Cardiovascular Technology

Cardiovascular Technology

If you’re interested in cardiovascular technology, it’s likely that you have a knack for problem-solving — such as identifying an underlying issue or problem — and that you are skilled at interpreting complex data. You are interested in the inner-workings of the heart and have compassion for others. You are also very tech-savvy, great at multi-tasking, and communicate well with teammates. Become a cardiovascular technologist by earning an Associate of Applied Science in Cardiovascular Technology from Central Piedmont.

What You Will Learn

A cardiovascular technologist is an allied health professional who performs highly specialized procedures leading to the diagnosis and treatment of congenital and acquired heart disease. The cardiovascular technologist possesses technical and cognitive skills necessary to provide quality care practices for the evaluation of varied pathophysiologic states. The Central Piedmont cardiovascular technology program offers two learning tracks — cardiac catheterization technologist/cardiovascular specialist (the invasive track) or cardiac sonographer/echocardiography technologist (the non-invasive track). Your curriculum will depend on your selected learning track; we provide you with opportunities to observe and interview experts of each specialization to better guide your decision on which track you choose. All cardiovascular technology students will study human anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, safety and legal customs, operation of technology (such as EKG and oxygen monitors and ultrasound machines) for procedures, and best practices within the industry. You will study heart activity, become familiar with identifying and diagnosing cardiac abnormalities, learn how to develop a patient treatment plan, and learn how to deliver optimal patient care. Upon completion of the program, you will be able to:

  • exercise critical thinking skills and problem solving abilities in the performance of cardiovascular diagnostic and therapeutic services as an entry-level non-invasive or invasive cardiovascular technologist
  • perform all cardiovascular procedures, appropriate to subspecialty, which are assigned by a supervising cardiovascular technologist with a high degree of technical skill, effectiveness, efficiency, and safety as an entry-level invasive or non-invasive cardiovascular technologist
  • effectively communicate with patients, their families, and all members of the healthcare team to assume optimal understanding and to facilitate the delivery of quality patient care

After completing our cardiovascular technology program, you will be immediately eligible to take the cardiovascular technology registry through Cardiovascular Credentialing International or the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography. You will find employment opportunities in hospitals, clinics, and cardiology offices.

Students in this program may be exposed to blood-borne pathogens and infectious diseases through the provision of clinical services. It is for this reason that students are provided instruction on infectious diseases, mechanisms of disease transmission, and infection control procedures to reduce the risk of disease transmission, including those published by national public health agencies, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For more information, please refer to our student OSHA hazardous communication standard (PDF) and student exposure classification bloodborne pathogens (PDF) forms.

Why Choose Central Piedmont

Our program is the only program in North Carolina that is dedicated to a comprehensive cardiac focus, in which you will receive training and a clinical internship in echocardiography and cardiac catheterization within the first year of your studies. With Central Piedmont’s location in the heart of the city of Charlotte, there are many major hospitals, clinics, and medical facilities in which you may complete trainings and clinical rotations — translating to more opportunities for employment upon program completion for you. Our program is accredited by 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) at the associate degree level in the Non-Invasive Cardiology (Adult Echocardiography) concentration and the Invasive Cardiology (Invasive Cardiovascular Technology) concentration.

Real World Education

At Central Piedmont, your education goes beyond what you learn in class. We offer numerous opportunities for you to enhance your learning — and to make friends, network, and pursue your passions — through clubs and organizations, sports, events and activities, leadership opportunities, job experience, volunteer experiences, visual and performing arts, and even international experiences.

The Details

  • Program Options

    Choose from:

    • Associate in Applied Science in cardiovascular Technology - cardiac catheterization technologist/cardiovascular specialist (Invasive)
    • Associate in Applied Science in cardiovascular Technology - cardiac sonographer/echocardiography technologist (Non-Invasive)

    The college catalog details the cardiovascular technology program options currently available at Central Piedmont as well as program eligibility and course requirements. If you would like information on opportunities to transfer associate degree credit to a four-year institution, please visit the Transfer Resource Center.

    Cardiac Catheterization Technologist/Cardiovascular Specialist (Invasive)

    The invasive cardiovascular technologist is a healthcare professional who assists cardiologists in the field of interventional cardiology and electrophysiology (EP) using specialized, high-tech equipment, devices and computers. Invasive specialists assist with locating and opening blockages in arteries in the heart and throughout the body, preventing or stopping heart attacks, and improving quality of life by restoring normal blood flow. Invasive specialists also work in electrophysiology (EP) labs, where problems associated with the heart’s electrical system are analyzed and treated using a variety of methods including ablation therapy, pacemaker, and defibrillator implants. As a member of the cardiac catheterization team, the invasive cardiovascular technologist performs in any one of several roles, such as a surgical scrub assistant, monitoring the patient's condition, or operating specialized equipment and administering medications within the cardiac cath lab. The invasive cardiovascular technologist also works with physicians in the field of interventional cardiology, which attempts to prevent or treat heart attacks by restoring blood flow to diseased areas of the heart. Procedures routinely performed in cardiac catheterization labs include coronary and cardiac angiography, coronary and peripheral angioplasty (using tiny balloons and stents to open clogged arteries), right heart catheterization (measuring the flow of blood and performing cardiac calculations), electrophysiology procedures (where irregular heartbeats are studied and treated), and implanting permanent pacemakers and defibrillators to correct dangerous arrhythmias of the heart. Invasive cardiovascular technician also administer clot dissolving drugs, operate cardiac assist pumps, and assist in other cardiac emergency procedures.

