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Cardiovascular Technology: Improving Matters of the Heart

National American University is excited about the new Invasive Cardiovascular Technology (CVT) program now offered at the Austin location. As cardiovascular technology continues to advance to meet in-demand healthcare needs, the need for trained and qualified cardiovascular technologists is also on the rise. NAU’s Associate of Applied Science degree prepares students for this fast-growing area of healthcare and provides hands-on experience to assist during diagnostic and therapeutic procedures that examine and repair the heart. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians is expected to grow by 29% in 2010-2020, which is much faster than average for most jobs.[1]

The need for cardiovascular technology
According to the World Health Organization, “cardiovascular diseases are the leading causes of death and disability in the world.”[2]  Although these statistics remain, advances in technology have led to many innovative ways of treating cardiac disease. Some of these advances include less invasive diagnostic and therapeutic procedures that can vastly improve patient care across the globe.

During the first two years of study, NAU students will be trained to understand these minimally invasive studies and how to function in the catheterization lab. They will learn anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, patient care and cath lab techniques to prepare them for the field.

Expertise lends its hand
NAU students will also be provided with the help of a professional in the field. James Shafer, CVT Program Coordinator for NAU-Austin, has been involved with cardiovascular education since 1993, first as a professor of vascular studies then as a program director at two other colleges before coming to NAU in 2011. Over the last 15 years, he has volunteered in credentialing in the field of cardiovascular studies. “It has been my privilege to have had the opportunity to impact cardiac care through education. The field is growing very rapidly as our adult population advances in years making it even more important to maintain a supply of qualified technologists,” he said.

To learn more about the new Invasive Cardiovascular Technology program and others, contact the Austin campus today!

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program and other important information, please visit our website

Contributed byJames J. Shafer, CVT Program Coordinator at NAU-Austin

Published January 2013


[1] Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. (April, 2012). 2012-2013Occupational Outlook: Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians and Vascular Technologists. Retrieved from


[2] World Health Organization (2013). Cardiovascular Disease: Global atlas on cardiovascular disease prevention and control. Retrieved from

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