EKG technicians, sometimes referred to as cardiovascular technicians, monitor patients’ heart rates and aid in the diagnosis and treatment of heart problems. Playing an important role in patient health, EKG techs perform electrocardiograms, which record electrical impulses transmitted by the heart and are used to identify abnormalities in a heartbeat. Electrocardiograms are typically performed before and after operations, during physical examinations of patients over the age of 40, on those with a history of heart disease, and on patients experiencing chest pains. To pursue the career path of an EKG tech, consider learning about EKG technician schools.
Overview of EKG Technician Schools
Although some EKG technicians will be trained on-the-job, it is becoming increasingly popular for EKG techs to pursue formal postsecondary education. EKG technician training is available at the certificate and associate’s degree level.
Length and Requirements
It can take as little as nine months to complete an EKG certificate and two years to complete an associate’s degree. Postsecondary programs will typically require candidates to earn their high school diploma or GED. Some schools may also require standardized test scores.
Related Areas of Study
EKG technician programs may be combined with training in phlebotomy, medical assisting, sonogrpahy, and x-ray technology, among other healthcare areas. It is also often a core curriculum focus for patient care technicians.
Options for Advanced Study
For more advanced employment opportunities as a cardiac sonographer or cardiovascular technologist, you may also elect to pursue either an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in diagnostic cardiac sonography or cardiovascular technology, respectively.
EKG Technician Certification & Degree Curriculum
The goal of EKG technician classes is to teach students how to prepare and administer EKGs. Students will also learn about the various different roles of the EKG technician, as well as the function of the EKG department in a healthcare setting.
EKG Technician Courses
Courses may cover topics such as:
- Anatomy & physiology
- Medical terminology
- Cardiovascular systems
- Medical ethics
- Medical disease processes
- Stress testing
- 12 Lead ECG
In addition to completing coursework, you will also practice with EKG equipment and perform hands-on lab work. Lab work enables you to learn how to properly use the EKG machine, as well as practice other key job skills you need as an EKG technician.
After successfully completing EKG technician classes, you will be prepared to sit for the EKG Technician Certification (CET) exam, which is offered by the National Health Career Association. Obtaining a CET credential could be beneficial to your career, because it may lead to more job opportunities and increased pay.
Career Overview for EKG Technicians
EKG technicians typically work closely with cardiovascular technologists. Their duties may include preparing patients for EKGs, performing EKG tests, processing and assembling equipment, processing data reports, editing and delivering EKG test results to physicians for analysis, transcribing physicians’ interpretations, and maintaining inventory.
EKG techs are employed at hospitals, doctors’ offices, medical and diagnostic laboratories, and emergency care clinics. Some important skills for EKG technicians include communication skills, interpersonal skills, critical thinking skills, and the ability to work in a fast-paced environment.
Opportunities for EKG technicians to advance are available for those who pursue further training. You may choose to enroll in either an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree program in cardiovascular technology or diagnostic cardiac sonography, which can lead to a career as a diagnostic cardiac sonograpger or cardiovascular technologist.
Job Outlook for EKG Technicians
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of cardiovascular technologists and technicians is projected to grow 30% from 2012 to 2022, which is a rate that is much faster than average for all occupations. The employment of EKG technicians is expected to grow more rapidly in doctors’ offices and laboratories, because of an increased focus on outpatient care. As the baby boomer population ages and federal health legislation increases the number of people who have health insurance, the need for EKG technicians is likely to grow. EKG technicians with formal training and certification should expect to have access to the best job opportunities.
The BLS also reports that cardiovascular technicians and technologists earned a median annual wage of $52,210 in 2013. The bottom 10% earned $27,810, and the top 10% earned $82,920. The top paying employers for cardiovascular technicians and technologists are the offices of dentists, health practitioners, and physicians. The top paying states are Alaska, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, DC, and New Jersey.
Since the salary for both technicians and technologists have been reported together, the salary for technologists have likely brought up the average. It is typical for technicians to make less than technologists, because becoming a technologist requires more training and will involve more responsibility.
Starting On Your Path
If you would like to start on a quick path to a career in healthcare, becoming an EKG technician may be a great choice. Help medical professionals diagnose and treat heart problems by pursuing EKG technician training today.
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