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Become An EKG Technician

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Working As An EKG Technician

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $68,850

    Average Salary

What Does An EKG Technician Do

Diagnostic medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including vascular technologists, operate special imaging equipment to create images or conduct tests. The images and test results help physicians assess and diagnose medical conditions. Some technologists assist physicians and surgeons during surgical procedures.

Duties

Diagnostic medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including vascular technologists, typically do the following:

  • Prepare patients for procedures by taking a patient’s medical history and answering any questions about the procedure
  • Prepare and maintain diagnostic imaging equipment
  • Operate equipment to obtain diagnostic images or to conduct tests
  • Review images or test results to check for quality and adequate coverage of the areas needed for diagnoses
  • Recognize the difference between normal and abnormal images and other diagnostic information
  • Analyze diagnostic information to provide a summary of findings for physicians
  • Record findings and keep track of patients’ records

Diagnostic medical sonographers specialize in creating images of the body’s organs and tissues. The images are known as sonograms (or ultrasounds). Sonograms are often the first imaging test performed when disease is suspected. Diagnostic medical sonographers may work closely with physicians or surgeons before, during, and after procedures. The following are examples of types of diagnostic medical sonographers:

  • Abdominal sonographers specialize in imaging a patient’s abdominal cavity and nearby organs, such as the kidney, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, or spleen. Abdominal sonographers may assist with biopsies or other examinations requiring ultrasound guidance.
  • Breast sonographers specialize in imaging a patient’s breast tissues. Sonography can confirm the presence of cysts and tumors that may have been detected by the patient, physician, or a mammogram. Breast sonographers work closely with physicians and assist with procedures that track tumors and help to provide information for making decisions about the best treatment options for breast cancer patients.
  • Musculoskeletal sonographers specialize in imaging muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints. These sonographers may assist with ultrasound guidance for injections, or during surgical procedures, that deliver medication or treatment directly to affected tissues.
  • Pediatric sonographers specialize in imaging child and infant patients. Many of the medical conditions they image are associated with premature births or birth defects. Pediatric sonographers may work closely with pediatricians and other caregivers. 
  • Obstetric and gynecologic sonographers specialize in imaging the female reproductive system. Many pregnant women receive sonograms to track the baby’s growth and health. Obstetrical sonographers work closely with physicians in detecting congenital birth defects.

Diagnostic sonography uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the inside of the body. The sonographer uses an instrument called an ultrasound transducer on the parts of the patient’s body that are being examined. The transducer emits pulses of sound that bounce back, causing echoes. The echoes are then sent to the ultrasound machine, which processes them and displays them as images used by physicians for diagnosis.

Cardiovascular technologists and technicians create images, conduct tests, or assist with surgical procedures involving the heart. The following are examples of types of cardiovascular technologists and technicians:

  • Cardiac sonographers (echocardiographers) specialize in imaging a patient’s heart and use ultrasound equipment to examine the heart’s chambers, valves, and vessels. The images are known as echocardiograms. The echocardiogram procedure may be done while the patient is either resting or after being physically active. Cardiac sonographers also may take echocardiograms of fetal hearts so that physicians can diagnose cardiac conditions during pregnancy. Cardiac sonographers work closely with physicians or surgeons before, during, and after procedures.
  • Cardiovascular invasive specialists or cardiac catheterization technologists, also known as cardiovascular technologists, monitor patients’ heart rates and help physicians in diagnosing and treating problems with patients’ hearts. They assist with cardiac catheterization, which involves threading a catheter through a patient’s artery to the heart. They also prepare and monitor patients during open-heart surgery and during the insertion of pacemakers and stents. Technologists prepare patients for procedures by shaving and cleansing the area where the catheter will be inserted and administering topical anesthesia. During the procedure, they monitor the patient’s blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Cardiographic or electrocardiogram (EKG) technicians specialize in electrocardiogram (EKG) testing. EKG machines monitor the heart’s performance through electrodes attached to a patient’s chest, arms, and legs. The tests can be done while the patient is at rest or while the patient is physically active. For a stress test, the patient walks on a treadmill and the technician gradually increases the speed to observe the effect of increased exertion.

Vascular technologists (vascular sonographers) are closely related to cardiovascular technologists and their duties are similar to those of diagnostic medical sonographers. Vascular technologists create images of blood vessels and collect data that help physicians diagnose disorders affecting blood flow.

Vascular technologists often measure a patient’s blood pressure and the volume of blood in their arms, legs, fingers, and toes to evaluate blood flow and identify blocked arteries. They complete noninvasive procedures using specialized ultrasound instruments or blood pressure cuffs to record information, such as the blood flow in arteries and veins, blood pressure (blood volume), oxygen saturation, and the presence of blood clots in the body. Vascular technologists may work closely with physicians or surgeons before, during, and after procedures.

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How To Become An EKG Technician

Diagnostic medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including vascular technologists, need formal education, such as an associate’s degree or a postsecondary certificate. Many employers also require professional certification.

Education

Colleges and universities offer both associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs in sonography and in cardiovascular and vascular technology. One-year certificate programs also are available from colleges or hospitals.

