EKG technicians work in hospitals or other medical facilities measuring heart acitvity. They are experiencing much faster job growth than the job market as a whole and can expect a median salary of around $31,000.
EKG technicians use electrocardiograms to monitor a patient's heart activity. EKG certificate programs offer training in echocardiography and teach students about the cardiovascular system. Although it is possible to secure employment that will provide on-the-job training without having completed a formal degree program, most EKG techs hold at least a certificate in their field. Certification is legally voluntary, but it may be required by some employers.
|Required Education||Certificate in EKG technology is common; some enter the field with a high school diploma and on-the-job training|
|Other Requirements||Certification may be required by employers; available through the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion, American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians and American Certification Agency for Healthcare Professionals|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||22% for cardiovascular technologists and technicians*|
|Median Salary (2016)||$31,253 for EKG technicians**|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. **PayScale.com
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Education Requirements for an EKG Technician
While aspiring EKG technicians may receive on-the-job training, many complete certificate programs at a community college or vocational school. Topics covered may include echocardiography, medical terminology, the role of the EKG technician, electrocardiography, anatomy of the heart, medical disease processes, phlebotomy and legal issues for the EKG technician.
Clinical topics covered include 12-lead placement, ventricular rhythms, sinus rhythm, basic EKG interpretation, Holter monitor use and identifying heart rhythms. Students are also provided with hands-on experience, which teaches them how to operate electrocardiograms.
Although certification may not be a requirement, many employers require EKG technicians to obtain certification. EKG technicians can obtain certification through several organizations. Requirements for certification are typically the completion of a training program and experience on-the-job. Organizations offering certification exams for EKG technicians include the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion, American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians and American Certification Agency for Healthcare Professionals.
Career Information for an EKG Technician
EKG technicians perform electrocardiograms to measure and record heart activity as a way of diagnosing and treating heart disease. Some EKG technicians are trained to perform Holter monitors or stress tests, both of which involve attaching electrodes to the patient's body in order to obtain EKG readings. The Holter monitor tracks the patient's heart over a 24-hour period, while the stress test involves using a treadmill to observe how a patient's heart responds to exertion. EKG technicians work in a variety of settings, such as hospital-based cardiology clinics, cardiac rehabilitation centers, doctor's offices and emergency rooms.
Career and Salary Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in 2014 that cardiovascular technologists and technicians would be in demand due to the aging population (www.bls.gov). This profession can expect to see employment growth of 22% from 2014-2024. EKG techs with training in stress testing and Holter monitoring will typically see better employment opportunities than those who can only perform a basic EKG. Salary information provided by PayScale.com shows that the median annual salary for EKG technicians in January 2016 was $31,253.
EKG technicians may receive on-the-job training or complete a certificate program at a community college or vocational school. Certification is available and usually includes completion of a training course as well as on-the-job experience. Certification is not required by the state, but many employers do require EKG technicians to obtain certification.