National EKG Certification Exam Information for Students

EKG technicians can take national certification exams after meeting certain education and/or work experience criteria. There are several organizations that offer certification, along with certification qualifications and exam preparation. View article »

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  • 0:49 Exam and Preparation
  • 1:29 Professional…
  • 2:59 How to Qualify for an Exam
  • 4:28 About EKG Technicians

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Video Transcript

National EKG Certification: Options

There are several EKG certification options. Let's consider the exam details and eligibility requirements for designations offered by three professional organizations.

Certification in EKG is available from a variety of professional organizations, including the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians, Cardiovascular Credentialing International, and the National Association of Allied Health Professionals. Earning a professional credential in this field can help not only EKG technicians, but also other healthcare professionals who work with EKGs. Certification is often looked upon favorably by employers and can lead to career advancement.

Exam and Preparation

In most cases, certification applicants must pass a multiple-choice exam in order to obtain a professional credential. Depending on the organization, exams can be taken in-person at approved testing centers or online. Students should be aware that payment of an exam fee is typically required. When preparing for one of these exams, the test-taker should check out the organization's official website, which may include study materials in PDF format and self-assessment tests. Some third-party organizations and schools also offer review courses for specific credentialing exams.

Professional Organizations that Offer EKG Certification

American Society of Phlebotomy Techs

The American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians (ASPT) offers a certification consisting of a formal examination which tests the individual's proficiency on topics covered in approved certificate programs. The exam costs $60, though requisite membership is an additional $30. Applicants must also submit a mounted EKG with their exam.

Cardiovascular Credentialing Int'l Exam

Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) offers the Certified Cardiographic Technician Examination. The fee for this exam is $160. The test covers five areas of practice for cardiographic technicians:

  • Pre-procedure tasks (10%)
  • Resting ECG tests (40%)
  • Stress tests (20%)
  • Ambulatory monitoring (5%)
  • Rhythm analysis (25%)

National Association of Allied Health Professionals

The National Association of Allied Health Professionals (NAAHP) offers an EKG certification exam divided into six major areas:

  • Cardiovascular system basics
  • The normal electrocardiogram
  • Lead systems
  • Identifying rhythms
  • Acquiring the ECG
  • Quality assurance and infection control

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How to Qualify for an Exam

In general, most certification applicants can take a required exam after completing an accredited educational program or gaining at least six months of on-the-job experience. However, requirements often vary among organizations.

For instance, the ASPT awards EKG certification to ASPT members who have met one of the following two criteria:

  • Five supervisor-documented ECGs
  • Verified completion of an approved EKG training program

CCI offers four pathways toward certification. Students may take the CCI certification exam if they have met one of the following standards:

  • Current enrollment in a relevant secondary education program
  • Currently working as an EKG technician
  • Have completed a degree in a related scientific field
  • Have completed two years of full-time volunteer service in the field of cardiovascular medicine

The NAAHP outlines three separate routes that individuals may take in order to qualify to sit for the exam. The applicant must:

  • Have completed an approved EKG training program
  • Have spent at least one year working as an EKG technician
  • Have received EKG technician certification from another approved national certifying agency

About EKG Technicians

EKG technicians assist cardiologists in a number of areas. Typically, they specialize in monitoring a patient's heart through Holter monitoring, which involves placing electrodes to the patient's chest and attaching a portable monitor to the patient's belt. Common job duties include:

  • Scheduling appointments
  • Monitoring patients' heart rates
  • Operating and testing equipment
  • Maintaining supplies
  • Setting up equipment for use

EKG technicians should have good communication skills and be able to work with and make patients comfortable. According to PayScale in March 2017, EKG technicians made a median annual salary of $30,764.

EKG technicians can demonstrate their knowledge and skills in the field by earning professional certification, though certification exams cover different topics and have different eligibility requirements.

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