Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS)

The Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS) examination is for professionals working in the area of cardiac catheterization.

This computer-based exam is administered at Pearson Professional Centers year-round based on availability at the test centers. To locate a test center click here.


EXAM FEE

The fee for the RCIS examination is $365 USD. All exam fees include a $100 USD non-refundable fee for the staff resources required to review and process applications.

TESTING TIME

The Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS) exam is a three-hour, multiple-choice exam that contains 170 questions.

Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS) Qualification Requirements

Applicants are required to meet the following criteria:

  1. Have a high school diploma or general education diploma at the time of application.
  2. Fulfill one (1) of the qualifications of the exam for which you are applying. See the qualifications listed in the tables below.
  3. Provide typed documentation to support the qualification under which you are applying. Required documentation for each qualification is listed below. CCI reserves the right to request additional information.

Qualification Pathway Tool

To determine your eligibility, use the questionnaire tool below. The qualification pathway tool will help you determine if you are eligible. It does not guarantee eligibility but serves as a guide in helping you apply for the exam.

Are you currently enrolled as a student or are you a graduate of a programmatically accredited program in invasive cardiovascular technology?


Download Resources

RCIS235 Qualification Pathway

A graduate of a certificate or degree granting program or post-secondary educational program in a health science (includes, but not limited to, cardiovascular technology, ultrasound, radiologic technology, respiratory therapy, nursing or paramedic/EMT)
AND
One year full-time work experience in invasive cardiovascular technology
AND
600* cardiac diagnostic/interventional procedures in their career which is defined as work experience and/or clinical experience gained during a formal educational program.

In the verification letter(s) the medical director(s) and/or program director(s) must confirm the number of procedures performed during the applicant’s employment and/or during the academic program.

RCIS235 Supporting Documents

Completion certificate and/or educational transcript
AND
Employment Verification Letter
AND
Clinical Experience Letter (only required for applicants submitting verification of the number of procedures completed during a formal educational program)

RCIS4 Qualification Pathway

Applicant must be a graduate of a programmatically accredited program** in invasive cardiovascular technology.

RCIS4 Supporting Documents

Completion certificate and/or educational transcript
AND
Student Verification Letter

Students applying to take examination prior to graduation will be required to submit this documentation

RCIS5 Qualification Pathway

A graduate of a NON-programmatically accredited program in invasive cardiovascular technology which has a minimum of one year of specialty training and includes a minimum of 800 clinical hours* in the specialty in which the examination is being requested.

IMPORTANT: If an individual’s clinical hours were completed after graduation or if the hours are not a requirement for their educational program, then those hours WOULD NOT count toward the 800-hour minimum under qualification RCIS5. All clinical hours must be earned in a setting in which patients are being tested or medically treated.

RCIS5 Supporting Documents

Completion certificate and/or educational transcript
AND
Student Verification Letter
AND
Clinical Verification Letter

Students applying to take examination prior to graduation will be required to submit this documentation

* An accredited program is accredited by an agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), United States Department of Education (USDOE), or Canadian Medical Association (CMA), that specifically conducts programmatic accreditation for cardiovascular technology, diagnostic cardiac sonography, or vascular technology.

** It is CCI’s goal to advance the standards for all cardiovascular professionals. CCI recognizes that the future demands for advanced-level sonographers will result in the need for additional education for sonographers who wish to earn the Advanced Cardiac Sonographer credential. CCI will continue to review the qualification prerequisites for candidates applying for the ACS examination. Through collaboration with professional societies, educators, and the cardiac sonography community CCI will establish minimum educational standards for the Advanced Cardiac Sonographer credentialing program.

Apply for the Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS) Exam

Applying for the exam will take place through your CCI online account.

To prepare, create an online profile by clicking either “CREATE AN ACCOUNT” at the top of this website or if you already have an existing profile, click “SIGN IN.”

Before starting the online submission review each of the tabs in this section and collect the following information which may be needed to complete the application.

