Vascular Technician Programs in Indiana

The practice of vascular sonography is reaching new heights in Indiana, where some of the most advanced procedures involving the vascular system are improving healthcare outcomes for Hoosiers while transforming the healthcare environment along the way.

Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital, for example, is upholding its status as a national and regional healthcare leader through its cutting-edge heart and vascular program. As one of the highest-volume programs of its kind in the nation, the IU Health Heart & Vascular Care program sees more patients than anywhere else in the state. In fact, IU Health has long been a leader in heart and vascular care—they performed the first private hospital cardiac transplant in the world and developed the technology that was ultimately used to take an ultrasound image of that very heart.

If you have career aspirations of entering the exciting vascular ultrasound field as a vascular technician, you’ll be right at home in Indiana, whether you’re lending your skills to a major healthcare system like IU Health or settling in to one of the many community hospital-based vascular centers throughout the state like Community Health Network’s heart and vascular center with locations in Indianapolis and Anderson.

How to Become a Vascular Technician in Indiana

There are plenty of vascular sonography training opportunities in Indiana: associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and post-degree certificate programs. While the program you choose will depend on your professional and educational background, choosing one that’s accredited through the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) is an important, first step.

All CAAHEP-accredited programs in vascular sonography, whether they’re specific to vascular sonography or in diagnostic medical sonography, radiation sciences, or medical imaging with a concentration/specialization in vascular sonography, automatically qualify graduates to take a national certification exam through any one of the three national certifying bodies and earn national certification in vascular sonography – a standard in the profession.

In addition to ensuring the school has clinical sites that are located in close proximity to you, it’s important to look closely at a program’s success rate when you’re choosing a vascular sonography program:

  • Attrition rate (how many students failed to graduate from the program)
  • Job placement rate (how many graduates were employed in vascular sonography following graduation)
  • National certification pass rate (how many graduates passed a national certification exam)
  • National certification exam preparation: Many schools offer exam prep courses to prepare you for one or more national certification examinations; in many cases, you can take these exams up to 60 days before you graduate.

Just getting started…

If you’re new to the profession and the allied health field in general, an associate’s degree in either vascular sonography or diagnostic medical sonography with a specialization/concentration in vascular imaging will qualify you for national certification and a job as an entry-level vascular technician. Taking about two years to complete and offered through junior colleges, allied health schools, and four-year colleges and universities, an associate’s degree includes classroom, lab, and clinical learning.

Some of the courses found in a vascular sonography program include:

  • Ultrasound physics
  • Abdominal vascular ultrasound procedures
  • Vascular fundamentals

All programs in vascular technology include clinical experiences in a variety of settings that total 1,000-1,250 hours. Just some of the vascular centers in Indiana where you may complete your clinical rotations include:

  • Vascular Center of Southern Indiana Surgery
  • Columbus Regional Health, Southern Indiana Heart & Health
  • Reid Health, Reid Vascular Surgery, Richmond

Already working in sonography or another area of healthcare… 

If you have a background and education in an allied health field, you’ll find a nice selection of bachelor’s degrees in medical imaging, radiation sciences, and diagnostic medical sonography with a concentration in vascular sonography. Most of these programs are aimed at individuals already in an allied health field and therefore have strict admission requirements, including prior allied health training, clinical work experience, and college credits in areas like anatomy and physiology, math, the life sciences, and the physical sciences.

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If you’re already working as a diagnostic medical sonographer, you’ll find plenty of certificate programs in vascular sonography that take just 6-12 months to complete. Most certificate programs only accept students who hold a national credential in diagnostic medical sonography and are currently working the field. These programs are usually offered online and allow working sonographers to complete the clinical requirements of the program at their place of employment.

Earn National Certification in Vascular Sonography

It’s not a requirement to practice, but national certification has become a standard requirement among employers, both in Indiana and across the country, as Medicare in nearly all states requires all non-invasive vascular studies to be performed by a technician who is certified in vascular technology.

There are three, main professional certifications for vascular technicians, all of which recognize the completion of a CAAHEP-accredited program in vascular sonography as meeting the requirements to sit for the appropriate certification examination.

American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS)

The Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT) designation through the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) tests your knowledge in the areas of anatomy and hemodynamics (blood flow) of cerebrovascular, venous, peripheral, and abdominal blood vessels.

To earn the RVT credential, you must take and pass the Sonography Principles & Instrumentation (SPI) exam and the Vascular Technology (VT) exam (you must complete both exams within five years, or you’ll have to retake both exams).

