How to Become an EKG Technician
Do you have the desire to lend a helping hand to others? Are you intrigued by the fast growing medical field? Consider joining a group of individuals in the field of allied health and become an EKG technician. This is one job that is rewarding, has a level of independence and is well respected among the medical community.
Most EKG technicians work in a hospital setting performing diagnostic tests to help physicians asses the heart. Other job opportunities are located within private practices, mobile services and outpatient clinics. Each one of these places are slightly different, but are all there to give the best possible experience for a patient in need of medical cardiac tests.
Education Requirements to Become an EKG Technician
Preparation is key in getting ready for a career as an EKG technician. You should complete high school while taking courses in science, anatomy, math and computers. Getting some office medical experience while going to school is a good option to help gain communication skills.
While there is not a degree requirement to become an EKG technician, some employers may want to see an Associate's degree with some medical background. Since the job is based mainly on a technical skill, the education requirement is also based on that same model. Courses leading an EKG technician certification are usually given in a shortened program usually over a period of a few weeks to a few months.
Programs can be found online or at community colleges around the country. Since many of them are not to the level of certificate programs, the overall cost is significantly lower that attending an Associate program. Most positions are considered to be entry level. Some hospitals also train employees to perform EKGs as a part of on-the-job training. Employer based training is just as useful in becoming an EKG technician as a formal program. One benefit in receiving employer based training is the potential to still earn a wage while learning how to do the job. Most employers will give raises once the training period has been completed.
EKG Technician Job Description
An EKG technician is an allied health professional--a group of people that perform technical medical tasks to help in the diagnosis and treatment of a patient. Most of the job involves operating medical equipment, communicating with patients and dealing with private health information. This job is well suited for those who enjoy a challenge while doing something in health care; mainly helping doctors get the information they need to treat the patient.
There are various employment settings that an EKG technician can work. Here are some common duties for this career:
- Talking with patients and families
- Taking confidential patient information
- Operating EKG equipment
- Set-up appointments (for traveling technicians)
Those who find jobs in a hospital may be asked to work "on-call". This means that you may be called in to perform procedures. Private practices and clinics will typically operate during normal business hours, which do not have on-call hours. Technicians working in private practices or clinics may be asked to perform other clerical duties such as answering telephones, checking in patients and billing.
EKG Technician Salary and Career Path
The path to become an EKG technician is a simple, straight-forward one. With shortened technical classes and employer based training, there are many opportunities for anyone wanting to learn about this area of health care. A certification will allow you to perform the duties of the technician. The entry level EKG certification is the first in a series of other more complicated procedures. Contact your local hospital recruiter for more information about training opportunities in your area.
Average earnings are dependent on location and patient acuity. The national average for an EKG technician is about $24,000 a year, upwards to $30,000 a year with a few years experience. Medical employees also enjoy full benefits; typically at a lower rate than the general public. Mobile technicians can make slightly more by working as an independent contractor for a service company. Some physicians offices may have a need for an EKG technician but do not want to pay for a full-time employee. These are great opportunities to solicit your services to multiple medical practices on an as-needed basis.
Choosing to become part of this growing profession is a decision in the right direction. It is well suited for those who want to have a career in the medical field, but may not want to have that much patient interaction. Employment opportunities can be found everywhere there are people in need of medical attention. Take first step today and call your local health care facilities for employment based training.
*Salary Information provided by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics