The Cardiac Cath Lab RCIS - The Gold Standard Cardiovascular Credential

The cardiac cath lab is never settled and things are always changing on the fly.  Whether that’s in the middle of a coronary diagnostic that changes to an emergency interventional or larger trends in job requirements or credential standards.

Why Work with Phoenix?

Unlike other staffing agencies, at Phoenix we tell you the bill rate of your assignment. On top of that, we don't profit on your extra hard work (OT, CBOT, DT, On Call Hours) - we only cover our costs of Worker's Comp and taxes.

Over the last 5 years, the Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS) has quickly grown into the gold standard for Cath Lab certification

It can be held by nurses and technologists, both those with fluoro and those without. Radiologic Technologists have the option of pursuing the Cardiac Intervention or the Vascular Intervention credential from the ARRT, however that is limited to Radiologic Technologists and excludes cath lab techs that do not have their fluoro license.

The RCIS is offered monthly by the Cardiac Credentialing Institute and the exam fee is much lower ($350) than some other industry testing options (which can be offered only once per year at a cost over $1000). From a travel career perspective, the RCIS (and the electrophysiology sister credential RCES) are the highest credential you’ll need to set your profile apart from the rest.

We have the best Cardiac Catheterization Lab relationships in the country and that leads to the best jobs and most successful placements.

We’re calling you because we know that you are uniquely qualified and we know the value of your skill set and the best place to practice, learn and grow.

Why is Phoenix MedStaff a Trusted
Cath Lab Travel Agency?

We’re serving the cardiovascular community because we provide REAL value...

There are plenty of healthcare staffing companies that recruit cath lab professionals (both nursing and allied) that we believe are doing a disservice to the work you do. We also believe that each cath lab specialist has a unique set of skills that came from your experience in different labs combined with how you were taught and learned. The combination of those experiences is as unique as a fingerprint.

We have over 5 decades of experience – in Cath Lab.  Not Med/Surg, ER, Tele, not LVNs, CNAs or other.  Not to say we won’t help our hospitals with other modalities (after all, we would never turn away an ICU referral from one of our CCL team members!), but our bread, butter, honey and spice is Cardiac Cath Lab, Interventional Radiology and Electrophysiology.

When you travel with Phoenix, our value extends further than just helping pick a Cath Lab job...

It’s about working together to make life easier, which makes healthcare better.  Once you leave the hospital, you are expected to manage your credential expirations.  We believe we offer best in class employee benefits:

  • We pay for your licensures (RN and Allied)
  • We pay for credentials (RCIS, RCES, IBHRE)
  • We pay for CPR (ACLS, BLS)
  • We pay for medical items when onboarding for an assignment

Top Tier Employee Healthcare, PTO & Retirement Benefits...

  • Medical, dental, vision (with free option for single employees)
  • Short term, long term and crisis disability
  • 401K employer match of 5% – vested and starting Day 1
  • Maximum PTO accrual – vested and starting Day 1
  • Legal assistance plans

Education matters at Phoenix...

For allied health professionals in the cardiology, there are a ton of credentials available to you.  In our view, the Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist is the most universally recognized and available to the entire cath lab cardiovascular community.

We know every Cath Lab in the United States...

The types of medical equipment, the on call structures, the cardiac department organization…that info is not posted in your typical travel cath lab tech job description but is absolutely critical to you feeling comfortable on your first day or feeling like you’re playing catch up.  And these nuances are not as important when you get into floor nursing so a lot of agencies do not focus on it.  But the details matter! 

Am I ready for travel Cath Lab jobs?

What is a traveling cath lab tech? What do they do?

A cath tech is an allied health professional that plays an important part of the medical team to assist the doctor in many different roles – panning, scrubbing, monitoring – in non-invasive cardiovascular cases to life saving invasive surgery like Angioplasty, Stenting and Rotoblading. During a cardiac catheterization, a cardiovascular invasive specialist (tech) will set up their tray with the appropriate guide wires and catheters and assist the physician with the needed equipment for the case.

The difference between a good tech and a great tech is the skill set and knowledge a tech brings to each and every case, the ability to anticipate the doctor’s next move, and the ability to adapt and change the direction of the case in an instant. Each job will expect a travel cath lab tech to be able to jump right in. A day of orientation, some time for the individual lab details and a few questions about physician preferences and it’s time to rock and roll.

Nursing can be different because of the medication and charting. Across the country, no two hospitals are alike. Pyxis logins, Epic trainings…sometimes there is more required than the tech jobs. But there is one common thread – once you hit the lab, it’s go time.

Nurse or tech, cath lab is demanding. But the most demanding jobs are always the most rewarding!

How does travel pay for Cath Lab tech jobs compare to say… my EP lab tech salary?

Cardiovascular specialist jobs can be very lucrative, but travel agencies generally don’t use the term “salary”.  So how do we compare?  In order to properly compare a salary position to a travel job, you need to compare what gets deposited in the bank, less any extra expenses (like a second place to live while you work in another city).

Let's break it down...

Travel cath lab technologist pay, for example, would include compensation buckets for the following:

  • Taxable wages (most commonly compared to your earning wage at a hospital)
    • Separate rates for regular hours, OT hours, CBOT, DT and On Call
  • Stipend (tax free amount used to cover living expenses)
    • Usually capped by the weekly days or hrs worked
    • 4 10-hour shift schedule will be capped at 40, while 3 12’s would be capped at 36
  • Sign on or extension bonuses

Additionally, some extra expenses to include in your comparison:

  • Extra rent
  • Food
  • Parking or other professional services
  • The expense stipend is meant to cover these expenses

As a healthcare facility staff member, your lab tech salary is primarily comprised of:

  • Taxable wages
  • No tax-free stipend
  • Sign on bonuses available on occasion, but not regularly

Travel jobs are able to bestow tax benefits as some of the funds are used to cover secondary living expenses used in the course of work, however it makes rates hard to compare. The best way to compare a salary job to a lab tech travel job is converting the salary to an hourly rate and “grossing up” the stipend to compare all-taxable hourly rates apples to apples.

  • Salary of $120,000 = ($120,000 / 52 weeks / 40 hours per week) = $57.69
  • Travel Job with $35 taxable per hour and $1000 stipend per week
    • $1000 = $1000 / 40 hours per week = $25 / hour
  • We want to know how a $25 / hour nontax rate compares to a taxable rate
    • $25 nontax = $25 / (1 – tax rate)
    • Tax rate includes payroll taxes, income taxes (state and fed)
    • $25 nontax = $25 / (1 – 25%) = $33.33
  • To properly compare the staff wage of $57.69, the travel position pays a comparable rate of $68.33 ($35.00 plus $33.33)

Travel jobs usually refer to compensation as the “Gross Weekly”.  This is the amount that is all of your working hours multiplied by all of the wage rates, but does not include any additions for on call, OT, or CBOT because these are all “unscheduled” hours and you haven’t worked yet so the “Gross Weekly” estimate is just the scheduled hours (just regular hours).

When compared to a hospital job paycheck, the actual amount that gets deposited into your bank account is considerably higher due to the tax advantages of the stipend. 

Where are the best travel lab tech jobs (Cath Lab, IR or EP)?

The age old question! And of course, it comes with a two part answer:

Historically, the highest rates in the country have always come from the West Coast, and California in particular.  The highest rates are typically in Electrophysiology departments looking for someone with mapping experience, with Interventional Radiology at the lower end of the range.

Since Covid arrived, the rest of the markets have caught up and can now exceed cath lab travel jobs in California, especially when considering the lower cost of living in these other areas.  Additionally, the increase in stroke programs has made IR RNs and lab techs more specialized so rates have increased there as well.


The longer answer is… how can you say what the best is?  Every single cath lab tech has their own preferences for the types of cases and equipment, the size of the lab, the patient demographics, what they’re allowed to do (circ, monitor, scrub, run the stim, etc). 

The best advice is to travel with a company that knows the details about the labs or at the very least, will fight with you to get all the information.


How do I know which travel Cath Lab job is right for me?

The better question is…what can you get from the jobs that are on the job boards?  Not a whole lot when it comes down to the nitty gritty.  When it comes to cath lab, talking on the phone with one of our lab advisors is a big help. 

Maybe you’re looking to gain some experience with rotablators or want to shoot for dedicated EP jobs.  Maybe this time you want to look at a job that give you a little more outdoorsy life, whereas another job lets you see family in the city.  Every single time you search cath lab jobs is an opportunity to gain new life experiences, both personal and professional.  And we’d love to be there for the ride!

Talk to a Cath Lab Advisor - it’s free and we love to chat lab gossip!

For days and days… the lab gossip never stops.  And we love to hear about the fun stories from the pre-Covid days!  If you want to know any back stories or get the real deal info on a lab, give us a call.  We cherish the chance to hear about your experiences and to share ours (without violating the Privacy Policy of course).  It’s how we get better!

Interview, interview, interview!

Take a few interviews and hone the skills.  See how different healthcare facilities run their travel staffing programs.  Each manager will ask different questions, so practice makes perfect!

Check out our Cath Lab Interview questions to get an idea!

So, what are you waiting for?

Join the flock and get in touch with a recruiter today!

Apply Now