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.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an EKG technician?
EKG technicians, also know as electrocardiograph technicians, perform imaging tests to help physicians diagnose and treat cardiovascular problems.
They use EKG machines that monitor the heart’s performance through electrodes attached to the patient’s chest, arms, and legs.
The tests can be performed while the patient rests or while the patient is physically active.
EKG technicians typically work full time and those who are employed by healthcare facilities that are always open may work in shifts to accommodate patients’ needs.
Healthcare professionals who specialize in performing EKGs are usually detail-oriented persons with good hand-eye coordination, physical stamina, technical and communication skills.
How much does an EKG technician make?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for cardiovascular technologists and technicians was $56,850 as of May 2018.
Salaries in this field vary widely, depending on the technician’s level of experience, the employer and the region of employment.
As an EKG technician, you can make anywhere between less than $30,000 and more than $90,000 a year.
How much does it cost to become an EKG technician?
EKG technicians need a few years of post-secondary education and many employers also require professional certification.
Many schools offer associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree programs in cardiovascular and vascular technology.
Tuition costs vary depending on the school you choose and the program itself.
Those who choose to enroll at a bachelor’s degree program will pay, on average, around $40,000 a year.
Most employers prefer EKG technicians who are certified by a professional institution, such as Cardiovascular Credentialing International.
To apply for a Certified Cardiographic Technician credential you will have to pass an exam; the application fee is $175.
Many employers may also require EKG technicians to have basic life support certification and be trained to provide CPR.
BLS courses usually cost between $60-$80.
What is the demand for EKG technicians?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for cardiovascular technologists and technicians is projected to grow 7 percent from 2018 to 2028.
As the population ages, the need to diagnose heart conditions using EKG will increase, so more EKG technicians will be needed to perform these tests.
Holding a professional certification as a Certified Cardiographic Technician can give you an advantage on the job market and if you’re certified in more that one specialty your employment opportunities will be better.
How long does it take to become an EKG technician?
EKG technicians usually need an associate’s degree, a certificate or a bachelor’s degree in cardiovascular and vascular technology.
Associate’s degree and certificate programs in this field can typically be completed in 1-2 years while bachelor’s degree programs are usually 4-years-long.
Holding a professional certification from an institution such as Cardiovascular Credentialing International may be required by some employers.