There are many reasons to consider EKG and ECG training. An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) is a medical test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of the heart. The position of an EKG technician is one of the most important in the medical field. They are one of the first people called upon when someone is admitted to a hospital or who is ill at a doctor’s office. Their responsibility is to attach electrodes to a patient’s body at specific points to record their heart actions on an EKG machine tape. It is their report that allows the doctor to diagnose and monitor a patient’s cardiac problems. Those with advanced EKG training also perform Holter monitoring and stress testing. The Holter monitoring is done by attaching a machine to the patient and, after twenty four hours of normal activity, checking the recorded impulses. The stress testing is done by connecting a patient to the EKG machine and then monitoring the heart activity while he or she walks on a treadmill.
EKG and ECG Training and Education
It is possible to train for this position in a community college or career training school as a bachelor’s degree is not required. During the course of study, the student learns how to operate an electrocardiogram as well as other duties. A thorough knowledge of the EKG techniques will be taught, with most courses completed in one semester.
Some courses may include classes in CPR, medical billing, phlebotomy, medical transcription and other things connected with the medical field in addition to the EKG tech training. This extra training opens a vast array of opportunities for other types of employment if desired. Topics such as CPR are especially important in case a patient should go into cardiac arrest when having an EKG.
EKG certification falls under Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians and Vascular Technologists requirements, and depending on the state may not be required. However, cardiovascular technicians who may want to work as EKG technicians generally train on the job, where program take 4 to 6 weeks to complete.
One-year certification programs are also available from community colleges as noted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, while certification may not be required, employers tend to consider those have received some sort of formal training. Where courses are offered, a listing may include:
- Disease Transmission and Control
- Medical Insurance Coding
- Medical Billing
- Clinical Rotations (Practicum)
A certification examination is given by the Cardiovascular Credentialing International for those wishing to be certified. While the majority of the jobs only require the necessary education, having this certification is usually a big advantage in obtaining employment. Licensing is according to the laws in the state where one is working.
EKG Technician Careers
A trained EKG technician can find employment in hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices and anywhere they are needed to check a patient with chest pains. They will be expected to set up the EKG machine, prepare a patient for an EKG, and observe the printout to be sure the machine is working correctly.
They will then present their findings to the physician in charge and clean up the room following the exam. Some large companies also employ EKG technicians for pre-employment physicals, as well as insurance companies who wish to determine the extent of cardiac complaints.
Estimated Income and Projected Career Outlook
The salary for an EKG technician has a wide range, depending on where one is employed. The general overall total is from $38,571 to $66,797, with an average of $49,730. Texas is one of the highest paying states, with an annual mean wage of $70,690.
The median annual wage of cardiovascular technologists and technicians and vascular technologists was $49,410 in 2010 (Bureau of Labor Statistics – BLS). The lowest 10 percent earned below $26,610 while the top 10% made over $77,020. The employment is expected to grow by 29% from 2010 to 2020.
The BLS predicts an increase in demand for these technicians of 24 percent through 2018. This is attributed to an aging population and the prevalence of heart disease. It has also been predicted that employment in this field will advance because of new advances in vascular technology and sonography, thus eliminating the need for more serious invasion procedures. It is reported to be the fastest growing of all occupations on record, making EKG training and education an important part of the health care industry.