Employers typically prefer graduates of programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

Sonography, cardiovascular, and vascular education programs usually include courses in anatomy, medical terminology, and applied sciences. Most sonography programs are divided into the specialized fields that correspond to the relevant certification exams, such as abdominal sonography or breast sonography. Cardiovascular and vascular programs include coursework in either invasive or noninvasive cardiovascular or vascular technology procedures. In addition to classroom study, most programs also include a clinical component in which students earn credit while working under a more experienced technologist in a hospital, physician’s office, or imaging laboratory.

High school students who are interested in diagnostic medical sonography, cardiovascular technology, or vascular technology should take courses in anatomy, physiology, physics, and math.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most employers prefer to hire diagnostic imaging workers with professional certification. Many insurance providers and Medicare pay for procedures only if a certified sonographer, technologist, or technician performed the work. Certification is available from the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Credentialing International.

Diagnostic imaging workers can earn certification by graduating from an accredited program and passing an exam. Most of the certifications are for specialties in diagnostic imaging; for example, a sonographer can earn a certification in abdominal sonography. Most diagnostic imaging workers have at least one certification, but many earn multiple certifications.

In addition, many employers prefer to hire candidates who have a Basic Life Support certification, which shows they are trained to provide CPR.

Few states require diagnostic medical sonographers to be licensed. Professional certification is typically required for licensure; other requirements vary by state. Contact state medical boards for more information.

Important Qualities

Detail oriented. Diagnostic imaging workers must follow precise instructions to obtain the images needed to diagnose and treat patients. They must also pay attention to the screen while scanning a patient’s body because the cues that contrast healthy areas with unhealthy ones may be subtle.

Hand-eye coordination. To get quality images, diagnostic imaging workers must be able to accurately move equipment on the patient’s body in response to what they see on the screen.

Interpersonal skills. Diagnostic imaging workers must work closely with patients. Sometimes patients are in extreme pain or mental stress, and they must get cooperation from the patient to create usable images.

Physical stamina. Diagnostic imaging workers are on their feet for long periods and must be able to lift and move patients who need assistance.

Technical skills. Diagnostic imaging workers must understand how to operate complex machinery and computerized instruments.

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EKG Technician jobs

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EKG Technician Demographics

Gender

Female

75.5%

Male

22.7%

Unknown

1.8%
Ethnicity

White

77.7%

Hispanic or Latino

12.2%

Asian

7.4%

Unknown

1.8%

Black or African American

0.8%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

53.7%

French

11.0%

Hindi

7.3%

Polish

4.9%

Portuguese

3.7%

Gujarati

2.4%

Korean

2.4%

Hebrew

1.2%

Vietnamese

1.2%

German

1.2%

Romanian

1.2%

Albanian

1.2%

Persian

1.2%

Tagalog

1.2%

Serbian

1.2%

Russian

1.2%

Italian

1.2%

Marathi

1.2%

Bengali

1.2%
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EKG Technician Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

13.8%

Eastwick College

6.9%

Hinds Community College

6.2%

Allied Health Institute

6.2%

College of DuPage

5.4%

Midlands Technical College

5.4%

Liberty University

5.4%

Northern Virginia Community College

4.6%

Star Technical Institute

3.8%

Tri-County Technical College

3.8%

University of North Texas

3.8%

Brown University

3.8%

Orange Coast College

3.8%

De Anza College

3.8%

Miami Dade College

3.8%

Union County College

3.8%

Mohave Community College

3.8%

Dutchess Community College

3.8%

Central Michigan University

3.8%

Wor-Wic Community College

3.8%
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Majors

Nursing

19.7%

Medical Assisting Services

15.5%

Medical Technician

11.7%

Business

7.4%

Health Care Administration

7.1%

Biology

5.0%

Kinesiology

4.1%

Psychology

3.5%

General Studies

3.3%

Nursing Assistants

3.3%

Criminal Justice

2.7%

Health Sciences And Services

2.5%

Medicine

2.3%

Pharmacy

2.2%

Physician Assistant

1.9%

Public Health

1.7%

Physiology And Anatomy

1.6%

Liberal Arts

1.6%

Education

1.6%

Health/Medical Preparatory Programs

1.5%
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Degrees

Other

32.0%

Bachelors

23.1%

Associate

18.0%

Certificate

12.1%

Masters

6.9%

Diploma

4.9%

Doctorate

1.6%

License

1.5%
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Top Skills for An EKG Technician

HolterMonitorsPerformEKGTherapeuticProceduresCardiacStressTestsHeartRhythmsElectrocardiogramMachineEmergencyRoomLaboratorySpecimensCardiologyEquipmentPatientCareBloodPressureVitalSignsPhlebotomyStatEKGTreadmillECGMedicalRecordsTestResultsMedicalHistoryCustomerService

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Top EKG Technician Skills

  1. Holter Monitors
  2. Perform EKG
  3. Therapeutic Procedures
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed emergency and scheduled EKG's, set up Holter monitors in the emergency room and performed patient education.
  • Perform EKG's, CPR, Phlebotomy, setup and assist physicians
  • Assisted physicians in the performance of various diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in the Electrophysiology Labs.
  • Performed EKGs and cardiac stress tests on both inpatients and outpatients.
  • Responded to code blue events to facilitate a continuous monitoring of the patient's heart rhythms.

Top EKG Technician Employers

EKG Technician Videos

EKG Technician Salary

EKG Technician- Tiffany

How to become a EKG Technician

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