone: 509-533-7306
Fax: 509-533-8621

Browse additional programs in the CCS Online Catalog.

If you have general questions regarding the Invasive Cardiovascular Technology program, its entry requirements, or the admissions process, please contact one of our friendly, knowledgeable staff members for assistance:

For more information...
For more information:
SCC Admissions Office
(509) 533-8020 or
(800) 248-5644 ext. 8020
All course offerings are subject to change. The college cannot guarantee class offerings, designated times or specific instructors - as funding levels and student interest may affect whether or not an offering is available.

Click on the course title to view course description.

Course Title Credits
ICT 114Introduction to Cardiac Care 3.0
ICT 115Technical Skills - CPR for Health Care Providers 1.0
ICT 116Acute Coronary Syndrome 1.0
ICT 117Cardiovascular Pharm 1 1.0
ICT 124CV Diagnostic Exams 4.0
ICT 125Hemodynamics 2.0
ICT 126Technical Skills/Reading Hemodynamics 1.0
ICT 127Cardiovascular Pharm 2/Intravenous Therapy 1.0
ICT 128Technical Skills/Pharmacology/Intravenous Therapy 1.0
ICT 129Basic Life Support Instructor Course 2.0
ICT 134Cath Lab Procedures 3.0
ICT 135Technical Skills Cath Lab Procedures 1.0
ICT 138Cardiovascular Physiology 4.0
ICT 139Radiation Safety 2.0
ICT 140Surgical Asepsis 1.0
ICT 141Technical Skills/Surgical Asepsis 1.0
ICT 144Patient Care and Assessment 4.0
ICT 145Technical Skills/Cath Lab Boot Camp/Patient Care 4.0
ICT 146Cath Lab Clinical I 6.0
ICT 203Advanced Cardiac Life Support Course 2.0
ICT 204Advanced Cardiac Life Support Technical Skills Lab 1.0
ICT 213Electrophysiology 4.0
ICT 214Cardiac Interventions/PCI 3.0
ICT 215Interventional Radiology 2.0
ICT 216Electrophysiology 1 Introduction to Devices 2.0
ICT 217Technical Skills/PCI/EP/Special Equipment 2.0
ICT 218Cath Lab Clinical II 5.0
ICT 219Cardiopulmonary Pathophysiology 1.0
ICT 224Advanced Practices/Management 5.0
ICT 225Pediatric Cath 1.0
ICT 226Statistics and Research 1.0
ICT 227Electrophysiology 2 Interventions 2.0
ICT 228Technical Skills/Peds/Special Procedures/EP 2.0
ICT 229Cath Lab Clinical III 5.0
ICT 234Board Registry (RCIS) Prep Blackboard 4.0
ICT 235Cath Lab Clinical IV 12.0