What is RCIS Certification? Format of RCIS Examination

Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist is named RCIS. Historically, a physician works with a multi-disciplinary team of professionals to diagnose and treat cardiovascular disease in Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory or Invasive Cardiovascular Laboratory (CCL, ICL). This team is composed of Register Cardiovascular Invasive Specialists (RCIS), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), Registered Nurses (RN), Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT), Radiologic Technologists (RT), Respiratory Therapists (RT), and other allied health professionals at multiple institutions. Each profession brings its own strength and education to CCL/ICL team. Non-physician CCL/ICL professionals maintained by the Society of Invasive Cardiovascular Professionals (SICP) should demonstrate knowledge through the achievement of the Invasive cardiovascular credential RCIS by acquiring RCIS credential. RCIS is a professional credential operated by Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI), has been identified as CCL/ICL credential by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and Society of Cardiac Angiography and Interventions (SCAI).

Eligibility criteria for Cardiovascular Invasive (Cath Lab) Professional Certification Examination

  • All applicants must possess a school diploma.
  • All the applicants must fulfill any one of the qualifications mentioned below in the table for the exam you are applying for.
  • All the applicants must provide typed documentation to support the qualification prerequisite under which you are applying.
Qualification Prerequisite Supporting Documentation

Certificate of graduation degree and

Post-secondary educational program in health science and

At least one-year full time work experience in invasive cardiovascular technology and

600 cardiac diagnostic procedures (clinical experience gained during formal education program.


Completion certificate and

Employment verification letter and

Clinical experience letter


Applicant must be graduate in invasive cardiovascular technology program that is non-programmatically accredited.


Completion certificate and

Student verification letter and

Clinical verification letter


Applicant must be graduate in invasive cardiovascular technology a program that is programmatically accredited.



Completion certificate and

Student verification letter

Format of RCIS Examination

RCIS examination is basically designed to evaluate skills and knowledge to a recent practice. CCL provides an overview of the examination with knowledge and a topic list. It comprises 170 multiple choice questions (20 unscored and 150 scored) contains a mix of innovative and traditional types of items.

  • Traditional multiple-choice– out of four, only one answer is correct (e.g. A, B, C or D).
  • Innovative multiple responses– Two or three answers are correct from a list of four to six possible answers. For example- select two correct responses.
  • Innovative hot spot– The test taker will be instructed to click on one specific area of an image to answer the question.  Only one answer click is required, but it must be an incorrect location.
  • Innovative drag and place– The test taker will be instructed to drag a collection of labels into specific areas on an image.  The correct tokens will need to be placed in the correct areas in order to get the question right.

All examination questions related to the duties and tasks of cardiovascular invasive specialists are listed below. The listing illustrates the weightage given to the main content areas of examination.

  1. Conducting Pre-Procedural Activities (10% of exam)
  • Prepare patient for the procedure.
  • Review and validate procedure information (medical records, lab values, time out, consent, presentation).
  • Prepare control room (set up equipment, QC, QA, sterile technique, and radiation safety).
  1. Conducting Diagnostic Procedures (42% of exam)
  • assist or perform left heart catheterization (pull-back, pressure waveforms).
  • monitor crucial signs in patients (rhythm, heart rate, blood pressure, O2 saturation, respiratory rate, etc.
  • assist or perform right heart catheterization (Fick, cardiac output, shunts, congenital procedures, etc.
  • perform an endomyocardial biopsy.
  • recognize pharmacologic effects of medications (recognize adverse reactions or side effects and, pain management, and many more.
  1. Conducting Interventional Procedures (33% of exam)
  • help in performing device implants (ICD, pacemaker, , loop recorders, CRT devices).
  • help in performing pericardiocentesis.
  • help with performing cardiac thrombectomy.
  • help in performing complex peripheral interventions (critical limb salvage, carotids, and atherectomy).
  • help in performing coronary interventions (stenting, balloon angioplasty)
  • help in performing pericardiocentesis and many more.
  1. Responding to Emergency Procedures and Protocols (6% of exam)
  • Respond to emergency situations (STEMI, chest pain, pulmonary edema, etc).
  • Maintain and operate emergency equipment (suction, airway management, etc.)
  1. Conducting Post-Procedural Activities (9% of exam)
  • Report and transfer of care.
  • Obtain arterial and venous hemostasis.
  • Provide patient education.
  • Manage access site complications (bleeding, occlusion).
  • Manage post-procedure complications (stroke, rhythm).

Time duration of Examination

The time duration of the RCIS examination is three hours. Basically, two hours and fifty minutes are allotted to candidates for answering the exam questions and ten minutes are allotted for pre-exam tutorial and post-exam survey.


Cardiovascular invasive specialists help doctors with invasive heart tests and procedures. Aspiring individuals can find education programs at community colleges, technical schools, teaching hospitals, and 4-year universities summarized below in table to become registered cardiovascular invasive specialists.

University Location Institution type Degree offered
Bunker Hill Community College Boston, MA 2-year, Public Associate’s
Grossmont College El Cajon, CA 2-year, Public Associate’s
City College of San Francisco San Francisco, CA 2-year, Public Certificate
Florida State College at Jacksonville Jacksonville, FL 4-year, primarily associate’s, Public Associate’s
El Centro College Dallas, TX 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate’s
Florida Southwestern State College Fort Myers, FL 4-year, primarily associate’s, Public Associate’s
Harrisburg Area Community College-Harrisburg Harrisburg, PA 2-year, Public Associate’s
Tulsa Community College Tulsa, OK 2-year, Public Associate’s
Santa Fe College Gainesville, FL 4-year, primarily associate’s, Public Associate’s


To summarize the above work, we can conclude that Certificate programs in cardiovascular technology rarely offer an invasive specialization but can still qualify students for RCIS certification. These programs may take two or more years to complete including coursework and clinical experiences.

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