  • Personal contact information
  • Training program(s) contact information
  • Supporting documents from your training program(s) in PDF format
  • Employer contact information
  • Supporting documentation from your employer(s) in PDF format
  • Payment information

Once submitted, processing a complete application requires a minimum of 15-20 business days.

Helpful Resources

Pre-Application Policy Pertaining to Criminal Matters

If you have been convicted, pled guilty, or pleaded no contest for an offense that is classified as a misdemeanor or felony, or if you have questions regarding personal criminal matters you may request a pre-application of criminal matters to determine whether you qualify for the CCI credentialing process.

Pre-Application requests must be made by the applicant. Pre-Application requests will not be accepted from any third party, including but not limited to educational programs.

A $50.00 USD fee is required at the time of Pre-Application and this fee is non-refundable.

CCI reserves the right to deny an application, revoke the eligibility of a candidate, or take action against any registrant who has been convicted, pled guilty, or pled nolo contendere (no contest) to an offense that is classified as a misdemeanor or felony which is directly or indirectly related to patient care or public health. Crimes that may directly or indirectly relate to patient care or public health include, but are not limited to: murder; attempted murder; manslaughter; rape; attempted rape; sexual assault; sexual abuse; assault; driving while intoxicated or impaired; controlled substance abuse; and fraudulently altering medical documentation, insurance claims, and medical prescriptions.

Requests for Special Accommodations

CCI will provide, upon approved request, reasonable accommodations including auxiliary aids and services necessary to afford an individual with a documented disability an equal opportunity to participate in all services, programs, and activities. To request special accommodations, please provide an original letter signed by the applicant and an evaluator (qualified psychologist, physician, or other health care professional) who specializes in the stated disability. This letter should include the following:

  1. The specific diagnosed disability
  2. The specific functional limitations
  3. Impact of the functional limitations on the individual’s ability to participate in the testing activity
  4. What accommodations or assistive devices, if any, would cancel or ease the impact of the disability on the candidate’s ability to participate in the examination process

Additional documentation required for accommodations requests:

  1. Verification of the evaluator, psychologist, physician, or health care professional credentials and specialty in the diagnosis of the stated disability.
  2. Examples, when possible, of where special accommodations have been requested and granted. If no prior accommodations have been provided, the evaluator, psychologist, physician, or health care professional should include a detailed explanation as to why no accommodations were given in the past and why accommodations are needed now.

REQUESTS FOR SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS AND THE REQUIRED SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION MUST BE SUBMITTED WITH EACH APPLICATION, INCLUDING RE-EXAMINATIONS. CCI reserves the right to request additional documentation.

Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS) Exam Preparation

The Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS) exam is designed to assess knowledge and skills in current practice. CCI provides an overview of the examination content including knowledge and task list.

The examination content is based on the findings of a Job Task Analysis (JTA), which describes the overall tasks that a Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist is expected to perform on the job and the general areas of knowledge that are needed to perform the tasks. A JTA is performed every 5 years for all nine of the examinations that CCI offers in order to keep exams relevant to current practices in the field.  Examination content was developed by subject matter experts in the cardiovascular profession and ongoing statistical analyses were provided by testing professionals with a doctorate in Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

The lists below describe general areas of knowledge that are needed in order to perform the tasks identified. The task listing illustrates the relative weight or emphasis given to the main content areas on the examination.

Knowledge List

  • Mathematics
    • Calculation/conversion skills
    • Units of measurement
    • Shunt calculations, VOA
  • Medical terminology
  • Cardiovascular anatomy and physiology
  • Cardiovascular pathology and pathophysiology
  • Body mechanics
  • Regulatory and compliance standards
  • Patient care and assessment
  • Normal and abnormal lab values
  • ECG interpretation and analysis
  • Pharmacology and medication administration
  • Hemodynamic waveform recognition
  • Imaging
    • Angiography
    • Radiation safety
    • Operation of radiographic equipment
    • IVUS
    • ICE
  • Sterile technique
  • Universal precautions
  • Diagnostic and interventional procedures
    • Cardiac procedures
    • Vascular procedures
    • Device implants
    • Procedural indications, contraindications, and complications
  • Hemostasis
  • Emergency procedures and equipment

