Becoming an EKG Technician in Illinois
EKG techs perform electrocardiograms to test heart functions, making them an essential part of the healthcare field.
To qualify for EKG technician jobs in Illinois, you’ll need to learn how to use the required equipment.
In addition, knowing how to take proper safety measures, and maintain an appropriate bedside manner while performing these diagnostic tests is necessary.
Education & Training
Hopefuls wondering how to become an EKG technician in Illinois must undergo specialized training. Many Illinois trade schools offer classes and hands-on training modules for aspiring EKG technicians in IL.
However, current healthcare professionals working in hospitals, clinics, and care centers sometimes learn the tools of the trade through in-house training programs.
EKG Technician School in IL
During a formal training course at a trade or vocational school, EKG tech students take classes like:
- Medical Terminology
- Cardiac Anatomy and Physiology
- Anatomy of the Chest Wall
- Electrical Conduction of the Heart
- Medical Disease Processes
- Patient Preparation and Placement
- 12-Lead EKG Administration
- Identifying and Interpreting EKG Tracings
- Holter and Telemetry Monitoring
- Patient Care and Advising
- Healthcare Ethics
Learning How to Calm Patients
If patients become nervous during EKG readings, their heart rate may increase, making their readings inconclusive. Techs must use effective communication and create a relaxing atmosphere to help patients remain calm throughout the procedure.
Some IL EKG technician schools have on-campus medical simulation labs where students can practice using EKG equipment on medical mannequins. If your chosen school lacks an on-site lab, your instructor might bring a mannequin into the classroom for students to train with.
Your school might also partner with local clinics or hospitals to provide externships where students can work with actual patients.
Hospitals, outpatient clinics, and other medical facilities might prefer to hire EKG techs from within. Completing EKG tech training could be beneficial to people in healthcare jobs who want to qualify for promotions and raises.
People in the following healthcare positions might consider taking the necessary classes so they can add EKG technician skills to their list of patient care skills and abilities:
Depending on the policies and benefits at their workplaces, these employees might be able to take EKG tech classes at their job sites and begin taking on additional EKG technician duties once they perform enough supervised EKGs or pass an exam.
However, some small clinics and private hospitals might simply cover the cost of tuition so employees can attend classes at a local vocational school.
How Long is EKG Training?
Aspiring EKG techs in IL can complete their training in about four months at some institutions. Other schools offer accelerated courses, allowing students to graduate from their programs in four, six, or eight weeks.
If you’re taking EKG tech classes through your employer or at your job site, you might be able to finish training after completing 40 hours of instruction and performing 10 real-world EKGs.
Generally speaking, training courses for EKGs in IL tend to cost less than $1,000. Depending on where you attend classes, you might pay about $990 in tuition, lab fees, registration, and class materials.
Other trade school programs might only cost about $800, though if you take EKG technician classes at an Illinois university, you might pay closer to $2,000.
Illinois EKG Technician Requirements
Currently, the standard requirements for becoming an EKG technician in Illinois are as follows:
- Have a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent
- Be 18 years of age or older
- Pass a criminal background screening with no felonies on your record
- Test negative for TB and hepatitis
- Provide updated immunization records
While formal education is optional for those pursuing this career path, some employers might prefer candidates complete an accredited training program or obtain an official certification.
Several agencies offer certification for EKG technicians in IL, including:
- National Performance Specialists (NPS)
- The National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Allied Health (AAH)
- The National Association for Health Professionals (NAHP)
Experience and Certificate of Completion Needed
To earn a Certified EKG Technician (CET) or Nationally Registered Certified EKG Technician (NRCET) credential, you must meet your chosen agency’s education and experience requirements.
Usually, you’ll need to have at least a high school diploma or equivalent and either a certificate of completion from your EKG tech trade school program or proof of at least one year of supervised work experience.
You must also pass a certification exam to show your expertise in performing EKGs. Once you pass your test, you’ll receive an official credential that can make it easier to qualify for higher-paying EKG technician jobs in Illinois.
EKG Technician Salaries in IL
Although the average entry-level EKG technician salary in Illinois is about $35,273 per year, employers might offer more than that, depending on which part of the state you live in. Annual wages vary in different regions, so your earnings might be less than or greater than the statewide average if you live or work in a particular city.
Check out the following list to learn how much EKG technicians make in certain Illinois cities:
- Chicago $36,790
- Elgin $36,882
- Springfield $33,127
- Peoria $30,486
- Bloomington $33,075
EKG techs in IL might be able to negotiate higher wages if they have a formal education, extensive industry experience, or an official credential from a reputable certifying agency. EKG techs with these qualifications can earn $69,714 annually or more in some cities.
EKG tech jobs in Illinois require strong attention to detail and technical knowledge about using industry-specific machinery. During a typical work day, EKG technicians in IL perform tasks like:
- Reviewing patients’ medical history
- Positioning patients and preparing them for cardiovascular tests
- Ensuring the EKG machine is in working order
- Place electrodes on patients’ chests, back, arms, legs, or wherever necessary
- Monitor EKG readings and record the results
- Report test results and findings to the attending physician
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for EKG techs and other diagnostic medical sonographers is likely to increase by about 10 percent over the next ten years. Because of this projected growth rate, EKG technicians in IL might have an easier time finding work during the next decade, especially if they have a formal education or an official CET credential.