Should I Become A Cardiac Telemetry Technician?
Cardiac telemetry is the noninvasive practice of monitoring a patient's vital signs and transferring their data from one location to another. These techs may work with postoperative or critical-care cardiac patients as well as anyone who wears remote-monitoring devices. Standing for extended periods of time might be required, along with sometimes lifting or moving patients who need assistance.
|Degree Level||None required; associate's degree is beneficial|
|Degree Field||Cardiovascular technology, cardiac sonography|
|Certification||May be required by some employers|
|Experience||0-2 years of experience as a telemetry technician may be required|
|Key Skills||Detail-oriented, good interpersonal skills, knowledge of pacemakers, able to use electrocardiogram machine (EKG)|
|Salary (2014)||$54,330 per year (Median salary)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Online job postings (October 2012)
Step 1: Earn an Associate's Degree
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that an associate's degree is the most common path to a career as a telemetry technician. Some employers may also request applicants to have some postsecondary education, usually in the form of a certificate or an associate's degree.
An accredited medical-imaging associate's degree program can teach students the necessary skills needed to work in non-evasive cardiology. Pertinent courses cover medical terminology, medical imaging, ultrasound instrumentation, cardiovascular pharmacology and echo interpretation. These 2-year programs also include a number of clinical-study courses that give students a chance to use medical equipment in a lab environment.
Step 2: Get Certified
Some associate's degree programs prepare graduates to take the certification exams leading to designations from the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) or Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI). The BLS mentioned that technicians can get certified in a number of different areas, so individuals may want to explore their options before choosing one. The National Telemetry Association offers the Telemetry Technician Certification, which shows employers that the holder meets certain standards for reading and interpreting electrocardiograms. Some certifications require holders to continue their education and go through a renewal process every few years, but the exact details depend on the particular designation.
Step 3: Obtain Experience in the Field
Most employment opportunities for cardiac technicians and vascular technologists are at hospitals, according to the BLS in 2012. Some employers may be willing to hire inexperienced technicians, but most employers require at least some experience in a hospital or as a technician in a medical setting.
- Connect with professional organizations. Organizations like the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography and the American Society of Echocardiography offer helpful resources for technicians, such as job listings for experienced workers, web courses and other educational events. Joining a professional organization can also lead to discounts on various services, such as live educational courses and events.