How to Become a Cardiac Monitor Tech
After a lot of careful consideration, you’ve decided to join the booming allied healthcare industry as a cardiac monitor tech, also known as a EKG technician and cardiographic technician. You know that you want to make a difference in the lives of countless patients.
Whether you’re already working in allied healthcare – or are just starting out in the industry – you’ve chosen a remarkable career path. So now that you’ve narrowed down your decision, you’ll need to enroll in a cardiac monitor program.
Though each technical school has their specifics, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide which should give you a fabulous starting point in your future career as an EKG tech!
1. Choose Your School
Finding the perfect program and location is crucial for students to become the best cardiac monitor techs (CMTs) possible. Some students hold part-time jobs while they study, so it may be wise to choose a location that’s close to home or work. That said, it’s not unheard of to move to another city or state to pursue your education.
If you live in an area with multiple CMT programs, get out and visit some campuses. See if you click with the atmosphere and like the facilities. Before your tour, make an appointment with a school representative, who will assist you in your path towards being a member of this competitive field.
Discuss Your Options with an Admissions Expert
If you want to learn about application and enrollment processes, a school representative will be your most important contact. When you meet, you’ll discuss your prior academic performance and educational goals as they relate to being a CMT student. Ask about course structure, as well as any financial aid opportunities that may be present.
2. Determine Your Payment Options
While federal financial aid is not available for most EKG training programs, there are other options available to you. Depending on your situation there may be private loans or scholarships available to you. In addition, some schools also offer interest-free payment plans.
3. Apply to an EKG Tech Program
Now that you know how you are paying for the program, it’s time to turn your school application in. Many training programs have rolling admissions schedules, which allow student hopefuls to enroll as soon as they spot a course start date on the school website.
Though plenty of schools allow their students to apply via the internet, some require hopefuls to visit the campus to make sure all of their forms are completed properly. Training programs may also request prospective students to interview with their department head and pass an entrance exam (Wonderlic SLE, Accuplacer, etc.).
You may be accepted into your CMT program on the same day of applying, so be prepared to sign an enrollment agreement and any other admission documents. If you don’t hear back immediately, don’t worry: you should have your answer within a few days.
Why is an Entrance Exam Important?
The Wonderlic, Accuplacer, and other entrance exams are great ways to measure an applicant’s competence. Will you be able to keep up with coursework fundamentals? Are you able to retain vital information? By measuring basic proficiency, the goal of these exams is to see if students will succeed in their classes.
4. Go to Orientation
The orientation is an excellent opportunity to start out CMT school on the right foot. Orientation is the perfect time to discover more about school policies and procedures. It gives you the opportunity to ask administrators and professors any essential questions that you may still have.
5. Complete Your CMT Course
Cardiac monitor tech trainees will learn a wide variety of tasks they’ll use in their daily working lives in addition to monitoring EKG machines, performing 12-Lead and 15-Lead EKGs, understanding EKG/ECG readouts, and ambulatory monitoring. Trainees will also study anatomy, physiology, and patient care and safety.
To gain hands-on experience with the tests that you’ll work with (EKG/ECG, stress testing, and Holter monitoring), you’ll be placed in a clinical internship with a mentor to help guide you. This real-world education is invaluable and will help to prepare you to be the best CMT you can be.
6. Pass Your Certification Exam
After completing your CMT program, you will be sufficiently prepared to sit for the CCT certification exam to earn your Certified Cardiographic Technician credential, and the CRAT certification exam to earn your Certified Rhythm Analysis Technician credential. Both exams are offered by Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI).
Start Your Career Today
Not only will you be able to complete your CMT education in under six months, and – because heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States – you’ll be in an incredibly stable job market, thanks to an aging baby boomer population. You’ll be able to find work not only in hospitals, but also clinics, nursing homes, and outpatient centers.
If you’re in the New Jersey area be sure to contact an admissions representative to help get you started with the cardiac monitor technician program today!