Choosing an online EKG program means being limited to diploma or certificate programs, because fully online degree programs in this discipline are rare. Usually with the online diploma or certificate programs, clinical training is required alongside the online coursework.
How to Select an Online EKG School
The electrocardiogram (EKG) machine tracks electrical impulses in the heart. EKG technicians must learn how to use this equipment and work with patients, as well as understand how to read and interpret the test results. Online EKG training programs are extremely rare; however, students who are seeking online education options in this field can find both EKG diploma programs and medical assisting certificate programs with an EKG concentration. Both types of programs typically require clinical training in addition to online courses. Students must then weigh the accreditation factors.
Clinical Study and Experience
All accredited programs require hands-on training. Some colleges require students to contact a healthcare provider near their location and arrange for a period of clinical trials. Other colleges use a hybrid program format, in which most classes are taken online and clinical classes are completed on campus.
Accreditation and Certification
Prospective EKG technicians may wish to check that the schools under consideration are properly accredited. Graduation from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs or a similar accrediting authority program is required in order to seek certification as National Certified ECG Technicians or Nationally Registered Certified EKG Technicians, two of the most noted certifications for EKG professionals. Programs that do not require a clinical period are often not accredited.
Online EKG Program Options
Online Electrocardiograph Technician Diploma
An electrocardiograph technician diploma program is available online by select institutions. These programs are also accompanied by clinical requirements, which may be handled through a student's local healthcare center and administered by licensed healthcare professionals. Education methods for such programs may include text or video-recorded lectures, forum discussion, live audio or text discussions, interactive activities, e-mail assignments and online examinations. The program consists of courses in:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Cardiovascular diagnostic procedures
- Electronic health records
- Medical terminology
Online Medical Assisting Certificate with an EKG concentration
Medical assisting certificate programs with an EKG concentration are available as hybrid programs that involve some online classes and some in-person clinical activities. These programs typically cover a variety of subjects, going beyond EKG training to the administration of intravenous therapies or other similar subjects. The online education portions of such a program are normally handled via education software that combines forum and e-mail communication with real-time testing and assignment capabilities. Common courses for these programs include:
- Medical terminology
- Human growth and development
- Medical diagnostics
- Medical assistant skills
Schools with Online EKG Programs
Since fully online EKG degree programs don't exist, students are limited to diploma or certificate programs in this field if they want to get training online. Such programs often have names like 'medical assisting' or 'electrocardiograph technician.' Even these programs require hands-on training. Students are usually able to coordinate this with local healthcare centers.
For example, San Francisco State University has an EKG technician online certificate program, which requires at least a high school diploma for entry. This program must be completed within six months, and all courses allow frequent communication with the instructors and fellow classmates. Best American Healthcare University has an online EKG technician diploma course that comes with a textbook. Fees for the certification exam are included in the course cost, and students can sit for the exam at their nearest testing center.
Training to become an EKG technician requires some willingness to appear in an in-person setting for training, whether it is through a school or by contacting a local healthcare center yourself. Training to become an EKG technician is rare online, but you can usually find diploma or certificate programs to suit your needs.