Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist
Cardiac Catheterization Lab
Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas
“I was the art director of a marketing firm for 11 years, but I’d hit the ceiling for advancement — I’d gone as far as I could go and hadn’t had a raise for seven years. I looked on the Internet at different medical-related fields and stumbled across invasive cardiovascular technology. I saw this as a path to a guaranteed job with a guaranteed salary.
“Even though the program is at El Centro, I took the bulk of my classes at Richland and Brookhaven, whichever had the best schedule for that semester. I was still working as art director an average of 60 hours a week while doing core courses, but then I just concentrated on the program for a full year.
“What I like about this job is that when I leave work at the end of the day, I’ve helped change the course of people’s lives. It’s doing something for the greater good. You feel good about telling someone what you do with this job.
“Don’t be discouraged that this program seems hard to get into. If you make your grades and you’re focused, you will get in. It may be a bit of a difficult path to get through the schooling part, but it’s absolutely worth it in the end — you pretty much have financial security.
“One thing that’s great about this field is that the community college associate degree is relatively inexpensive to get and it guarantees your income — but then if you work for a hospital, they will usually pay for you to go on and earn your bachelor’s degree.
“Doctors at the hospital talk to us all the time about their kids who can’t get jobs with four-year degrees that they’ve spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on. They want to know what our educational path was like and how we got started in this field — they work with us on a daily basis, and they know what our income and job security are like.
“It seems to me that about three out of four people in allied health fields in Dallas graduated from El Centro — its programs really feed the profession. This is definitely a door into an extremely well-paying career. Beyond making decent money, you work four days a week — four 10-hour days. The schedule allows you to have a life and to have some time off. I was offered a job months before I graduated — that year of clinicals is really just a long job interview.
“The program only graduates 10 people a year, but there are 15 El Centro graduates in our lab alone. They can’t produce enough of us to fill the need in the field. You are going to get a job when you graduate, and you’re going to make good money. Just stick with it.”
Paul Marcum earned an associate degree in visual communications from the Art Institute of Dallas and studied architecture at Texas Tech University. He earned an associate degree in Invasive Cardiovascular Technology from El Centro in 2006. He is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in clinical management online through Texas Tech University through his employer, Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, where he did two clinical rotations while in the ICVT program.
He is a preceptor teaching students in the clinical environment, for the ICVT program. Preceptors must have a minimum of three years experience in the workplace.