Examination Matrix and Task List

Duties and Tasks

Approx. % of Exam

Duties and Tasks

A. Conducting Pre-Procedural Activities

Approx. % of Exam

10%

Duties and Tasks

  1. Prepare procedure/control room (e.g., set up equipment, radiation safety, sterile technique, QC, QA)
  2. Prepare patient for procedure
  3. Review and validate patient or procedure information (e.g., medical records, lab values, time out, consent, presentation)

Duties and Tasks

B. Conducting Diagnostic Procedures

Approx. % of Exam

42%

Duties and Tasks

  1. Monitor vital signs of patients (e.g., heart rate, rhythm, blood pressure, respiratory rate, O2 saturation, ETCO2)
  2. Assist/perform left heart catheterization (e.g., pressure waveforms, pull-back)
  3. Assist/perform right heart catheterization (e.g., cardiac output, Fick, shunts, PVR, SVR, valve areas, congenital procedures)
  4. Perform 12-Lead ECG analysis (e.g., infarct, bundle branch block, ischemia, tamponade)
  5. Assist in the performance of intra-cardiac imaging procedures (e.g., ICE, identify structures)
  6. Assist in the performance of intra-vasuclar imaging procedures (e.g., IVUS, OCT, identify structures)
  7. Identify structures on cardiac ultrasound images
  8. Assist/perform fractional flow reserve (FFR) and instantaneous fractional reserve (iFR) studies
  9. Ensure radiation safety (e.g., time, distance, shielding, ALARA)
  10. Assist in performing radiographic procedures (e.g., set-up, positioning, operation)
  11. Acquire/interpret radiographic images (e.g., cardiac, peripheral vascular)
  12. Assist/perform with endomyocardial biopsy
  13. Recognize pharmacologic effects of medications (e.g., recognize side effects/adverse reactions, pain management)
  14. Assist in obtaining vascular access (e.g., femoral, radial, brachial, jugular, peripheral)

Duties and Tasks

C. Conducting Interventional Procedures

Approx. % of Exam

33%

Duties and Tasks

  1. Assist in performing device implants (e.g., pacemaker, ICD, CRT devices, loop recorders)
  2. Assist in performing coronary interventions (e.g., balloon angioplasty, stenting)
  3. Assist in performing complex coronary interventions (e.g., CTO, atherectomy, alcohol ablation)
  4. Assist in performing peripheral interventions (e.g., renals, lower extremities, vena cava filters, stenting)
  5. Assist in performing complex peripheral interventions (e.g., carotids, critical limb salvage, atherectomy)
  6. Assist in performing mechanical circulation support (e.g., IABP, LVAD, Impella)
  7. Assist with insertion and operation of transvenous temporary pacemaker
  8. Assist in performing pericardiocentesis
  9. Assist with in performing cardiac thrombectomy (mechanical and aspirational)
  10. Assist with performing peripheral thrombectomy (mechanical and aspirational) (e.g., thrombolysis)
  11. Assist with the insertion of distal protection devices (e.g., cardiac, peripheral)
  12. Assist in performing structural heart therapies (e.g., ASD, PFO, VSD, PDA, LAA)
  13. Assist in performing percutaneous valve interventions (e.g., valvuloplasty, TAVR, annuloplasty, paravalvular leak, valve repair)
  14. Assist in performing endovascular procedures (e.g., aortic aneurysm, aortic dissection, coarctation)

Duties and Tasks

D. Responding to Emergency Procedures and Protocols

Approx. % of Exam

6%

Duties and Tasks

  1. Respond to emergency situations (e.g., STEMI, chest pain, pulmonary edema, cardiogenic shock, limb ischemia, stroke, administer medications, vasovagal, anaphylaxis)
  2. Maintain and operate emergency equipment (e.g., defibrillator, code cart, suction, airway management)

