How to Become a Cath Lab Tech

A cath lab tech is a medical professional who specializes in diagnostic testing and procedures using imaging equipment. If you’re interested in a career in this field, read on to learn more about what it takes to become a cath lab tech.

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Introduction

A cath lab tech is a medical professional who works in the cath lab, assisting doctors during cardiac catheterization procedures. Cardiac catheterization is a minimally-invasive procedure used to diagnose and treat heart conditions. During the procedure, a long, thin tube called a catheter is inserted into the patient’s artery and threaded through the blood vessels to the heart. The cath lab tech is responsible for ensuring that all of the necessary equipment is set up and sterilized before the procedure begins, and for operating the X-ray machine that helps doctors guide the catheter to the correct location in the heart.

If you are interested in becoming a cath lab tech, there are a few things you need to do. First, you will need to complete an accredited medical assistant or radiology technician program. Once you have completed your training, you will need to obtain certification from either the American Registry of Radiologic Technicians (ARRT) or the American Registry of Certified Professional Coders (ARCP). Finally, you will need to obtain a state license if your state requires it.

What Does a Cath Lab Tech Do?

A cath lab tech, also known as a cardiovascular technologist or technician, is a medical professional who works in the field of cardiology. Cath lab techs work in hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices, assisting doctors and nurses with diagnostic procedures and treatments related to heart disease.

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Cath lab techs typically have an associate’s degree or certificate in cardiovascular technology, although some may have a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as nursing. Most states regulate the practice of cath lab techs, and many require certification by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

The duties of a cath lab tech vary depending on the employer and the specific procedures being performed. In general, cath lab techs prepare patients for procedures, operate x-ray and other imaging equipment, monitor patients during procedures, and assist doctors and nurses with diagnostic tests and treatments.

Education and Training

In order to become a cath lab tech, you will need to complete an accredited educational program. These programs are typically two-year associate’s degree programs, but some may be four-year bachelor’s degree programs. You will take courses in human anatomy and physiology, medical ethics, medical terminology, and basic patient care. You will also participate in clinical rotations in order to gain experience working in a cath lab. Once you have completed your educational program, you will need to obtain certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

Certification

There are multiple ways to become certified as a cath lab tech. In some cases, certification may not be required, but it is always recommended. Certification shows that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to perform the job and can be useful in obtaining employment or advancing your career.

There are two main certifying organizations for cath lab techs: the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) and the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI). To be eligible for certification, you must have completed an accredited radiologic technology program and have passed a national exam. Once you are certified, you will need to renew your certification every few years by completing continuing education credits.

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In addition to these two main certifying organizations, there are also specialty certifications available for those who wish to focus their career on a particular area of interest. For example, the American Society of Radiologic Technologists offers a specialty certification in vascular-interventional radiography. To be eligible for this certification, you must have at least two years of experience working in the field and must pass an exam.

Some states also require licensure in addition to or instead of certification. Licensure requirements vary by state, but usually involve passing an exam and maintaining a certain level of continuing education credits.

If you are interested in becoming a cath lab tech, reach out to your local hospital or medical center to see if they have any openings or internship opportunities. You can also search for job postings online or look into specific training programs that will help you get started in this rewarding career.

Salary and Job Outlook

The median salary for a cath lab tech is $58,410 per year. Job growth for this profession is expected to be about average, at 20% from 2019 to 2029.

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