    The invasive cardiovascular technology program incorporates simulation technology into the curriculum in order to immerse students into “real life” situations. A Simbionix ANGIO Mentor® simulator provides hands-on practice of endovascular procedures performed under fluoroscopy in the cath lab in an extensive and complete virtual reality simulated environment. The technology enables realistic visualization of the anatomy and instrument activity. This technology is combined with a high-end haptic system for visual and tactile feedback, which realistically mimics the look and feel of actual endovascular interventions. An advanced, computerized SimMan® 3G manikin is utilized to provide simulation-based education to challenge and test students' clinical and decision-making skills during realistic patient care scenarios. Students can perform bag mask ventilations, resuscitation procedures and administer medications. SimMan® 3G can be remotely controlled to enact planned scenarios replicating various clinical events. The simulation experiences can also be video-recorded for later review by instructor and students. Using Central Piedmont's advanced simulators, Cardiovascular technology students are able to develop high level of professional skills and improve their decision-making abilities through an interactive environment. Through repeated skills and scenario training, students are better prepared to work safely with patients.

    Cardiac Sonographer/Echocardiography Technologist (Non-Invasive)

    The cardiac sonographer is an allied health professional who utilizes ultrasound images of the heart for the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of patients with cardiovascular diseases and to assess cardiovascular anatomy and associated disease abnormalities. The cardiac sonographer, often referred to as an echocardiographer or echo technologist, performs an ultrasonic examination for specific disease states ordered by a referring physician. Strong communication skills and critical thinking skills are required to analyze procedural findings to the cardiologist. The echocardiographer will systemically assess the anatomical and physiological data with evaluation of the pathology during the exam, resulting in a diagnostic echocardiogram for the interpreting physician. The major role of a non-invasive technologist is to apply a strong knowledge base of cardiovascular hemodynamics with a combined ability to obtain high quality ultrasound images of the heart and related structures for a diagnostic examination. The echocardiogram is a technologist-dependent exam and requires a highly skilled operator to obtain imaging data adjusting proper instrumentation of the ultrasound equipment. An echocardiogram is an interactive procedure involving the patient, the ultrasound system, the instrumentation (production of images with applied knowledge) and the interpreting cardiologist. Non-invasive technologists will adapt or perform specific protocols to obtain all the images/data based on the pathology to provide a comprehensive and diagnostic echocardiogram. 

    Several modalities of echocardiography are performed by the technologist such as two-Dimensional and Doppler echocardiograms. Additionally, three-dimensional echocardiography is an emerging imaging modality that is changing the non-invasive field. Other procedures performed in the echocardiography lab are stress or Dobutamine echocardiograms and trans-esophageal echocardiograms. These procedures may also be performed in the cardiac catheterization lab, electrophysiology lab, or the cardiac operating room. Echocardiographers performing 2-D and/or 3-D echocardiograms with advanced Doppler quantitative calculations utilizing specialized high-tech imaging equipment to acquire detailed information to evaluate the heart structure, function and size, blood flow patterns and valvular issues. They also assist with stress echocardiography and cardiovascular intra-operative transesophageal echocardiography. Echocardiographers are the healthcare professionals who are able to work independently in direct contact with the patient. Echocardiographers and physicians work as a team to accurately evaluate and assess for optimal diagnoses and management of care.

    Choosing a Cardiovascular Technology Track

    Pay scales for the two roles are essentially the same. The decision as to which track to choose is a personal decision and one not to be taken lightly. It is recommended that you take the opportunity to observe both fields and talk to people who work in the fields to find out what your desire is. We encourage all prospective applicants to utilize all resources available to them such as this website, professional organizations, program faculty, or any other resource that offers an opportunity to learn more about the field. Another opportunity to aid in making your decision is to take advantage of the "shadow program" at CMC-Main in Charlotte, in which you will be able to talk to cardiovascular technologists about the field and see the procedures to assist with obtaining a clear understanding of the profession prior to admission into the program. While shadwoing, you can go into both a cardiac catheterization lab and an echocardiography lab for several hours and observe the type of work being performed. If you are interested in taking part in this unique opportunity, please contact the “Volunteer Services” department of CMC-Main at 704.355.6188. It is highly recommended that you shadow both departments (non-invasive echocardiography and invasive cardiac cath lab) on separate days and attend both departments in the morning hours (e.g. 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.) so as to see the widest variety of procedures. The Volunteer Services department will be able to provide additional information, answer your questions and provide you with the necessary application.

    Visiting Students

    If you wish to transfer cardiovascular technology course credit back to your home institution, explore how to enroll at Central Piedmont as a visiting student.