Duties and Tasks

E. Conducting Post-Procedural Activities

Approx. % of Exam

9%

Duties and Tasks

  1. Obtain arterial and venous hemostasis
  2. Manage access site complications (e.g., bleeding, occlusion)
  3. Manage post-procedure complications (e.g., stroke, rhythm)
  4. Provide patient education
  5. Report and transfer of care

Duties and Tasks

TOTAL

Approx. % of Exam

100%

Self-Assessment Exams

There are several options that can assist your preparation, including CCI’s Self-Assessment Examinations which can be found here.

We have prepared online self-assessment exams to help gauge your knowledge of the content areas on the exam and help determine which areas may have strengths and weaknesses. The self-assessment exam contains sample items covering the approximate proportion of subject matter to match the CCI exam matrix.

Self-assessment exams do not provide a report of missed items or specific information or feedback on incorrect responses. Once the self-assessment is complete, you will receive a performance profile that displays the percentage of correct responses in the content areas that make up the examination.

It is important to note that the results of the self-assessment exam do not guarantee or indicate individual success on the exam, nor should the self-assessment serve as the only means for preparing for the examination.

Examination Details

Exam Time

The RCIS examination is a three-hour (2-hour) computer-based test.

Question Types

Question types consist of 170 questions (150 scored and 20 unscored), that contain a mix of traditional and innovative item types.

  1. Traditional multiple-choice – Only one of four possible answers is correct (e.g. A, B, C or D).
  2. Innovative multiple responses – Two or three answers are correct from a list of four to six possible answers.  The test taker will be instructed to select a certain number of correct answers (e.g. “Select two correct responses.”)
  3. 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 necessary, but it must be in the correct location.
  4. Innovative drag and place – The test taker will be instructed to drag a collection of labels (tokens) into specific boxes or areas on an image.  The correct tokens will need to be placed in the correct boxes in order to get the question right. It’s possible that all tokens may not be used.

Scoring

The 20 unscored questions are not identified and are randomly distributed throughout the exam to gather performance data. A candidate’s exam score is based on the responses to the 150-scored questions. One hour and fifty (50) minutes are allotted for answering the exam questions and ten (10) minutes for a pre-exam tutorial and post-exam survey.

References

The textbooks listed below are intended as recommended resources when preparing for the examination. You may have previous or later editions of these or other references available that also present acceptable coverage of the subject matter. Any general text on cardiovascular techniques and evaluation, and cardiac patient care and management may be used. It is not necessary to use all of the texts identified. They are provided as suggestions only. CCI does not endorse or recommend any third-party review course or material.

  1. Moscucci, Mauro. Grossman and Baim’s Cardiac Catheterization, Angiography, and Intervention. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  2. Darovic, Gloria Oblouk. Hemodynamic Monitoring: Invasive and Noninvasive Clinical Application. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Co.
  3. Kern, Morton J., Sorajja, Paul and Lim, Michael. The Cardiac Catheterization Handbook. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.
  4. Watson, Sandy, and Kenneth A. Gorski. Invasive Cardiology: A Manual for Cath Lab Personnel. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning.

Once Approved to Take the RCIS Exam Your 90-day Window Begins!

You will be sent, via email, an Authorization to Test (ATT) within 2 business days after your application has been approved. Consider your 90-day eligibility window to take the examination, now open. The ATT provides instructions and details for scheduling your test date and location.

NEXT STEPS:

  • Once you have received an Authorization to Test (ATT) from CCI, then you may contact Pearson VUE to schedule your exam. Available sites may be viewed at www.pearsonvue.com/cci.
  • CCI’s credentialing examinations are administered year-round at over 230 Pearson Professional Centers (PPC) in the United States and US territories and over 3,000 Pearson VUE Authorized Test Centers (PVTC) internationally. Examination site availability is provided when scheduling your examination with Pearson VUE.

