Becoming an EKG Technician in Pennsylvania
Sometimes called ECG or cardiovascular technicians, EKG techs are important healthcare professionals.
Using an electrocardiograph machine, they perform diagnostic tests on patients to monitor heart movements and check for irregularities.
Many healthcare workers get their start in the field by starting as an EKG technician.
Education & Training
The first step to becoming an EKG tech in Pennsylvania is to attend a training course or trade school that’s state approved and accredited.
To begin training, you must have either a high school diploma or GED and be 18 years of age or older.
You also need to undergo a background check, have complete immunization records, and test negative for hepatitis and TB.
During your time spent learning about the heart and how to perform EKGs, you’ll also learn various important skills and information associated with the job.
Courses typically cover topics like:
- Anatomy of the heart
- Medical diseases and terminology
- Medical ethics
- Patient care and contact
- Stress testing
- Interpreting rhythm strips
- Operations of the EKG machine
- Analyzing readings and results
- Determining normality of test results
How Long is EKG Technician Training in PA?
Training to be an EKG tech in PA involves roughly 40 to 80 hours in the classroom plus 20 to 40 hours of hands-on training during clinicals.
Once you finish your training, you’ll receive a certificate of completion to prove you’ve finished an accredited program. This certification then qualifies you to take the national certification exam so you can become a certified EKG tech.
How Much Does Training Cost?
The cost to attend EKG technician training in PA varies by institution.
Generally, courses cost between $1,000 and $2,000; however, scholarships and other forms of student aid are available through the colleges themselves or third-party sponsors.
Some clinics and hospitals may even pay to train current employees to become EKG techs.
In addition to the fees associated with education and training, students also must pay to take the national certification exam. Some associations, like the American Society of Electrocardiogram Technicians (ASET), provide you with complementary study guides and practice exams to make sure you’re ready to pass the test and get certified.
EKG Tech Requirements in Pennsylvania
When looking for a training program, ensure the institution provides all the necessary education and hands-on training to become a certified EKG tech in PA.
To assist you in your search, ASET advisors can acknowledge accredited schools in different cities like Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Allentown.
For those new to healthcare, it’s important to gain certification.
However, nurse aids and other medical professionals who receive EKG training may not need to take the test to become certified.
You can access the national exam through third-party endorsers like the National Performance Specialists who work with ASET or the National Healthcareer Association.
EKG Tech Certification Requirements
To become certified as an EKG technician in PA, you must have your high school diploma or GED, complete training at an accredited institution, and finish one year of on-the-job experience within the past three years.
Hands-on training is crucial because students must have 10 successful EKGs completed to take the exam.
The cost to take the national EKG certification exam on the ASET website is $150. ASET test takers have three attempts to pass the exam.
However, several other certification agencies offer the test online for the same or a slightly different cost. EKG techs must renew their certification every two years and complete continuing education credits.
EKG technicians work in doctor’s offices, clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities.
They typically help physicians in identifying and treating heart problems in patients.
EKG techs can also work various other jobs, such as phlebotomist, nurse, medical assistant, or laboratory technician, if they’ve met that role’s certification or licensing requirements.
A list of job duties for an EKG tech in Pennsylvania include:
- Speaking with patients to verify their identity
- Evaluating patients and explaining diagnostic procedures
- Placing leads on the body to perform the test
- Using the EKG machine to begin test
- Prepping the test results for the physician
- Maintaining your work area, the EKG machine, and other equipment
In Pennsylvania, EKG technicians must complete the proper training courses and become nationally certified to gain employment.
A certified EKG Technician, or CET, has the knowledge, skills, and experience to perform their job duties successfully.
EKG Technician Salaries in PA
Working as an EKG tech in Pennsylvania offers many opportunities and advantages. Because there’s always a chance to grow in the healthcare industry, there are also ways to boost the salary you earn.
As one of the five states with the highest employment level of cardiovascular techs, the average EKG technician salary in PA is $55,620 as of May 2021.
Some EKG techs may also earn hourly pay at a statewide average of about $26.74 an hour. This rate may vary based on experience in the field and workplace location.
Medical assistants and lab techs stand a chance at earning more in their professions with the additional training and certification.
Average Earnings for EKG Techs in PA
When looking for the average amount that an EKG technician earns in Pennsylvania, it might help to look at the different cities where you may want to work. Below is a table with the average EKG technician salary in PA cities for entry-level employees:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, EKG technician jobs have an expected growth rate of 8% between 2020 and 2030. This projected increase includes about 4,700 job openings nationwide due to workers transferring to different jobs or retiring from the workforce.
Pennsylvania has a slightly higher expected growth rate than the national average, with a 9% increase in EKG tech jobs expected before 2030.
The state expects about 340 new jobs with increased demand as current EKG techs transfer or retire and as Pennsylvania residents age and need more cardiac care.
Benefits of Working as an EKG Technician in PA
There are several advantages to working as an EKG technician, especially for those interested in an entry-level career or building on their current profession. Working as a technician in healthcare leads to good job stability and benefits, including health insurance and increasing pay rates. EKG techs also have the benefit of helping people live healthier lives.