Electrocardiograph Technician Training Overview
Electrocardiograph technicians, also known as EKG technicians, assist physicians and other medical professionals by performing laboratory, patient care and office duties. EKG technicians are valued in health offices for their targeted level of knowledge and ability to work with a range of patients.
Performing electrocardiographs are just a portion of the duties these trained technicians are capable of doing. Electrocardiograph technicians may also prepare patients for examination, assist with other procedures, maintain patient records and schedule appointments.
Training is often essential for careers in the field. While no career training program can guarantee a particular career or salary, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that EKG technicians with formal training and certification should have the best job opportunities. Take a look at your training options and take your first step towards a rewarding career in the health care industry.
Electrocardiograph Technician Training: Degrees and Coursework
While on-the-job training has long been a popular path for electrocardiograph technicians, certification for aspiring EKG technicians is becoming a more well-traveled option in the modern job market. One-year certification programs are common and some 2-year schedules give students the chance to gain specific in-depth experience. Training programs with specific device and stress testing education may give students an advantage over those with basic EKG technician training.
A typical electrocardiograph technician training program will cover the following fundamentals:
- Anatomy, physiology and medical terminology
- Recordkeeping, accounting and insurance processing
- Laboratory techniques and pharmaceutical principles
- Analysis of cardiac rhythms
- Patient relations and ethics
Formal training is designed to make you comfortable in the medical office setting; technical training helps you perform the functions of your job as a technician; and administrative and clinical training work to make you familiar with the tools and technology of the trade. Additionally, medical terminology courses help familiarize you with complex medical phrases.
Graduates of approved EKG training programs may be eligible to take the EKG Technician exam administered by the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians (ASPT). Without formal training, you must be a member of the ASPT and have at least six months of practical experience.
Electrocardiograph Technician Career Outlook
Cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including electrocardiograph technicians, earned mean annual wages of $49,730 in 2009, the BLS reports. The 90th percentile earned $76,220, while the 10th percentile made $25,940. However, it is important to note that salary may vary depending on where you are employed:
- General Medical and Surgical Hospitals: $48,830
- Offices of Physicians: $53,000
- Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories: $54,740
- Other Ambulatory Health Care Services: $49,000
- Outpatient Care Centers: $48,850
Big employment gains are expected for electrocardiograph technicians in the coming years. The BLS reports that job opportunities for all cardiovascular technologists and technicians are expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations, with 11,900 new jobs entering the industry between 2008 and 2018, equalling an increase of 24 percent. Reasons behind this projected increase include an aging population, rising risk of heart disease and a rise in preventative detection and treatment.
According to the BLS, technicians who have multiple credentials and the ability to perform a broader range of job functions will have the best career prospects. In particular, training in Holter monitoring and stress testing are considered essentials for the career, giving technicians a leg up on nursing aides and others who can perform basic EKG tests. As with any career, the more specialized knowledge you have, the more valuable you are to potential employers.
Boost your resume potential, expand your knowledge and prepare for a rewarding health care career with EKG technician training. Explore your technician training options today.
Resources for Electrocardiograph Technicians