Cardiac Cath Lab Rad Tech
Cardiac catheterization lab radiologic technicians work at the heart of healthcare, helping many patients keep their tickers in good working order! For short, these healthcare pros are often called “cardiac cath lab techs” or even simply “cath lab techs.” There’s great demand for people to work in this sub-category of radiologic technology. Because of this consistent demand, there are tons of well-paying cath lab tech jobs in locations nationwide. If you’re a current or aspiring cardiac cath lab tech, join us to learn more and explore nationwide job opportunities that could kickstart your exciting new career in travel healthcare.
Career as a Cath Lab Rad Tech
Choosing a career as a travel cardiac cath lab tech is a fabulous way to avoid burnout as a healthcare professional while still sharing your skills with facilities nationwide in need of your help due to the healthcare staffing shortage. With many different locations and facilities to choose from, working as a travel cath lab tech helps you stay dedicated, motivated, fresh, and focused on providing top-level patient care. Travelers also say travel healthcare is also a great way to sharpen your skills, gain experience in a variety of facilities, and build your resume — all while you explore the country and the many career opportunities available to you!
What Does a Cath Lab Rad Tech do?
Cardiac cath lab techs are a specific, highly skilled type of radiologic technologist (often abbreviated as “rad tech”), who perform diagnostic imaging and assist in procedures related to the cardiovascular system — which, simply put, includes the heart and blood vessels.
Cath lab techs use advanced technology that involves inserting the long, narrow catheter tubes into veins and arteries (usually in the arm or leg) to reach them and/or the heart for the purpose of testing or performing minimally invasive cardiovascular procedures. Testing is often performed to evaluate the condition of veins and arteries, as well as the blood flow function in and out of the heart. This type of advanced testing is most commonly an angiogram and is a major benefit for patients who would often otherwise need surgical procedures to even diagnose concerns, much less treat them. With the benefit of this modern imaging, doctors can assess if there are blockages, and if so, learn where and how severe they are, then create the best possible treatment plan for each patient.
Cardiac cath lab techs also partner with cardiologists, cath lab nurses, surgeons, and other healthcare pros to execute minimally invasive procedures with the same state-of-the-art process of catheterization. These start much like the imaging process, with cardiac cath lab techs often responsible for prepping and positioning patients properly and explaining the procedure. Then, with the aid of cath lab technology, the team performs procedures that most commonly include stents, rotoblations, pacemakers, PAD treatments, balloon angioplasties, and other such interventional procedures to improve a patient’s cardiovascular function.
How to Succeed
To succeed working in RT as a cardiac cath lab tech, you must have rock-solid RT and communication skills and a friendly bedside manner, be detail-oriented, excel at teamwork, and be an expert in the operation of advanced cath lab imaging technology.
A cath lab tech’s ultimate goal is to ensure all testing and procedures are safely executed, providing clear diagnostic imaging and successful interventional procedures. Their work is a crucial part of making correct cardiovascular diagnoses and treating a variety of heart-related diseases and conditions.
Where Do Cardiac Cath Lab Techs Work?
Cath lab techs and most rad techs overall are most likely to work in an acute hospital setting. and are typically found in the radiology unit. They often work closely with the ER, oncology, and other units most commonly in need of this type of imaging. Outside of hospitals, CT techs can also work in clinics, government/military facilities, community-based healthcare centers, and other healthcare facilities.
Who Works in Cardiac Cath Lab?
Cath lab techs support and work with a variety of healthcare and administrative professionals in cardiology and radiology units, and other units that partner closely. In the course of their work, cardiac cath lab techs often partner with cardiologists, anesthesiologists, physicians, specialists, surgeons, fellow rad techs and other allied health pros, nurses, radiologists, charge/clinical coordinators, nursing assistants, administrative staff, and social workers/case managers.
How is a Cardiac Cath Lab Tech Different from a Radiologic Technologist?
Simply put, all cath lab techs are RTs but not all RTs are cath lab techs. Radiologic technologists are a group of techs who aid doctors by helping create and share clean diagnostic imaging results so the physicians can then make a proper diagnosis and create a treatment plan for each patient. Cardiac cath lab techs are distinguished because they specialize in cardiovascular health, and also perform both diagnostics and procedures. Other rad techs may each be specialized in their own niches like MRI, CT, X-ray, mammography, sonography, and other such RT areas.
Who’s Treated by Cardiac Cath Lab Techs?
Cath lab techs serve patients with a variety of heart diseases, conditions, and concerns. Many patients encounter cardiac cath lab techs in a diagnostic capacity, like receiving cardiovascular imaging. These patients often undergo such testing due to heart attack-like symptoms such as chest pain, dizziness, overheating, shortness of breath, fatigue, and more. Many other patients are treated by cath lab techs during an interventional cardiovascular procedure. Some of the more common reasons a patient is seen by a cardiac cath lab tech include cardiac catheterization, angioplasty, electrophysiology, stent and pacemaker implantation, rotoblation, and other such procedures.
Quick Cardiac Cath Lab Tech Facts
- Commonly required cardiac cath lab tech education: Associate Degree in Radiologic Technology (AS) and/or Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Technology (BSRT) from an ARRT-recognized, accredited institution, plus passing the American Registry of Radiologic Technologist’’s (ARRT) certification exam.
- Commonly required cardiac cath lab tech certifications: Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT), Basic Life Support (BLS), Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS)
- Commonly preferred cardiac cath lab tech certifications: Certified Respiratory Tech (CRT), Fluoroscopy (Fluoro) , Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)
- Commonly required experience to become a travel cardiac cath lab tech: Facilities typically require a minimum of one to two years of recent, in-hospital experience in order to hire you as a travel cardiac cath lab tech. To protect yourself and preserve patient care, you’ll want the benefit of this experience!
- Average annual cardiac cath lab tech salary range: $65,000-$103,000
Demand is high across the country for travel cardiac cath lab techs! Locations like New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Wyoming, Arizona, Nevada, and Washington reflect high demand with higher average salaries for cath lab techs.