How To Become an EKG Technician
In the past, becoming an EKG technician could be done by simply being cross-trained at a hospital by someone who was a seasoned EKG tech. While this is still a possibility, those who are not currently in a related health care role will find that the best way to get a job is to complete a formal education program at an EKG technician school.
Here are the first two steps you'll need to take on the path toward a career as an EKG tech:
- Meet education program prerequisites by completing a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent. During high school, it would be helpful to take courses in biology, physics and anatomy.
- Research EKG education programs, including those where you can earn an award certificate or associate degree. Find a school that supports your career goals.
EKG technician certification
Once you've completed your education, your next step might involve seeking a certification. While certification is not mandatory, many employers now prefer that their staff meet national standards for performing EKGs. Two organizations offer exams for certification:
- The American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians (ASPT) offers an EKG examination that leads to official certification. In order to qualify for the exam, you must be a member of ASPT. Membership is available to anyone who works in health care involving patient care. To take the exam you must have graduated from a formal EKG education program and have six months of experience. Currently, the examination fee is $55, plus the cost of membership in ASPT.
- The Cardiac Credentialing International organization offers for different levels of Certified Cardiographic Technician (CCT) certification. All applicants must have earned either a high school diploma or a general education diploma (GED). Depending on the level of certification, applicants will also need to provide supporting documentation. Currently, the exam fee for all levels is $160.
Before taking either exam, applicants should be familiar with topics and tasks such as:
- Basic cardiovascular anatomy and physiology
- Pre-procedural activities
- Performing ambulatory monitoring
- Performing resting EKG
- Stress test techniques
- Holter monitoring
- Cardiac medications
- Troubleshooting EKGs
- Rhythm analysis
Finding a job as an EKG technician
Once you've completed your education and you have your certification in hand, it's time to start your career. Be sure to check out local job listings, paying particular attention to whether passing an electrocardiograph (EKG) technician examination and and earning certification is a requirement of employment. Look for opportunities at different types of places, such as local hospitals and outpatient centers. If you have any previous experience in health care, it's a good idea to highlight it on your resume.
Those interested in EKG may also be interested in the following:
- The American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians, http://www.aspt.org/
- Certified Cardiographic Technician (CCT), Cardiovascular Credentialing International, http://cci-online.org/content/certified-cardiographic-technician-cct