EKG Technician

EKG technicians monitor and test a patient’s heart performance using special equipment. These technologists work hands-on with individuals experiencing chest pain due to heart-related issues like stress, heart attacks, and more.

Becoming an EKG technician requires less training compared to other medical professions, making it a great way to jumpstart your career in healthcare.

Education & Training

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Students interested in an EKG technician career must earn their associate’s or bachelor’s degree from a trade school or accredited college. After graduating, some candidates earn specific certificates to help boost their EKG technician resume. They also complete on-site training to ensure they know what they’re doing.

What Do EKG Technicians Study?

EKG technician programs instruct students on how to conduct and interpret electrocardiogram results. During their training, future EKG techs learn how to correctly place ECG leads on the body, making anatomy and physiology important subjects in the curriculum.

Students also learn important medical terminology and proper bedside manner for patient care.

Training programs for prospective EKG technicians will address the following:

  • Anatomy, Physiology, and Infection Control: Understanding cardiac anatomy and physiology, infection control, and standard precautions relevant to the EKG Technician role.
  • Technical Skills and Maintenance: Adhering to proper machine protocols and following maintenance procedures.
  • Electrocardiogram Procedures: Interpreting electrocardiograms of different types with proficiency in Electrocardiography.
  • Patient Communication and Care: Employing appropriate communication methods in various clinical scenarios.

How Long Does EKG Training Take?

The online courses promoted above take about 12 months (170 course hours) but you can enroll at anytime.  These programs often focus on the specific skills and knowledge required for performing electrocardiograms and monitoring heart activity.

In contrast, more comprehensive associate degree programs in cardiovascular technology may take around two years to finish. These programs typically include a broader range of coursework, covering topics beyond EKGs, such as vascular technology and cardiac sonography.

The exact length of your educational program can also depend on factors like the program’s structure (full-time or part-time), individual student pace, and additional clinical or internship requirements.

How Much Does it Cost?

Short-term certificate programs explicitly focused on EKG technology may cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000.

More comprehensive programs, such as associate degree programs in cardiovascular technology, could range from $2,000 to $8,000 per semester. Remember that these costs often include tuition, fees, and sometimes required textbooks or materials. Financial aid, scholarships, or grants may be available to offset these expenses.

Benefits of Taking an Online Course

Opting for an online training course to become an EKG technician offers several advantages. Online courses provide flexibility, allowing students to learn at their own pace and accommodate other commitments like work or family responsibilities.

The accessibility of online resources facilitates convenient study, eliminating the need for commuting to a physical location. This flexibility is particularly advantageous for individuals in remote areas or those with limited access to educational institutions.

Online platforms often incorporate interactive multimedia elements, promoting engaging and compelling learning experiences. Additionally, online courses may offer cost savings by eliminating commuting and housing expenses associated with attending an in-person program.

EKG Technician Program Requirements

The minimum requirement to attend an EKG training program is having a high school diploma or equivalent.

Other general requirements include:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Negative Hepatitis test
  • Negative TB test
  • Immunization records
  • Complete a background check

Salary & Career Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average income for EKG technicians in the United States is $37.60 per hour, or $78,210 per year.  However, that pay may increasde drastically depending on level of expertise, location, and place of employment.

Below is a list of average salaries and wages for each state:

State Hourly wage Annual wage
Alabama $21.88 $45,510.00
Alaska $41.08 $85,450.00
Arizona $31.47 $65,460.00
Arkansas $28.34 $58,940.00
California $40.64 $84,520.00
Colorado $38.05 $79,150.00
Connecticut $39.25 $81,640.00
Delaware $27.98 $58,190.00
District of Columbia $43.82 $91,150.00
Florida $26.52 $55,160.00
Georgia $28.23 $58,710.00
Hawaii $37.31 $77,600.00
Idaho $44.32 $92,180.00
Illinois $31.77 $66,080.00
Indiana $29.06 $60,450.00
Iowa $28.99 $60,300.00
Kansas $27.92 $58,070.00
Kentucky $25.81 $53,690.00
Louisiana $24.88 $51,740.00
Maine $33.26 $69,180.00
Maryland $34.75 $72,270.00
Massachusetts $38.88 $80,870.00
Michigan $29.26 $60,860.00
Minnesota $33.99 $70,700.00
Mississippi $21.95 $45,650.00
Missouri $28.03 $58,300.00
Montana $31.39 $65,300.00
Nebraska $25.85 $53,770.00
Nevada $35.42 $73,670.00
New Hampshire $35.89 $74,640.00
New Jersey $40.61 $84,470.00
New Mexico $24.75 $51,470.00
New York $35.88 $74,630.00
North Carolina $28.99 $60,300.00
North Dakota $29.21 $60,760.00
Ohio $29.96 $62,320.00
Oklahoma $26.74 $55,610.00
Oregon $41.22 $85,730.00
Pennsylvania $30.64 $63,740.00
Puerto Rico $14.38 $29,900.00
Rhode Island $42.80 $89,030.00
South Carolina $28.80 $59,900.00
South Dakota $28.89 $60,080.00
Tennessee $28.65 $59,580.00
Texas $25.24 $52,500.00
Utah $39.12 $81,370.00
Vermont $30.14 $62,700.00
Virginia $35.03 $72,860.00
Washington $39.68 $82,540.00
West Virginia $20.54 $42,710.00
Wisconsin $36.77 $76,490.00
Wyoming $33.99 $70,690.00

source: data.bls.gov

Occupation:Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians (SOC Code292031)

As the general population ages, the risk of cardiovascular issues like blood clots and heart issues increases. This means that EKG technicians will continue to be needed to help these patients.

