Job Outlook & Salary: Certified Cardiographic Technician
Choosing a career can be difficult. Entering a career in the medical field can bring a lot of uncertainty. There are many factors involved from flexibility to salary.
You may also be worried about whether or not the job you choose is in demand or if entry into the position is difficult. If you’re in search of excitement, flexibility, and plenty of open positions, then look no further!
A career as a certified cardiographic technician (CCT), ticks all of those boxes and more.
If you’re expecting a dull nine-to-five job involving sitting behind a computer for your whole shift, you couldn’t be more wrong.
Cardiographic technicians are responsible for working with patients to assist doctors in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiac diseases, such as irregular heartbeats and arrhythmias. Technicians use a variety of instruments and methods to perform diagnostic procedures.
Cardiographic Technician Salary
Job satisfaction is important, but being able to pay the bills is a necessity. Median cardiographic tech income is around a healthy $35,100 a year. Overall, pay can range from a low of around $21,960 a year, to about $48,240 a year.
In some cases techs may be payed more than 50,000 a year, but graduates usually start at the lower end of the pay scale. For example, a cardiographic technician is an entry level position that starts off earning around $12 – $15 per hour in New Jersey.
Pay is based on experience and advanced skills, and also on region and workplace. Techs will make about $36,750 on average if they work in a hospital, while working in a laboratory will earn them about $42,690. Those employed in doctors’ offices usually receive approximately 40,050 each year.
Duties and Responsibilities
A cardiographic tech may carry out an EKG or set up a Holter monitor test. An EKG, or electrocardiogram, is a test used to examine the electrical activity of the heart. It’s done by placing electrodes (also called leads) on various points of a patient’s body. The test outputs a series of tracings on a sheet of paper, which can be analyzed by a physician.
A Holter monitor test is similar to an EKG, but the leads are only placed on the chest, and the monitor is worn for 24 to 48 hours to get a better picture of the heart’s electrical activity.
Cardiac technicians also conduct tests like stress tests. These techs hold a variety of positions from telemetry technician to cardiac monitor technician. If it involves the electrical impulses of the heart, then a cardiographic technician is likely to be conducting the physician-ordered testing.
Cardiographic techs always work with patients, but these patients aren’t all the same. Technologists may work with infants, children, pregnant women, or adults of any gender or age. They gather patient histories and discuss the procedures they’ll perform.
Not only do techs work with patients, but they work closely with doctors. Some techs will work directly with doctors by carrying out the diagnostic tests they request. Often, they discuss their interpretation of the results with medical staff like doctors and residents, making them an integral part of a patient’s cardiac care.
Where Do Cardiographic Technicians Work?
The short answer here is a lot of places. This type of work takes technicians into many different places and situations. A tech could work in a relatively calm doctor’s office or an ever-eventful hospital. Nearly 68% of techs work in hospitals, while 20% work in doctor’s offices.
Techs who work in hospitals may assist in invasive procedures, or perform diagnostic testing as ordered by physicians. They also check on patients after surgery, carrying out follow-up testing like EKGs.
From the operating room and emergency room to patient rooms, cardiographic techs need to be able to function in diverse situations when they’re in a hospital setting.
The variety of workplace environments provides flexibility, challenges, and exhilaration to its workers, depending on what they’d prefer.
Whether in a hospital or in an office, you’ll be helping to care for patients of all backgrounds with all sorts of health conditions.
What Skills Do I Need?
A career as a certified cardiographic technician requires a detail-oriented person who’s capable of following instructions well. Techs need to concentrate on a screen while examining a patient with their equipment, so a keen ability to focus is necessary in this field.
Coordination is Essential
The placement of testing equipment is important for accurate testing. Techs need to be coordinated and accurate with their placement. They may also be in dimly lit rooms and tight spaces, where there may be many obstacles to positioning instruments correctly.
Interpersonal Skills are Integral
Those aren’t the only skills needed in this profession. Practitioners must have above-average interpersonal skills, since they spend all day working with patients. Often, these patients are in pain and distress – in the midst of emergency diabetic issues, heart issues, strokes and other medical emergencies – so being able to interact tactfully and compassionately is highly beneficial.
Physical Fitness and a Good Pair of Shoes Are Helpful
Physically, cardiographic technicians should be in good shape and be able to stand for long periods of time. Patients may be immobile or need assistance, so techs need to be able to move and assist those patients when required.
Understanding Electronics is Valuable
Finally, a love of technology and electronics is helpful for techs. Since you’ll be operating electronic equipment all day and often maintaining it, an understanding of electronics is helpful. Additionally, the rise of electronic medical records makes computer skills mandatory for allied healthcare workers.
How Do I Become a Certified Cardiographic Technician?
Now that you know more about this vital and thrilling field, let’s talk about how you can become a cardiographic technician. All employers require their techs to be educated and well trained.
The most common form of training available to become a cardiographic technician is a certificate program. Many community colleges and technical schools offer programs in advanced EKG training. These programs typically include training in electrocardiograms (EKG, ECG), stress testing, holter monitoring, and telemetry monitoring. Cardiographic technician courses focus primarily on non-invasive procedures.
When searching for a good training program, and eventually a job, it’s important to realize that the job titles for a cardiographic technician can vary depending on the school and/or employer. Here are some of the most common job titles:
- EKG Technician
- ECG Technician
- Cardiac Monitor Technician
- Telemetry Technician
- Telemetry Monitor Technician
Is Certification Necessary?
The short answer is yes. While most states do not have a licensing requirement or require certification, most employers prefer it. Insurance providers are much less likely to pay for a procedure if it’s not performed by a certified technician.
Most employers are looking for certification through Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI). CCI offers a Certified Cardiographic Technician (CCT) credential for those who pass the requisite certification exam.
Certification may not be compulsory, but it will certainly show a potential employer that you’re fully qualified for the job. Adding a Basic Life Support certification on top of the CCT credential will only add to your chances of being hired by a diverse blend of hospitals, labs, and medical offices.
How Likely Is It I’ll Find a Job?
The cardiographic technician job outlook is better than most fields. Between 2014 and 2024, this field is predicted to grow by more than 20%. That’s a much higher rate of growth than the average industry. As baby boomers age and medical technology improves, this field should only continue to see more growth.
Ready to Get Started?
If you’re ready to get started or want to learn more, visit our Certified Cardiographic Technician page!