Certificate programs for EKG, or cardiology, technicians take about a year of classroom and lab experience to complete. Students become familiar in the use of EKG equipment, learn to administer stress tests and utilize Holter monitoring.
Associate's degree programs cover many types of cardiac telemetry, including EKG technology. Programs usually have their main focus on either invasive or non-invasive procedures. Classes and lab work may cover topics including the anatomy of the heart, detecting arrhythmias and ultrasound imaging. Students must complete a clinical externship at a medical facility.
Both programs require incoming students to have a high school diploma or GED, but it is recommended that applicants for the associate's degree have prior coursework in anatomy. Graduates can apply to take the certification test from Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI). CCI offers several certifications that depend upon the level of education completed or experience in the field. While certifications are voluntary, they prove expertise to potential employers.
Certificate Programs in Cardiac Telemetry
Also referred to in some schools as a cardiology technician, the EKG technician certificate program introduces students to the various methods and machines used to monitor heart irregularities. The combination of classroom instruction and laboratory assignments provides students with hands-on experience in using EKG equipment, while teaching proper methods for lead placement. The use of stress tests and Holter monitoring are also introduced.
The following topics are usually covered:
- Medical terminology
- EKG interpretation
- Medical disease processes
- Medical ethics
Associate's Programs in Cardiac Telemetry
An associate's degree program in cardiovascular technology includes cardiac telemetry as part of an overall program offering theoretical knowledge and practical experience in non-invasive or invasive cardiac procedures, depending on the program. Students learn to recognize different types of EKG patterns and arrhythmias as part of the training. Most programs require a clinical externship component in order for students to gain hands-on experience in real-world medical situations. This associate's degree program can usually be completed in two years.
Program coursework includes a core curriculum of lecture and laboratory courses. Topics include:
- Cardiovascular anatomy
- Analysis of an EKG
- Arrhythmia recognition
- Cardiac emergency procedures
- Ultrasound imaging
Popular Career Options
Graduates of this program come away with skills that can be used for a number of professions in the field. Possible job titles include:
- Cardiovascular technologist
- Vascular technologist
- Medical equipment sales representative
Employment and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) categorizes EKG technicians as specialized cardiovascular technicians. According to the BLS, the number of working cardiovascular technologists and technicians was projected to grow 22% over 2014-2024. As of 2015, these professionals made a median annual salary of $54,880 per year, reports the BLS.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) offers the Certified Cardiovascular Technician (CCT) credential. Taking an exam is required. Graduates of a certificate program or those who are currently enrolled in a program can apply for CCT1 status. CC2 status is available for those who are employed in the field. Undergraduate degree holders are eligible to take the test for CC3 and, with the proper experience, can apply for CC4.
Preparation for a career in cardiac telemetry may start at the certificate or associate's degree level, both offering hands-on and in-class training. Associate's degree programs may take an extra year to complete but they offer more in-depth training in non-invasive or invasive cardiac procedures.