How to Begin a Professional Career as an EKG Technician

How to Begin a Professional Career as an EKG Technician

EKG Technicians: A Quick Look
Median Salary$34,216 per annum
Entry-level educationHigh School Diploma
On-the-job trainingNo
Primary employersHospitals
Number of positions (U.S.)110,400 (All Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technicians)
Job Growth (2010-2020)30% (Much faster than the national average)
New positions (2010-2020)+42,700 (All Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technicians)

What Does An EKG Technician Do?

An EKG technician is a person with medical training who is qualified to set up and run electrocardiograph machines. This involves placing electrodes on a patient and running the EKG machine to retrieve results that will then be presented to the attending physician. Read more.

Salary

EKG Technicians earn a median salary of $34,216 or $16.45 per hour. Read more.

Becoming An EKG Technician

There are several paths to becoming an EKG technician. The shortest and easiest way is to find a medical facility willing to train the individual on the job. Another route is to attend approximately one year of training at a vocational school in order to become an EKG technician. The third route is to attend a college for 2 years to obtain an associate’s degree in electro-cardiographic technology. Read more.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for qualified EKG technicians is exceptionally high. This positive outlook is based upon factors such as an increase in the geriatric population that often requires monitoring by EKG as well as advances in noninvasive medical testing techniques. Read more.

EKG Technician Salary

The median EKG technician salary was $34,216 per year according to 2012 statistics. An EKG technician generally works full time, including some time on weekends. Evening work may be required if working in a hospital setting. Physicians may require an EKG to be run on a patient at any time of the day or night. The top 10% of highest paid EKG Technicians earn more than $43,844. The lowest earning 10% earn less than $25,868 per year.

How To Become An EKG technician

An individual can become an EKG technician after receiving your high school diploma or equivalent if there is an employer willing to train on the job. Many employers prefer hiring an individual who has attended training to become an EKG technician. This is typically done through a vocational school or similar program, and often takes a year to complete. An individual can seek an associate’s degree related to electrocardiograms. Obtaining an associate’s degree that takes 2 years to complete may make the individual more desirable to a prospective employer since the market is so competitive. How long to become an EKG technician? If an individual chooses to go to college to obtain an associate’s degree, it will take 2 years to complete. An individual who attends a vocational school or program to learn the skills associated with EKG technician work will complete the program in one year. An individual fortunate enough to have an employer willing to train on the job may acquire the skills in an 8-16 week period. Someone interested in becoming an EKG technician should consider the fact that most employers prefer to hire medical personnel who have received some advanced education in the field. Promotion within the field may be enhanced by having an associate’s degree and/or certification.

Educational Requirements

The only educational requirement for the job is that the individual have a high school diploma or equivalent. See our listing of the top ekg technician schools & training programs

Certification

Some states require certification of EKG technicians, although for most states there is no certification required for EKG technicians. Obtaining certification, however, generally enhances an individual’s standing in the professional community and may increase likelihood of employment opportunities or advancement. There are several agencies that offer certification in EKG technician skills. These include the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion, the American Certification Agency for Healthcare Professionals and the American Society of Phlebotomy. Obtaining certification through any of these organizations typically requires on-the-job training and passing an examination.

Licensing

Some states may require an EKG technician to hold a license. It is advisable to check with the individual state’s medical board to find information on the state requirements before embarking on a career path.

EKG Technician Job Description

EKG technicians are medically trained technicians who obtain EKGs by using an electrocardiograph. An EKG machine traces the electrical impulses transmitted throughout the body by the heart. An EKG technician must properly attach electrodes to certain areas on the patient’s body, in particular the arms, legs and chest; they may also set up Holter monitors and handle stress tests. The EKG results are of particular use to physicians who are attempting to diagnose a heart or vascular problem. EKG technicians must be detail oriented. They must have good people skills, as they must be able to communicate with patients on a daily basis. They must be in good physical condition, as this job requires a lot of time on one’s feet. An EKG technician must be comfortable with handling persons who are possibly suffering a cardiac event, so the ability to calm a worried patient is a great asset for an EKG technician.

Duties

  • Take comprehensive medical history and help prepare patient for procedure.
  • Prepare and maintain medical equipment.
  • Attach electrodes to patient in order to obtain EKG.
  • Perform other noninvasive procedures.
  • Check image results to make sure the equipment is functioning properly.
  • Discuss the results with the physician.
  • Assist the physician as needed.
  • Record medical findings.

Alternative Job Titles

EKG technicians are sometimes known as cardiographic technicians.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for EKG technicians is very good, with an expected rate of growth of all Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technicians at 30% between 2012 and 2022. The reasons for this expected growth include an expectation that the use of noninvasive procedures such as EKGs will increase in the future as technology improves. There is also an expectation of a growth in the population of elderly patients, many of which may suffer from heart or vascular problems necessitating the use of EKG technology to monitor and detect issues. Although many EKGs are performed in a hospital setting, more and more physicians’ offices will run EKG machines in their office. This may lead to a rise in the number of EKG technicians employed in the future.

 

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