Learn more about our exam process steps here!

If you need to reschedule your examination:

  • Contact Pearson VUE at least two full working days in advance of your scheduled appointment. Call (800) 869-4102, 7:00 am to 7:00 pm, Central Standard Time, Monday – Friday. Outside the U.S.: (952) 681-3789) or www.pearsonvue.com/cci
  • If you do not contact Pearson VUE two working days in advance of your scheduled appointment you cannot reschedule the examination.
  • Click here to review CCI’s exam cancellation/refund policy.

To request an extension or refund:

  • Candidates may request one extension to their originally issued Authorization to Test (ATT). The extension will be for a period of 90 days.
  • To request an extension or refund, sign into your CCI account.
  • Select Cancel Exam.
  • Select which exam to cancel.
  • Select the type of cancellation (extension or refund), enter the cancellation reason, and submit the cancellation for review.

If the exam is not taken by the end of the extension period, the testing fee will be forfeited, and the applicant will need to reapply to take the test. If the applicant has made an appointment with Pearson prior to requesting the extension, the appointment must be canceled before CCI is contacted for an extension or refund.

If you experience the death of an immediate family member, suffer a serious illness or injury which requires hospitalization, or experience another event causing emotional distress, and such events conflict with the administration of your examination, then you may be permitted to reschedule your examination authorization window without penalty, upon approval from CCI. All such instances must be documented in writing and sent to CCI headquarters within three (3) days of the initially scheduled examination date.

Exam Day is Here!

A few tips for our test-takers:

  • Be well-rested, hydrated and be sure to eat a meal or snack
  • Give yourself enough time to get to the test center, and park
  • Bring the proper IDs with you, details below
  • Read all test instructions and candidate rules thoroughly
  • Take your time and read exam questions carefully

Important to note, the only people admitted into the examination room are:

  1. Test Administrators
  2. Authorized Candidates

Identification (ID) Requirements

  • The first and last name that the candidate uses to register must match exactly the first and last name on both of the IDs that are presented on test day.
  • All IDs required must be issued by the country in which the candidate is testing. If the candidate does not have a qualifying primary ID issued from the country they are testing in, an International Travel Passport from their country of citizenship is required, along with a secondary ID.
  • Candidates are required to present two forms of original (no photocopies), valid (unexpired) IDs; one form as a primary ID (government issued with name, recent recognizable photo, and signature) and one form as a secondary ID (with at least a name and signature, or name and recent recognizable photo).

Primary ID:

  • International Travel Passport
  • Driver’s license
  • Military ID (including spouse & dependents)
  • Identification card (national/state/province identity card)
  • Alien registration card (green card, permanent resident, visa)
  • Local language ID (not in Roman characters) – accepted only if issued from the Country the Candidate is testing in

Secondary ID:

  • Any ID containing at least name and signature, or name and recent recognizable photo that meets the above ID requirements

Click here to view Pearson VUE ID Policy

Exam Questions, Comments, and Scoring

The CCT examination is a two-hour, multiple-choice exam that contains 130 questions (110 scored and 20 unscored). One hour and fifty (50) minutes are allotted for answering the exam questions and ten (10) minutes are allotted for a tutorial and post-exam survey.

A candidate’s exam score is based on the responses to the 110-scored questions. The time you have been allotted to take the examination has been determined by taking into consideration the number of scored and un-scored items.

Each question is shown with four possible answers, only one of which is the correct or best answer. Unscored questions are not identified and are randomly distributed throughout the exam. This is standard practice and enables CCI to evaluate questions that may be used in future examinations.

Each CCI examination, including individual items, contains an option where a candidate is allowed to make comments pertaining to the exam item and/or the examination as a whole. These comments are reviewed by the appropriate examination committee throughout the year. While responses to comments are not provided back to you, your comments will be used to help ensure the maintenance of CCI’s high-quality examinations.

