What is an EKG Technician?

An EKG technician (aka electrocardiograph technician) is a certified medical technician who operates diagnostic equipment.

These specialists monitor and record their patient’s electrical signals and cardiovascular health to determine their health status.

They also interpret the results and present them to medical specialists like physicians for diagnosis and patient treatment.

As a result, EKG technicians are vital for testing patients’ cardiovascular health, so they receive adequate medical care.

What do EKG Technicians do?

EKG technicians play a significant role in understanding patients’ cardiovascular health and potential heart problems.

As a result, they perform numerous duties in healthcare facilities to monitor the health of their patients.

It includes educating patients about the EKG process, utilizing EKG equipment, performing EKG tests, interpreting EKG results, conducting stress tests, and monitoring the patient’s heart.

They’ll also assist registered nurses and physicians with procedures and manage various administrative duties.

Most EKG technicians work directly with patients and healthcare professionals.

Therefore, they must ensure patients remain comfortable, safe, and informed throughout the procedure.

EKG Technician Responsibilities:

  • Educate patients about EKG testing
  • Review medical histories
  • Utilize EKG diagnostic equipment
  • Clean and maintain EGK tools
  • Conduct stress tests
  • Monitor and track patient vitals and heart health
  • Assist healthcare professionals during procedures
  • Ensure patient safety and comfort during testing

Where Do EKG Technicians Work?

EKG technicians work in various settings that require frequent monitoring of an individual’s cardiovascular health.

It includes hospitals, ambulatory vehicles, physician offices, and healthcare clinics.

Occupational Settings:

  • Hospitals
  • Physician offices
  • Private practices
  • Cardiovascular departments
  • Outpatient care centers
  • Diagnostic labs
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Community clinics

Essentially, EKG technicians operate at healthcare facilities that benefit from EKG testing.

Necessary Skills

EKG technicians must understand how to operate diagnostic equipment and interpret EKG results.

As a result, they need to understand cardiac physiology, pathology, and arrhythmias.

EKG technicians may identify potential health issues but cannot diagnose and treat them.

Diagnosing and treating medical conditions is the responsibility of the physician or primary care provider.

EKG technicians must also understand when patients have cardiovascular problems like a prior or potential heart attack.

It’s vital to examine whether a patient has experienced health problems, is recovering, or is at risk of health issues. 

Any recognized health issues must be immediately sent to a registered nurse and physician for further medical treatment.

EKG technicians work with registered nurses, physicians, and other specialists to ensure patients receive adequate care.

Therefore, they must have good communication skills, a team-oriented mindset, and understand medical terminology.

Performance-Based EKG Testing

Aside from being used in the medical field to monitor patient health, organizations use EKG tests during athletic training and examinations.

It enables them to understand how the athlete’s heart and cardiovascular system respond to a particular stressor.

In these cases, EKG technicians may have athletes perform EKG tests on a treadmill or swimming in a pool.

This information helps athletes adjust their training intensity and regimen to perform better and for longer durations.

It also enables them to identify potential health issues during training and seek professional help.

EKG Technician Salary

There is a bit of a debate regarding how much EKG technicians earn annually.

According to Salary.com, EKG technicians earn approximately $41,000 per year.

However, the annual salary varies widely between the bottom and top 10% of earners.

The lower 10% of earners make roughly $32,212, while the upper 10% earn about $53,277.

The average annual salary bumps up to $47,619 using ZipRecruiter.com nationwide estimations.

With further education and training, EKG technicians can become diagnostic medical sonographers to earn more money.

The salary for diagnostic medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists is around $75,380, based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates.

Ultimately, the best way to determine the annual salary for EKG technicians in your local area is to do a job search.

You can find EKG job salaries through sites like Glassdoor, ZipRecruiter, and institutions directly hiring EKG technicians.

Gaining experience, obtaining extra training and certification, and working for a high-paying employer is the best way to increase your income as an EKG technician.

Hospitals and large healthcare institutes typically pay EKG technicians higher wages than smaller institutions.

EKG technicians in high-demand places like cities and metropolitan areas may earn more than those in rural settings.

How To Become An EKG Technician

Becoming certified as an EKG technician is a relatively fast process.

In an accelerated program, students can complete the EKG classwork and exams within approximately four to six weeks.

Nevertheless, lengthier programs last from three months to a year.

Some certifications require EKG technicians to obtain 40 hours of monitored apprenticeship and work experience.

It’s necessary to ensure they receive adequate training before earning their certification and working as an EKG technician.

During the certification program, individuals will learn about anatomy and physiology (how the body works).

Students also learn about common diseases and medical complications that lead to cardiovascular and heart problems.

EKG Course Curriculum:

  • Cardiac Anatomy and Physiology
  • Infection control
  • Communication and legal issues in healthcare
  • History of EKG
  • EKG introduction
  • EKG interpretation
  • EKG application theory
  • EKG application procedure
  • Medical terminology
  • Electrocardiograph procedures
  • Related tests and procedures
  • The circulatory system

EKG technician training varies from one institution or state to the next.

As a result, the course students complete changes depending on the organization.

Most EKG technician course provides students with crucial medical terminology for their primary job function.

Eventually, students learn how to operate, clean, and assemble/disassemble EKG medical equipment.

They’ll also learn other fundamental tasks related to EKG testing.

EKG technicians must understand how to interpret the EKG equipment results.

They must also understand how to communicate those results to the medical professional or fitness coach.

Where to Find EKG Training Courses

You can follow several online resources if interested in learning more about becoming an EKG technician.

It includes the National Healthcare Association and the American Red Cross.

You can also visit the National Telemetry Association and the National Association for Healthcare Professionals.

These websites provide excellent information to guide students toward effective EKG technician training courses.

You can also contact a hospital, college, library, or vocational school for additional information.

Numerous colleges, vocational schools, and hospitals offer EKG technician training for qualified students.

Finally, Google is an excellent search engine for finding training programs near you.

A quick search of EKG technician training will offer multiple schools, training institutes, and vocational programs.

How Long Does it Take to Become an EKG Technician?

As previously mentioned, some individuals can become EKG technicians within four to six weeks.

Once students start their training, EKG technician courses take approximately 40 – 60 hours to finish.

There are also online programs that combine virtual and in-person lessons.

Nevertheless, there are lengthier technician programs that take several months or up to four years to complete.

These lengthier programs enable students to become sonographers with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

Sonographers can perform more responsibilities and earn significantly more than standard EKG technicians.

How Many Hours do EKG Technicians Work?

EKG technicians typically work a forty-hour work week.

However, part-time positions are available for those requiring more schedule flexibility.

Work shifts can vary from 8 to 12 hours per day depending on the employer and their needs.

Depending on the employer, EKG technicians may work morning, noon, or night shifts, weekends, and holidays.

For instance, EKG technicians at private practice may work Monday thru Friday from 7 am to 3:30 pm.

Conversely, EKG technicians at a busy hospital may work eight or 12-hour shifts during evenings, nights, and weekends.

To compensate for the more stressful schedule, busy hospitals may offer EKG technicians higher wages and salaries.

Career Outlook

The job outlook for medical sonographers, cardiovascular technologists, and technicians is relatively positive.

According to BLS.gov, job growth for these occupations is approximately 10% over the next decade.

This means EKG technicians can expect higher incomes, good career stability, and numerous health and career benefits.

In addition, EKG technicians can return to school to become sonographers and earn more money!

Healthcare professionals play an essential role in maintaining the health of a growing and aging economy.

As a result, this career is relatively recession-resistant, as most people require medical care at some point.