EKG Tech in California

ekg tech testing patient

How to Become an EKG Technician in California

If you are looking for an entry-level health care position with straightforward training and a competitive salary, becoming an EKG technician may be a good option.

EKG Technician Schools in California

To obtain certification as an EKG tech, you’ll need to find and enroll in an accredited program and receive the necessary training.

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Get information on EKG Technician programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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    Community colleges and the California state university system offer EKG technician training, as do several vocational schools.

    Can You Attend an EKG Tech School Online?

    There are several accredited EKG technician programs in California offered online. Certain state universities and colleges offer flexible online programs where you can learn at your own pace and earn an EKG Technician certification according to your schedule.

    California EKG Technician Requirements

    Educational Requirements

    Before beginning an EKG technician program in California, you must have either a high school diploma, GED or another high school equivalent credential. Prospects should also be able to speak English well.

    EKG Tech Certification

    You cannot become an EKG technician without the proper training. Therefore, you can complete your electrocardiography training at an accredited institution in person or online.

    How Long to Get Certified?
    Getting your EKG technician certification in California takes anywhere from ten weeks to a year. There’s also on-the-job training available at many hospitals for those already employed in the healthcare field.

    EKG technician requirements in California also involve getting re-certified as needed, as well as attending continuing education for your job. Because most hospitals and clinics prefer training people already in the healthcare field, having an associate degree or higher can give you a leg up when applying for jobs.

    Personality Traits

    Are You a Good Fit for this Job?

    As well as the educational requirements, certain personality traits and characteristics can help make you a good fit for this occupation. Ideally, EKG techs are patient, communicate well with others, and have good problem-solving tactics.

    Patience

    Two of the most valuable traits of an EKG tech are being observant and a good listener since patient and machine monitoring are the primary job duties of an EKG technician.

    Communication

    The ability to verbally communicate with diverse types of people and sensitivity to other cultures is helpful, especially when working in major cities throughout the state of California and other areas of the U.S.

    Problem Solving

    The ability to logically and reasonably problem solve is also valuable because the maintenance of the cardiograph often falls to the technician. Being a good time manager with the ability to prioritize and schedule work are other assets for potential technicians. As with any profession in the health care industry, a desire to help others also contributes to success.

    How Long is EKG Technician Training?

    On-the-job training for EKG technicians can be as little as three hours (for resting cardiography) and up to four to six weeks, depending upon the employer. Specialized training such as stress testing and Holter monitoring involves a more in-depth study of cardiovascular anatomy and physiology and can range from eighteen months to two years.

    EKG Certifications

    Once trained in electrocardiography, you’ll want to take an exam to become certified.

    Certification is offered through the American Certification Agency for Health Care Providers. They require that you have had six months of EKG recording experience (as might have been obtained in-house) or completion of a structured program to take an online certification test.

    If attending an accredited EKG technician program in California, the cost to receive your education and training can vary by institution. However, if you’re currently affiliated with a hospital or clinic, you’re employer may offer to pay for your certification and training.

    How Much Does it Cost?

    There is a $100.00 fee to take the initial test for certification and then an $80.00 to $120.00 fee to recertify every two years. The price varies according to how many categories are included in your re-certification request. This process also requires continuing education units during a two-year period (0.5 CEU hours per month).

    In addition to the American Certification Agency for Health Care Providers, EKG certification agencies include:

    • National Certified ECT Technicians
    • National Association for Health Professionals
    • Cardiovascular Credentialing International

    Finding a Job as an EKG Technician

    When applying for EKG technician jobs in California, a few factors that may help you stand out are:

    • Having some basic community college education, if not an associates degree
    • Having successfully tested and received an EKG certification
    • Being cross-trained in other allied health professions

    If you are called for an interview, you will likely be tested on heart rhythms. If there has been a gap between your training and an interview, stay updated on technical aspects. In your oral interview, be certain that the information you are providing is completely accurate.

    Career Overview

    If you are looking for an entry-level health care position with straightforward training and a competitive salary, becoming an EKG technician may be a good option. EKG Technology can be a stepping stone to another healthcare career or a supplemental skill to add to your resume; a phlebotomist, for example, might also receive cross-training as an EKG technician.

    EKG vs ECG

    Despite the different acronyms, EKG tech and ECG tech are the same position. The term EKG Technician derives from the German spelling as an homage to the inventor of the cardiograph. An alternate term is ECG Technician, which stands for Electrocardiogram Technician.

    EKG Tech Job Description

    Let’s begin with a definition of electrocardiography. Electrical impulses precede the heart muscle’s contractions. A machine called a cardiograph can record these impulses, making it a key diagnostic tool for patients who are at risk for or have heart disease. EKG techs operate and maintain cardiograph machines by monitoring a patient’s heartbeats for a specified time prescribed by the physician.

    Job Duties

    EKG technicians have responsibilities that can be summarized as “monitoring.” This occupation requires the tech to monitor patients before, during and after testing. Job duties and responsibilities include:

    • Obtaining identification and medical history from patients
    • Setting up the test according to general protocol or the specifications of the ordering physician
    • Explaining the test to the patient
    • Attaching electrodes or leads to the major areas of arterial blood flow (chest, arms and legs)
    • Monitoring the patient and equipment during the testing period
    • Noting the cardiograph report, as well as the patient’s blood pressure and heart rate as the test progresses
    • The technician may note sections of the test printout that should be reviewed by the referring physician

    How Much Do EKG Techs Make in California?

    The average EKG technician salary in California is around $64,459 annually or upwards of $31 hourly. The pay range changes depending on education, experience and location.

    The table below contains average salaries and wages in the state.

    Area Name Hourly wage Annual wage
    Bakersfield $38.49 $80,060.00
    Fresno $38.05 $79,150.00
    Los Angeles, Long Beach, Anaheim $39.39 $81,920.00
    Modesto $41.04 $85,350.00
    Oxnard, Thousand Oaks, Ventura $49.08 $102,080.00
    Riverside, San Bernardino, Ontario $34.86 $72,500.00
    Sacramento Roseville, Arden, Arcade $46.09 $95,870.00
    San Diego, Carlsbad $38.22 $79,500.00
    San Francisco, Oakland, Hayward $46.22 $96,130.00
    San Jose, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara $47.02 $97,810.00
    Santa Maria, Santa Barbara $34.51 $71,780.00
    Santa Rosa $44.19 $91,910.00
    Stockton, Lodi $36.13 $75,140.00
    Vallejo, Fairfield $46.21 $96,120.00

    source: data.bls.gov
    Occupation: Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians (SOC Code292031)

    Career Outlook

    In the state of California, the Employment Development Department expects there to be a 16% increase in jobs for EKG technicians before the year 2028. This includes an additional 800 job openings in the state. As technology becomes more advanced and populations of people age, it’s likely the state will need more experienced and highly-trained EKG specialists.

    EKG Professional Associations

    The Alliance of Cardiovascular Professionals provides nationwide job opportunities, message boards and online education for continuing education units (which are required to maintain certification). One of their main goals is to set standards for their membership, which also serves to increase professionalism.

    Search EKG Technician Programs

    Get information on EKG Technician programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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