Before you can sit for any ARDMS exam, you must choose a prerequisite that qualifies you to take the exam. Currently, there are five ways to qualify to take both the VT and SPI exams:

  • Prerequisite 1:
    • Graduate from a two-year allied health education program in a patient-care field such as diagnostic medical sonographer, radiologic technologist, respiratory therapist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, and registered nurse; AND
    • Have at least 12 months of full-time clinical ultrasound/vascular experience
  • Prerequisite 2:
    • Graduate from a CAAHEP-accredited program that specifically conducts programmatic accreditation for diagnostic medical sonography/diagnostic cardiac sonography/vascular technology
  • Prerequisite 3A:
    • Graduate from a bachelor’s degree program in any field; AND
    • Have at least 12 months of full-time clinical ultrasound/vascular experience
  • Prerequisite 3B:
    • Graduate from a bachelor’s degree in sonography or vascular technology
  • Prerequisite 4 (has been removed)
  • Prerequisite 5: Must hold one of the following active credentials:
    • RCS, RCCS, or RVS through Cardiovascular Credentialing International
    • Sonography, Vascular Sonography, or Breast Sonography through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT)

Learn more about preparing for and taking an ARRT exam here.

American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARTT)

The American Registry of Radiologic Technicians (ARTT) offers two credentials for vascular technologists: The Vascular Sonography credential and the Vascular Interventional Radiography credential.

The Vascular Sonography (VS) credential serves as the primary designation for radiologic technologists.

To take the VS exam and earn the VS credential, you must first qualify through either the primary eligibility pathway or the post-primary eligible pathway:

  • Primary Eligibility Pathway: Complete an associate’s degree or higher and an ARRT-approved educational program in vascular sonography (may or may not be part of your degree program)
  • Post-Primary Eligibility Pathway:

The ARRT also offers the Vascular Interventional Radiography (VIT) credential, which is designed specifically for vascular interventional radiographers who assist physicians with minimally invasive, image-guided vascular procedures, such as angioplasty, stenting, and more. You must meet the Post-Primary Eligibility pathway to achieve eligibility to take the VIT exam.

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Learn more about registering for, preparing for, and taking an ARRT exam here.

Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI)

Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) offers the Registered Vascular Ultrasound (RVU) designation for technicians working in the area of vascular ultrasound. To qualify to take the RVU examination, you must meet ONE of the following eligibility requirements:

  • Have at least two years of full-time work experience in vascular ultrasound, which includes at least 600 vascular ultrasound studies at the time of application. It is recommended, but not required, for applicants to have experience in:
    • Carotid duplex ultrasound
    • Transcranial doppler
    • Peripheral arterial physiologic
    • Peripheral arterial duplex
    • Venous duplex ultrasound
    • Visceral vascular duplex ultrasound
  • Graduate from a diploma, associate, or bachelor’s program in a health science field, such as cardiovascular technology, ultrasound, radiologic technology, respiratory therapy, or nursing; AND have at least one year of full-time work experience in vascular ultrasound, which includes at least 600 vascular ultrasound studies. It is recommended, but not required, for applicants to have experience in:
    • Carotid duplex ultrasound
    • Transcranial doppler
    • Peripheral arterial physiologic
    • Peripheral arterial duplex
    • Venous duplex ultrasound
    • Visceral vascular duplex ultrasound
  • Graduate from a programmatically accredited program in vascular ultrasound
  • Graduate from a non-programmatically accredited program in vascular ultrasound that includes at least one year of specialty training and at least 800 clinical hours in vascular ultrasound
  • Active ultrasound credential holders with at least six months of full-time work experience in vascular ultrasound, which must include at least 100 vascular ultrasound studies

Pearson VUE Testing Centers

All three national credentialing organizations use Pearson VUE to administer their exams. Pearson VUE has testing sites throughout Indiana in cities such as:

  • Indianapolis
  • Fort Wayne
  • Terre Haute
  • Crown Point

Once the appropriate testing agency has approved your application to sit for the national exam, you’ll schedule your exam with Pearson VUE at a testing center near you.

Salaries and Career Outlook for Vascular Technicians in Indiana

Indiana’s diagnostic medical sonographers, which also include vascular technicians, earned an average salary of $71,350 as of May 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Those in the top 10% in this field took home more than $94,150 during this time.

The number of diagnostic medical sonographers continues to grow in Indiana, too, which represents excellent opportunities for both new and practicing vascular technicians. Between 2019 and 2012, the BLS reports that the number of medical sonographers will increase by 4.3%, rising from 1,170 to 1,220. The BLS project about 90 annual openings during this time due to new job growth, job turnover, and retirements.

Opportunities for Indiana’s Vascular Technicians

The growing field of diagnostic sonography, including vascular sonography, opens up a plethora of professional opportunities for vascular technicians who want to expand their role and assume leadership roles and positions in management, HR, education, and more.

Many vascular technicians with goals of rising through the ranks of their profession earn bachelor’s degrees. These degree programs not only prepare vascular technicians to assume management and leadership-level roles, but they also provide a solid educational foundation on which to pursue a master’s degree.

To this end, a number of schools have developed bachelor degree completion programs in vascular sonography for vascular technicians who are already nationally certified and working in the field. These programs can often be completed entirely online, and all clinical requirements can be completed right where you work for the best in flexibility and convenience.

Membership in a professional association is also a great way to stay connected, find new job opportunities, and find continuing education opportunities to keep your national certification current:


Salary and employment data compiled by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2019. Figures represent accumulated data for all employment sectors in which diagnostic medical sonographers work. BLS salary data represents average and median earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. 

All salary and employment data accessed October 2020.