Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist - Frequently Asked Questions

What do cardiovascular invasive specialists do?

Cardiovascular invasive specialists assist physicians with cardiac or vascular catheterization procedures in which a small tube (catheter) is guided through a patient's blood vessels. Scope of practice is provided in WAC 246-926-400.

What is cardiac or vascular catheterization?

Cardiac or vascular catheterization procedures can determine if a blockage exists in the blood vessels (typically those that supply the heart muscle) and can help diagnose other problems. Part of a procedure may involve balloon angioplasty or stenting, which treat blockages of blood vessels or heart valves, without the need for surgery.

Cardiovascular invasive specialists also prepare patients for cardiac or vascular catheterization and interventions, and monitor blood pressure and heart rate using electrocardiograph (ECG/EKG) equipment during procedures and the implantation of pacemakers.

I am nationally certified as a cardiovascular invasive specialist, do I need a Washington certification in order to work?

Yes, a license is required to practice in Washington.

I'm certified as a radiologic technologist. Do I have to be certified as a cardiovascular invasive specialist to do cardiac or vascular catheterization?

No. A radiologic technologist can perform cardiac or vascular catheterization procedures. However, in order to refer to yourself as a cardiovascular invasive specialist, you would need to have the cardiovascular invasive specialist certification, which means meeting the education and examination requirements.

Then do I need both certifications?

If you choose to get the cardiovascular invasive specialist certification but also want to be able to apply ionizing radiation as a radiologic technologist, then yes, you have to hold both credentials.

Is my certification valid in other states?

It depends on the state to which you are traveling and whether they require licensure. Check that state's specific laws regarding practicing as a cardiovascular invasive specialist in that state.

Since I can perform fluoroscopy in the cath lab, can I use my skills to perform fluoroscopy in other areas, like the radiology department?

No. The law limits cardiovascular invasive specialists to assisting in cardiac or vascular catheterization. If you want to perform non-catheterization interventional radiology procedures, you need to hold a radiologic technologist certification.

How do I renew my license?

To renew your license, please review the Renewal Process.

How do I apply?

Cardiovascular invasive specialist application forms can be found here.

How much does it cost to apply?

More information about the current fee schedule is on this webpage.

Which educational programs are accepted?

The department accepts cardiovascular invasive specialist educational programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) which uses the standards and criteria established by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Cardiovascular Technology (JRC-CVT).

Is there an exam I need to take?

Yes. To qualify for certification, you have to have taken, and passed, one of the following examinations:

  • Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS) examination through the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI);
  • Registered Electrophysiology Specialist (RCES) examination through CCI;
  • North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology (NASPE) examination through the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS);
  • International Board of Heart Rhythm Examiners (IBHRE) examination (formerly the NASPE) through HRS;
  • Cardiac Interventional Radiographer (RTR-CI) post-primary examination through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT);
  • Vascular Interventional Radiographer (RTR-VI) post-primary examination through the ARRT; or
  • Cardiovascular Interventional Radiographer (RTR-CV) post-primary examination through the ARRT.
How long does the application process take?

The required documentation may take several weeks to receive. After that, routine applications may be issued in as little as 14 days following receipt of all required documentation and information. Applications requiring additional background information or review may take longer.

If I have a student-issued transcript, can I send that with my application?

No. All required documentation must be sent directly from the issuing institution to:

Department of Health
Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist Credentialing
P.O. Box 47877
Olympia, WA 98504-7877

How do personal data questions affect my application?

A "yes" answer to a personal data question or the existence of a criminal conviction does not automatically prohibit the department from issuing a credential. If you answer "yes" on any of the personal data questions or if criminal history appears on a criminal background check, your file will be evaluated on an individual basis. The application now becomes an exception file and the normal application processing time does not apply.

Can I begin practicing once I submit the application?

No. You must have a valid Washington Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist certification issued to you before you may practice.

How do I request a duplicate copy of my license?

Check the fee page to find the correct payment. Send a check or money order payable to:

Washington State Department of Health
Customer Service Office
P.O. Box 1099
Olympia, WA 98507-1099

Please note you are requesting a duplicate credential and remember to include your credential number. If it's within 90 days of your expiration date, you can renew your credential and receive an updated copy.

How do I update my mailing address?

All address change requests must be sent in writing. If you are renewing and have received your renewal notice, please complete the address change request on the back of the card.

If you are not renewing or do not have your renewal card, please complete the Address Change Form. You can fax your change to 360-236-4818 or select the email button on the form once you fill it out. Or print the form out and mail it to the Customer Service Office.

You must have your current mailing address on file. Otherwise, we cannot send you the courtesy renewal reminder.

The U.S. Postal Service will not forward state mail so it's your responsibility to inform the Customer Service Office of an address change.

What do I need to change my name on my license?

Mail or fax a copy of your certified marriage certificate, divorce decree or court order showing your name change to the Customer Service Office. You will not be sent a credential showing your new name until we have processed your next renewal. You may also include this request when submitting your renewal.

If I am active military, how can I request military status?

Military service members retain their credentials during active duty status and can practice throughout the state. We will place you on "active military" status when you provide a copy of your service orders to our Customer Service Office. A renewal card will not be sent to you but you must send current orders to the Customer Service Office each year before your credential expires. We do not charge renewal fees but if you do not submit current orders, your credential expires. Your military status will change to active when you provide a copy of our discharge papers (DD214) and pay the renewal fee. You have a six-month period to update your credential after discharge. If you do not renew within six months after discharge, your credential expires. If you later want to renew, the regular process applies and may include penalties.

What is the process for verifying my Washington cardiovascular invasive specialist certification to another state?

Check the Fee webpage to find the correct payment. Submit a written request and a check or money order along with the certification of licensure fee made payable to:

Department of Health
Customer Service Office
P.O. Box 1099
Olympia, WA 98507-1099

Where can I locate the cardiovascular invasive specialist law?

The laws and rules relating to cardiovascular invasive specialists are here.

How can I keep informed of changes to the cardiovascular invasive specialist program and/or rules?

To get important information about cardiovascular invasive specialists, please select the green "Subscribe" button at the bottom of the page.