    Corporate and Continuing Education

    Central Piedmont's Corporate and Continuing Education provides non-credit, non-degree courses and programs, including job skills, industry-focused career training, certificates, certifications, professional licensure, and personal enrichment. Day, evening, weekend, and online opportunities are available.

    College and Career Readiness

    If you are looking for programs to gain the knowledge or skills necessary to finish a high school degree or to get a job, visit Central Piedmont's College and Career Readiness.

    College Credit for High School Students

    Visit Career and College Promise to learn about opportunities for high school students to earn college credit at Central Piedmont.

  • Cardiovascular Technology Program Requirements and Application

    The cardiovascular technology requires the completion of 76 credit hours completed full-time in five consecutive semesters (two years). The curriculum includes general studies courses as well as program-specific courses. General studies courses can be taken at any time. The first year of the program, you will observe in the echocardiography and cardiac catheterization departments at surrounding hospitals or clinics. In the second year of study during the fall term, you will be assigned to a clinical site for two full days of hands-on skill development in your chosen track. During the spring term of the second year, you are assigned to a clinical site for four full days a week, again, in your chosen track. These clinical rotations assist in preparing you for obtaining the needed skills in order to obtain employment after graduation. For detailed information on cardiovascular technology course and program requirements, visit the Central Piedmont Community College catalog. While awaiting your admissions decision, you are encouraged — but not required — to complete general education courses.

    Please note that students in this field are at a higher risk than the general population for Hepatitis B. If admitted into the program, is to your advantage to start the vaccination process for Hepatitis B as soon as you learn of your acceptance. Medical history and documentation forms will be distributed at the orientation following acceptance. Any applicant who is aware that they are carriers of Hepatitis B or C or are HIV positive are required to advise the State Department of Human Resources regarding ability to have patient contact. Students accepted into this program will be required to read and sign a bloodborne pathogen Form and OSHA's hazard communication form at the mandatory orientation session for new students.

    All applicants are required to undergo a criminal background check (PDF) and drug screen per clinical agency and healthcare system requirements. More information on how to complete these requirements will be provided upon acceptance. If you are refused access to clinical experiences because of a positive criminal background check or drug screen, you will be unable to complete the clinical component of the course. Inability to complete the clinical requirements will result in a failure to progress in the program. Under North Carolina law some people with criminal backgrounds may be eligible for an expunction to remove charges or convictions from their record. If you would like to know whether or not you are eligible, contact Central Piedmont's Single Stop at 704.330.2722, ext. 6435 or email singlestop@cpcc.edu to schedule a legal consultation. To learn more about expunctions, explore the NC Justice Center’s guide.

    Cardiovascular Technology Program Application

    You are advised to apply to the college one to two semesters prior to the indicated cardiovascular technology program application deadline. This will allow your transcripts to be transferred into the Central Piedmont system and meet with the counselors and take related general education courses. The program selects 18 students each fall – 9 non-invasive and 9 invasive students. The selection is made from the applicant pool that year and is based on the TEAS exam results, with those scoring highest on the exam being ranked highest among applicants for that specialty track. The typical combined applicant pool is normally between 35 and 50 people annually.

  • Locations

    Please note that course offerings and availability are subject to change from semester to semester. Always confirm which courses are required to complete this program in the college catalog and confirm where courses are available using Schedule Builder.

  • Course Delivery Methods

    • Classroom/Lab/Clinical
    • Combined (Classroom/Lab/Clinical and Online)

    Please note that course offerings and availability are subject to change from semester to semester. Always confirm which courses are required to complete this program in the college catalog and confirm course delivery methods using Schedule Builder.

  • Cardiovascular Technologoist Careers

    Nationally, cardiovascular technology is a rapidly advancing specialty in high demand. Within a very technically-focused and satisfying scope of practice, cardiovascular technologists are in demand across the nation with the future employment outlook being very good. There are also opportunities to advance into management, medical applications, medical sales, consulting, and to roles requiring travel to medical centers and hospitals around the country. Most of all, it is a career that is extremely rewarding. The opportunity to work one on one with a patient and converse with a cardiologist about the care of the patient is rewarding. You see immediate results of steps taken to better their every day life and can take pride in the fact that you are part of the relationship that makes people's lives better. The camaraderie between the staff and the cardiologists make you an integral part of a patient’s quality well being. Visit Central Piedmont’s Career Coach or the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for detailed cardiovascular technology career requirements and opportunities, salary information, and job openings.

  • Costs and Aid

    Central Piedmont provides real-world, affordable, hands-on education and career training. Learn how much it costs to attend Central Piedmont . Financial aid and scholarships are available.

    Cardiovascular Technology Program Costs

    In addition to regular tuition and fees, there are laboratory fees assigned to courses with a lab/clinical component. Additional costs include textbooks, workbooks, medical fees for a physical exam, and drug screening and immunizations.

  • Attend an Information Session

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  • Admitted Students: Find Your Faculty Advisor

    Students at Central Piedmont have a faculty advisor for each program of study offered. Find your faculty advisor based on your last name:

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