An electrocardiograph technician, also referred to as an echo tech or an EKG technician, is responsible for assisting licensed cardiologists and other medical personnel by operating equipment that monitors patient heart activity. While many echo technicians learn their craft on the job, some choose to enroll in an academic training program, such as an EKG Technician Certificate program, at a community or vocational college.
One of the primary goals of an EKG technician certificate program is to provide students with the practical training necessary to operate equipment in healthcare settings. It provides specific laboratory and clinical training in echocardiography techniques, lead placement, laboratory assisting and electrocardiography equipment. Another goal of the program is to prepare aspiring echo techs to pass the electrocardiograph technician exam given by the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians, and thereby earn national certification in the field.
These programs are frequently available online. Applicants must have a high school diploma or its equivalent for admission. Individuals interested in becoming EKG technicians should be prepared to study and work in a hospital or health care environment.
Certificate Program in Electrocardiography
Students enrolled in an EKG technician certificate program gain an education in human anatomy, medical ethics and the cardiovascular system. They also study the healthcare system and basic medical procedures. Course topics include:
- Anatomy of the heart
- Human physiology
- Medical disease processes
- Patient contact procedures
- Holter monitoring
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not compile data specifically on echo technicians. However, the BLS reported that cardiovascular technologists and technicians held 52,000 jobs in 2014 (www.bls.gov). The median annual salary for those workers was $54,880 in 2015. The BLS also estimated that the demand for these professionals will rise by 22% between 2014 and 2024.
EKG technicians can gain certification by completing an examination given by the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians. More and more employers are requiring cardiovascular technicians, including echo techs, to gain these credentials before applying for jobs in the field.
In electrocardiograph technician certificate programs, students learn about key concepts like human anatomy and physiology, heart activity monitoring, ethics, the inner-workings of the healthcare system and medical procedures. Program graduates can go on to earn the professional certifications increasingly required to land a job in this field.