Learn how to become an EKG Technician.
There are numerous paths to becoming an EKG/ECG technician: schooling, self study, or just knowing the right person. However, with the increasingly tough job market, employers have the ability to be extremely picky. In many cases, it will pay to go the extra mile in your education. So what should you do? What degree should you get? What are the best schools? These are the questions I hope to answer for you. This page provides the information you need to help start your career as a cardiovascular technician.
What will I learn in an EKG Training Program?
While all programs will have their differences, here are some of the key points you will learn.
- Roles of the EKG technician
- Functions of the EKG department in a variety of settings
- Medical terminology related to electrocardiography
- Care & safety of patients, medical & legal aspects
- Anatomy of the heart, conduction system, and circulation system
- Electrical conduction system of the heart and the cardiac cycle
- Preparing a patient for a EKG tests
- EKG strip analysis (P,Q,R,S,T wave form interpretation)
- A review of normal sinus rhythm, sinus bradycardia, sinus tachycardia, etc.
- The 3 and 12-lead EKG placement, interpretation and troubleshooting
Do I need to go to College to become an EKG Technician?
Simply put, no. A high school diploma or GED is the only education required. In fact electrocardiogram technicians can sometimes be trained on the job. However, as with most jobs, it’s getting harder to put your foot in the door without a higher education. A formal education will help you pass an EKG Technician certification test, which is the key to the cardiovascular technician world. Although it is not technically required, for all practical purposes, you should consider it a requirement. In fact, many insurance providers such as Medicare will not pay for a procedure unless a certified cardiovascular technician performed it. Employers will be extremely hesitant to hire you if insurance providers will not pay for procedures you conduct. I highly recommend you commit yourself to formal EKG training if you intend to pursue a cardiovascular career.
What kind of EKG training should I take?
You will have many EKG training options to chose from. These can be broken into a couple different categories; Associate degrees, bachelor degrees and certificate programs. The Shorter 1 year and 6 month certificate programs are more common, but Associate’s degrees are growing in popularity. Bachelor’s degrees are becoming more popular but are still relatively uncommon. There are many personal factors to consider when determining what type of EKG Training program to pursue. The main factors to consider are your prior experience and your end goal.
Figure out what your end goal is. If becoming a cardiovascular technician is your end goal, great, this is an amazing career. But going through a 4 year bachelors program is major over-kill. You can easily get the training you need from the shorter less expensive options. However, if your sights are set on delving a little deeper into the healthcare system and your simply using EKG training as a starting position. Then a bachelors might be right for you. The second major factor is your prior experience. It is great if you have cardiovascular experience but really any other experience in medical fields can help. The shorter 1 year to 6 month programs perfect for those who have prior medical experience or training and are seeking to move into the electrocardiogram field. You will already have your foot in the door and may even have a potential opportunity lined up. In this case the shorter programs will give you exactly what you need. Those without the experience should consider seeking the extra oomph to their resume that is provided by the associates degree. The medical field can be hard to break into. Having an associates degree may give you a needed “leg up” on the competition.
What ever your situation, I highly recommend you pursue higher education to become an EKG Technician. There are various different options that you need to weigh against your own personal life. Find the right option and apply yourself to your training and will be able to pass the certification and hopefully find a job soon after.
Do different states have different requirements?
Many states require electrocardiogram technicians to be licensed and/or certified through the ASPT-Electrocardiograph Technician exam or other National Certification Exams. Although your state may not require certification, a technician with this professional designation will likely receive preference among employers. To find out the requirements in your area, contact your state medical board.
How do I find the right EKG technician school/program.
Employers will most likely pay little attention to the name of the school you attend. So finding a name brand school is really not import. You should make sure the EKG program you pick is accredited and fits your life style and budget. Other then that, most programs will get you where you need to go. If you want to make sure your EKG program is accredited, the Joint Review Committee on Education in Cardiovascular Technology reviews EKG technician programs seeking accreditation, and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Professionals accredits EKG technician programs. So check with these organizations. Upon graduation from an accredited cardiovascular technology program, you will be prepared to take the EKG certification exam. Some programs will even include this test as a part of the program.