Certified EKG Tech: Salary, Training, & Job Prospects
Are you a fan of technology and fascinated by the human heart? Joining the allied health sector as an EKG technician is an idea that’s worth considering. It doesn’t hurt that EKG tech salary and job prospects have never been better.
Wondering what it’s like to work as an EKG tech? Want to learn how to make that happen? Here’s everything you need to know about this exciting field!
What Does an EKG Tech Do?
EKG technicians are part of the allied health sector and typically provide direct patient care in hospitals or clinics. Depending on the job description or the training program, some of the most common titles for this position are:
- Cardiac Monitor Technician
- ECG Technician
- Cardiac Monitor Technician
- Cardiographic Technician
- Rhythm Analysis Technician
- Telemetry Monitor Technician
EKG techs are also an important part of any cardiology department. Using specialized equipment (like EKG machines) to measure the efficiency of the heart, EKG techs help with routine physical exams and screening procedures before surgeries.
EKG techs will also need to comfort patients, as well as record and provide information to the overseeing physician. Clear and accurate diagnostic images are crucial so physicians can make accurate diagnoses. Some of your patients will be anxious or in pain, so you will need good communication and compassion skills. Staying in good physical shape is also crucial, as you may be expected to spend a lot of time on your feet.
What Are Some Typical EKG Tech Job Duties?
The job responsibilities of EKG technicians can be very diverse and may include using different instruments and methods to carry out diagnostic procedures while recording the results.
Depending on their education, EKG technicians may perform and administer electrocardiograms, stress testing, Holter monitoring, and telemetry monitoring tests.
An electrocardiogram (often referred to as an EKG or ECG) can determine issues with heart activity like irregular heartbeats and arrhythmias. As an EKG tech, it’ll be your responsibility to place the electrodes on the patient’s arms, legs, and chest area.
The electrodes are then hooked up to a computer to create images of the impulses transmitted by the heart. You’ll analyze and provide the data to the patient’s physician for further interpretation.
An exercise electrocardiogram (also referred to as “stress test”) monitors the heart while a patient exercises. Typically, this is done either by walking on a treadmill or pedaling a stationary bike.
As an EKG tech, you will monitor the patient’s heart rate, blood pressure, and symptoms like shortness of breath, dizziness, and chest pressure. This type of test can help determine a number of issues such as heart diseases and unexplained/post-surgical chest pain.
Telemetry is used to monitor and record heart activity for an extended period of time. Unlike EKG monitoring, telemetry receives data remotely using a portable device that’s attached to the patient. Telemetry monitoring may last anywhere from 24 to 72 hours, depending on the patient.
EKG Tech Career Outlook
The future is certainly bright for certified EKG technicians. Job opportunities for the cardiology field are projected to grow by more than 20% (not a major surprise, as cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the US).
The need for skilled EKG professionals has never been greater, and the allied health sector is filled with opportunities for development and career growth. There’s never been a better time to start working in healthcare or consider a career change within the field.
What Is an Average EKG Tech Salary?
When considering any career, job satisfaction and pay rate go hand in hand. As of 2019, the average EKG tech salary was just under $38,000 per year, but that really depends on your location, training, and professional experience. There are so many reasons to become an EKG technician, and an excellent starting salary definitely helps!
How Long Is EKG Technician Training?
While certification isn’t required, many insurance providers only cover procedures carried out by a certified EKG technician. Certifications are also a great way to show that your skills are current, and should get your resumé on top of the pile.
A Cardiac Monitor Technician (CMT) program is a fast, affordable certificate program offering classroom education and an internship. This program can even be completed in approximately 3-6 months.
Your training should include non-invasive cardiology and field-specific instruction on stress testing, ambulatory monitoring, and rhythm analysis. You’ll get to spend more time on the subjects that you’re interested in while gaining knowledge and confidence to succeed in your future career.
Most EKG techs get certification through the Certified Cardiographic Technician (CCT) or Certified Rhythm Analysis Technician (CRAT) exams offered by Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI). You may also consider becoming a Certified EKG Technician, which falls under the umbrella of the National Healthcareer Association.
Do You Have What It Takes to Become an EKG Technician
As an EKG tech, you’ll impact the lives of patients every day. In this dynamic and exciting allied health field, you’ll also find great career prospects that allow you to thrive and grow professionally.
If joining the EKG tech field doesn’t sound like the best fit possible, why not think about other short certification programs that pay well?