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Cardiac Telemetry Monitor Technician Career Requirements

Cardiac telemetry monitor technicians, also known as ECG or EKG techs, can work in health clinics, hospitals, medical offices or laboratories. Read the job description, duties, education requirements, salary and employment outlook to decide if this is the right occupation for you. View article »

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  • 0:01 Career Definition
  • 0:37 Education Requirements
  • 1:07 Skill Requirements
  • 1:26 Career and Economic Outlook
  • 1:59 Alternate Career Options

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Video Transcript

Career Definition

An electrocardiogram or EKG records electrical impulses of the heart to assess its health. Cardiac telemetry monitor technicians prepare patients for EKGs by attaching electrodes to patients' arms, legs and chests. They then operate EKG machines while monitoring, interpreting and documenting patients' results. Cardiac telemetry monitor technicians also maintain EKG machines and troubleshoot technical problems. With additional training, cardiac telemetry monitor technicians may perform advanced procedures, such as stress tests or Holter monitoring.

Education Requirements

Degree Level Associate degree (occasionally a high school diploma and on-the job training)
Degree Field(s) EKG technology
License/Certification Licensure varies by state; voluntary certification available
Experience On-the-job training sometimes available
Key Skills Good communications and patient-handling skills; attention to detail
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 22% growth
Median Annual Salary (2015) $54,880

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Cardiac telemetry monitor technicians typically have an associate's degree in EKG technology, although it may be possible to enter the field with a high school diploma and on-the-job training. Typical courses in a cardiac telemetry monitor technician training program include EKG techniques, medical terminology, CPR, and advanced cardiac monitoring. Some states require licensure for cardiac telemetry monitor technicians, and several professional organizations offer certification in the field.

Skill Requirements

Cardiac telemetry monitor technicians must have good communication skills to explain how an EKG machine works and keep patients at ease during monitoring. Also, because cardiac telemetry monitor technicians may need to monitor several patients at once, attention to detail is paramount.

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Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that cardiovascular technicians, including cardiac telemetry monitor technicians, will enjoy a 22% increase in job openings from 2014 to 2024. This is much faster than the national average job growth, as an aging U.S. population leads to an increase in heart disease and, thus, more EKG exams. The median annual wage for these technicians was $54,880 as of May 2015, according to the BLS.

Alternate Career Options

If you're interested in cardiac telemetry monitoring, you might also want to consider other diagnostic imagine careers, such as radiologic technologist or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technologist.

Both of these careers can be prepared for through associate's degree programs. Some states require licensing. Radiologic technologists use diagnostic imaging in their examinations, including x-rays, while MRI technologists inject contrast dyes into patients and then use scanners' magnetic fields to produce the required images. From 2014 to 2024, radiologic technologists could expect faster than average employment growth of 9%, while MRI techs could anticipate about the same increases of 10%, the BLS said. As of May 2015, radiologic techs earned an annual median wage of $56,670, and MRI techs earned $67,720, according to the BLS.

In summary, cardiac telemetry monitor technicians typically need an associate's degree in EKG technology. Some states require licensure and several professional organizations offer certification in the field.

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