The job’s growth outlook is expected to increase by 10%, which is significantly faster than the national average (2%); consequently, pursuing a career as an EKG technician is a promising pathway to success, with nearly 10,000 job openings forecasted to arise each year over the next decade.

EKG technicians also receive certain benefits through their employers. These often include medical insurance, 401(k) retirement plans, and paid time off. Some offices may even offer paid holiday time or vacations.

Career Path

The career path of an EKG technician typically begins with specialized education and training through certificate or associate degree programs in cardiovascular technology or a related field.

After completing formal education, individuals often seek certification from reputable organizations like the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians (ASPT), the National Healthcareer Association (NHA), or the American Education Certification Association (AECA).

Other certificates include the Basic Life Support (BLS) certificate, noting that the candidate is trained in CPR. Associates can also earn a certificate from Cardiovascular Credentialing International.

Upon hiring, technicians may need to complete a 4-6 week hands-on training program. Potential associates will learn the ins and outs of EKG equipment operation, go over the facility’s safety procedures and protocols, and will have the opportunity to shadow professionals.

Where Can EKG Techs Work?

After obtaining their necessary certifications, EKG technicians can enter the workforce in various healthcare settings.

These include:

  • Outpatient care centers
  • Medical and diagnostic laboratories
  • Physician offices
  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Private practices
  • Ambulatory care centers
  • Rehabilitation facilities
  • Mobile healthcare teams

They are integral to cardiology departments, telemetry units, and emergency rooms, where continuous monitoring of heart activity is essential.

Their expertise in operating electrocardiogram equipment makes them valuable contributors to various healthcare environments, supporting the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular conditions.

As they gain experience, opportunities for advancement may arise, allowing EKG technicians to take on roles with increased responsibilities, such as supervisory positions or specialization in advanced cardiac procedures.

Continuous professional development and staying current with technological advancements contribute to a fulfilling and evolving career as an EKG technician.

What is the Work Environment Like?

EKG technicians may work in well-equipped cardiology departments, telemetry units, or emergency rooms where continuous monitoring is crucial. The setting is often fast-paced, requiring efficiency in conducting electrocardiogram tests and collaborating with medical teams.

EKG technicians interact closely with patients, explaining procedures and ensuring comfort. Attention to detail and accuracy are paramount, as their recordings contribute significantly to cardiac assessments.

Overall, the work environment is dynamic, patient-focused, and integral to diagnosing and treating cardiovascular conditions.

What Are the Hours Like?

Technicians often work long hours in loud hospitals or emergency rooms. This includes some weekends, overnights and evenings, and even holidays.

Some EKG technicians may even need to stay on-call in case there is an emergency at the facility. Those interested in this career should have a flexible schedule and be able to work early in the morning or late at night.

What do EKG Technicians Do?

EKG technicians operate electrocardiogram machines to monitor and record patients’ heart activity. They attach electrodes to specific areas on the patient’s body, conduct EKG tests, and ensure the accuracy of readings.

EKG technicians collaborate with medical teams to provide crucial data for diagnosing cardiac conditions, such as arrhythmias or heart attacks.

Their role involves maintaining and calibrating equipment, explaining procedures to patients, and contributing to the overall efficiency of cardiovascular diagnostics in healthcare settings.

Why are EKG Technicians Needed?

EKG technicians are essential in healthcare for their specialized skills in monitoring and recording heart activity. They play a crucial role in diagnosing cardiac conditions and provide vital information for medical professionals to assess patients’ cardiovascular health.

The precise and timely data produced by EKG technicians aids in identifying abnormalities, guiding treatment decisions, and contributing to the overall management of heart-related issues.

Their expertise ensures accurate and reliable readings, making them indispensable in the collaborative effort to maintain and enhance the well-being of patients with cardiac concerns.

What Personal Skills Should EKG Technicians Possess?

One of the most important skills an EKG technician can have is to remain calm under pressure. Working with individuals who are experiencing chest pains or abnormal heart beats can be stressful, as the patient may be worried or angry.

In the case of an emergency, these workers may also need to work with multiple patients back to back. Those who work well under pressure, and who can keep those around them calm as well, often succeed in this career.

Physical stamina is also an important characteristic for EKG technicians. These associates work long hours on their feet traveling to different departments in the hospital to treat patients young and old.

They also must have the strength to push and lift heavy medical equipment, such as monitors or gurneys.

Search EKG Technician Programs

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