An electrocardiogram (EKG) is a test that measures the rate and rhythm of the heart’s electrical activity. An EKG technician is a medical professional that has been trained and certified to use EKG equipment to perform tests on patients. EKG technician training helps students gain the knowledge and skills necessary to become certified and start a career in the allied healthcare field.
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EKG Technician Training Overview
EKG technician training programs vary from state to state, but the role of the EKG technician doesn’t widely vary. The main goal of any EKG technician training program is to prepare each student to effectively and efficiently administer EKG tests, record patient data, and provide results to physicians and other medical staff. To accomplish this, most EKG tech programs will include the following types of courses:
- Human physiology and anatomy
- Operating EKG equipment
- CPR and first aid
- Medical terminology
EKG Technician Training Duration
The EKG technician training program is generally fairly short. Most programs can be completed within one year. Some colleges and accredited training centers offer programs that can be completed within one semester. Many states require a practicum before the student can be certified, slightly extending the educational period prior to work.
EKG Technician Salary
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tracks EKG technician salary under the title “cardiovascular technologist.” According to the BLS, the average annual EKG technician salary is $49, 410, or about $24 per hour. Salary is usually commensurate with experience and based on various economic variables. The most important factors determining salary is geographic location and cost of living. The BLS found cases where EKG technician salary was as high as $77,020.
EKG Technician Job Outlook
One of the most common worries of new students when choosing a career path is whether or not there will be well paying jobs when they graduate. The BLS projects that EKG technician jobs will grow 29% between 2010 and 2020. That’s a growth rate much faster than other occupations in the U.S. With such a fast growth rate, the BLS anticipates over 14,000 new EKG technician jobs within this period. Finding EKG technician jobs is easy. Check out large job sites like Monster or Indeed.com to find vacancies and pay rates.
Important Qualities of EKG Technicians
Becoming an EKG technician isn’t just about passing classes and getting certified. Because EKG techs work directly with patients and other medical staff, there are some key personal qualities that EKG technician training helps students build.
EKG technicians must pay close attention to detail when taking tests and recording data. They must also be able to follow exact instructions from physicians to help make proper diagnoses.
As an EKG technician, you will be working alongside other individuals, as well as providing direct patient care. Being able to collaborate with your coworkers and relate to patients is an important quality.
EKG technicians spend most of their day on their feet. It is important to have the physical stamina to work in a fast paced environment, compared to an office job where most of the day is spent sitting.
One of the main focus areas of EKG technician training is to operate and maintain EKG equipment. This requires a certain technical capacity. These skills can be learned during training, but it helps if the student has basic technical skills already.