Telemetry technicians, or electrocardiograph (EKG) technicians, perform electrical impulse testing on patients' hearts primarily to take stress factor readings. Most training for EKG technicians is done as in-house or employer-based training, and the only prerequisite is a high school diploma or GED. The amount of time put into a certification course varies widely from one week to eight months, with most programs averaging from 4-6 weeks. Courses include basic heart anatomy, electrocardiograph monitoring machine information and electrical impulse tracing interpretation.
Successful completion of the course qualifies prospective EKG technicians to take the American Society of Phlebotomy's electrocardiograph technician certification exam, which is seen as a measure of professionalism by employers.
Certificate in Telemetry Technology
Besides classroom and hands-on practice, students in a telemetry certification course also focus on electrocardiography medical terminology and other relevant topics, such as:
- Patient safety training
- Electrical conduction of the heart
- EKG reading interpretation
- Patient preparation
- EKG equipment troubleshooting
Employment opportunities for all cardiovascular technologists and technicians were expected to increase by 22% from 2014-2024, according to a report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This increase was due primarily to public awareness campaigns and more people opting for preventative or less invasive medical procedures.
The majority of electrocardiograph technicians work in hospitals and sometimes specifically in cardiology departments. According to Payscale.com, as of October 2016, EKG technicians earned a median wage of $30,422 annually, or around $13.00 per hour.
Continuing Education and Training
Electrocardiograph technicians learn their trade through on-the-job training from cardiologists and electrocardiograph technician supervisors. Employers often prefer to train employees who already have experience in the medical health field. Continued training can open up opportunities as an electroencephalography technician, registered nurse or electrocardiogram monitor technician.
Telemetry training programs offer current health care professionals the opportunity to continue their education. Through this on-the-job training, they can obtain the necessary skills to earn professional certification as EKG technicians and provide useful diagnostic information to physicians.