EKG Tech Careers: Salary, Training, Employment
Electrocardiogram technicians are in demand. Whether you are already working in the medical field or want to break into healthcare, getting certified to be an EKG technician will make you more marketable. Best of all, training to be an EKG technician can be done in a matter of months. Take a tour of our website to learn about EKG courses, certifications, study guides, and jobs.
Why Should I Choose a Career as an EKG Technician?
While many sectors of the economy are shrinking, the medical health industry continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Even in an economic downturn, medical services remain in demand. And the aging population in the United States has resulted in a higher need for medical services, including the diagnostic tests which EKG technicians provide.
What is the Average Salary for an EKG Tech?
Allied health practitioners, like EKG technicians, have job stability, opportunities for advancement, competitive pay and excellent benefits. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a salary range from about $27,500 a year to over $80,000 a year for cardiovascular technology professions (a group of professions which includes EKG technicians). With a short training period, EKG techs can enter the cardiovascular technology field and begin working their way up the pay scale. It is common for EKG techs to cross-train in related specializations in order to earn more, and some employers offer tuition assistance to staff who wish to upgrade their training.
In addition to earning potential, EKG technicians have the opportunity to work directly with patients, performing important heart screenings that contribute to their health and wellness. Because EKG technicians have direct interaction with patients, they employ interpersonal skills to set the patient at ease and help them through their health care experience. Empathy and understanding are crucial aspects of this field, and most training programs offer explicit instruction on patient bedside-care.
Compared to other careers in health care, the steps to becoming a EKG technician can be accomplished in a relatively short period of time, making it an ideal entry point for even the busiest individual.
If you possess a high school diploma or GED, the next step is to begin your search for a course tailored to your needs. A growing number of colleges, universities, trade and vocational schools offer EKG technician training courses ranging from 20 to 50 hours long. Online classes are available and can be a great fit for many students. In addition to class work, all quality programs will include a hands-on component and will prepare students for one of the national certification tests. Not all states or employers require EKG technicians to be certified, but many employers prefer to hire workers who have this professional designation.
If you join an EKG training program, you can expect to study general and applied sciences, human anatomy and physiology, basic pharmacology, and basic medical electronics and medical instrumentation. Specialized instruction that will prepare you for professional certification includes EKG techniques and recognition, Holter monitoring, electrophysiology, basic cardiovascular anatomy and physiology, stress test techniques, and cardiac medications.
Many aspiring EKG technicians as well as those who have already entered the field choose to pursue an Associate’s degree in cardiovascular technology. This improves their marketability and potential for advancement. Associate’s Degrees typically take two years to complete and can be used to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in a related healthcare field, like nursing or X-ray technology.
Places of Employment
The job outlook for EKG techs looks excellent, as career opportunities for cardiovascular technicians and technologists are projected to grow 29% through the year 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.
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