Interpreting Results

Here’s what you can expect after taking the exam

  • Exam takers will receive an unofficial score report onsite at the Pearson VUE testing center. This will provide a total score, pass/fail status, and a breakdown report of the percentage of questions answered correctly in each content area.
  • Total scores are reported on a scale that ranges from 0 to 900. Keep in mind that CCI total scaled scores do not equal the number or percentage of questions answered correctly.
  • A total scaled score of 650 is required to pass an exam, and the number of correct answers required to achieve a score of 650 was determined through a standard-setting (or passing score) study. CCI and panels of experts from each specialty periodically review the passing score to assure its validity.
  • You will receive an official results letter, certificate, and wallet card from CCI headquarters approximately 15 business days after taking an exam.

Score Verification

If you would like a score verification, there is a processing fee of $50 USD.

Score verification ensures that the computer counted the correct and incorrect answers appropriately but does not review the questions and answers. In deciding whether to have your score verified, please consider that CCI examinations are scored electronically with a high degree of accuracy. It is therefore unlikely that verification will alter your original score.

  • You must submit a written request for score verification.
  • Please print or type all information and include a check, money order, or credit card processing fee in the amount of $50 USD.
  • Send your request to: CCI at 3739 National Drive, Suite 202, Raleigh, NC 27612

Maintaining Credentials

A credential is active for 9-12 months after passing a CCI exam. After that period credential holders have two types of renewal with CCI:

  • First renewal
  • Second renewal/first triennial

First Renewal Requirements

New credential holders are required to pay their first renewal before the first day of the same quarter that the credential was earned but in the following year. SEE THE CHART BELOW.

For example, if the credential is earned between April 1st and June 30th, your first renewal would be due on or before March 31st of the following year.

After completing the first renewal, credentials are renewed every three years.

For the first renewal, there are no Continuing Education Unit (CEU) requirements, only a renewal fee, currently $165.00 USD, and a signature of compliance with the Code of Ethics must be submitted. Your date of renewal will be noted on your initial wallet card, which will be sent in your welcome packet.

Second Renewal/First Triennial Requirements

Maintaining an “active status” as a CCI credential holder requires the following three steps. Until all three are fulfilled, your credential will not be renewed.

  1. Submit your triennial renewal fees (currently $165.00 USD)
  2. Sign in compliance with the CCI Code of Ethics, which can be downloaded through the button above.
  3. Complete Continuing Education Units (CEUs)* every three years.
    • The total number of CEUs required in a triennial cycle for a Certificate-Level (CCT and CRAT) is sixteen (16) CEUs.
    • The total number of CEUs required in a triennial cycle for an Advanced-Level (ACS) is thirty-six (36) CEUs.
    • The total number of CEUs required in a triennial cycle for a Registry-Level (CES, RCIS, RCS, RCCS, RPhS, and RVS) is thirty-six (36) CEUs.

For the advanced and registry levels, thirty (30) of these CEUs must be cardiovascular-related. The remaining 6 or fewer CEUs can be on any topic as long as it is from one of the approved providers

Wallet cards are provided to successful exam candidates and expire on the date of the first renewal. Triennial wallet cards are provided upon the second renewal of credentials.

When Credential is Earned*

First Renewal End Date**

Second Renewal Cycle (when CEUs are due)

When Credential is Earned*

January 1 to March 31, current year

First Renewal End Date**

December 31, current year

Second Renewal Cycle (when CEUs are due)

December 31, three years after first renewal

When Credential is Earned*

April 1 to June 30, current year

First Renewal End Date**

March 31, following year

Second Renewal Cycle (when CEUs are due)

March 31, three years after first renewal

When Credential is Earned*

July 1 to September 30, current year

First Renewal End Date**

June 30, following year

Second Renewal Cycle (when CEUs are due)

June 30, three years after first renewal

When Credential is Earned*

October 1 to December 31, current year

First Renewal End Date**

September 30, following year

Second Renewal Cycle (when CEUs are due)

September 30, three years after first renewal

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.