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EKG technicians – also known as electrocardiogram technicians – monitor and test a patient’s cardiovascular performance using EKG equipment.
EKG Technician Salary
The median EKG tech salary in the United States is $50,000 per year. The lowest 10% of EKG technicians earned around $27,000, but the top 10% earned salaries exceeding the $77,000 mark.
Most of the ekg tech jobs will be found in hospitals, but some doctor’s offices also staff this position. EKG techs typically work standard 40 hour weeks, although the occasional weekend will also be required. EKG technicians working in labs tend to put in longer working hours and may be on call.
EKG Technician Job Description
An EKG technician is a cardiology technologist with specialized training in operating equipment used to measure a patient’s heart performance. By attaching electrodes to a patient’s body and recording the electrical impulses transmitted by a patient’s heart with an EKG – also known as an electrocardiogram – the technician provides the data to the patient’s physician for later analysis.
EKG technician’s are typically employed in hospitals, private cardiology clinics, and laboratories, and generally work standard 40 hour work weeks with the occasional weekend. Technician’s employed by laboratories may work longer hours and be required to remain on call at odd hours.
EKG Technician Duties
- Oversee EKG test procedures
- Record EKG readings
- Perform stress tests
- Administer Holter monitoring tests
- Provide EKG test data to physicans
- Help oversee EKG test procedures
Alternative Jobs Titles
- ECG technician
- Electrocardiogram technician
- Cardiovascular technician
How To Become An EKG Technician
Education & Training Requirements
While most cardiovascular technologists and technicians obtain a 2 year associate’s degree or even 4 year bachelor degrees in their profession, cardiovascular technicians who specialize in EKGs are usually trained by their employer on the job in a 4 – 6 week training program. In terms of formal education, a minimum of a high school diploma or its equivalent is required.
Some EKG technicians will take a 1 year certification program, which can replace on-the-job training, and may also be preferred by some employers. EKG technicians will also find it helpful to at least have some background in science and health-related courses in high school.
High School Sample Courses
- Basic Science
EKG Program Sample Courses
- EKG equipment operation
- Cardiovascular System Functions
- Labs covering material covered in class
- Possible clinicals to give students hands-on experience at a facility offering EKG tests
Certification & Licensing
While EKG technician certification is not necessary to work as an EKG technician, many employers will require the completion of a 1 year certification program, especially since Medicare and many other health-insurance companies will only cover the patient’s procedure if it is performed by a Certified EKG Technician (CET). Obtaining the designation of Certified EKG Technician can greatly increase the chances of employment.
The CET exam consists of 110 multiple choice questions, and the taker will have a little less than two hours to complete it. This exam costs $110 to take. In order to keep the CET designation, one must complete 10 continuous educational credits per year and pay an annual fee of a little under $80.
EKG Technician Job Outlook
The job outlook for EKG techs looks excellent, as career opportunities for cardiovascular technicians and technologists are projected to grow 29% from 2010-2020. This is significantly faster than the average job growth for other occupations. As the baby boomer population ages, the need for EKG technicians will continue to grow, and as medical imaging technology advances, hospitals and labs will replace more currently invasive procedures with less invasive, more affordable imaging options.
Employment opportunities for EKG techs are expected to grow more rapidly in private diagnostic laboratories and doctor’s offices, although hospitals will still employ the majority cardiovascular technicians.