WHAT DO EKG TECHNICIANS DO?
They say you should keep your job close to your heart. But what if your job means getting close to someone else's heart? EKG technicians work in healthcare facilities with doctors and technologists and specialize in electrocardiogram (EKG) testing for patients. EKG machines are complex devices that monitors the heart's performance. This is done by attaching wires and electrodes to a patient's chest, arms and legs. EKG technicians monitor the readings, make sure the machine is attached properly and in working order, and records the results of the EKG tests. In addition, EKG techs might take a patient's medical history, ask questions, keep equipment in good working order, check the quality of recorded data, and help technologists and physicians during procedures.
HOW MUCH DO EKG TECHNICIANS MAKE?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lumps all cardiovascular and vascular technologists and technicians together in one group, and according to the BLS the median income for this group in 2010 was $49,410 annually, or $23.75 per hour. Technicians are less trained than technologists and therefore would receive a lower salary than this median.
WHAT ARE THE EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS?
Most EKG technicians get start their careers by getting an associate's degree. There are 4-year programs available as well, but not as common. The 2-year programs include classroom study and on-the-job training in a medical facility. Once hired, EKG technicians will be trained on the EKG by their employer.
Certification is available but not required.
JOB SKILLS AND REQUIREMENTS
- Attention to Detail: Razor focus and the ability to follow precise instructions are necessary for this job.
- Interpersonal Skills: EKG technicians work directly with patients, and must come in physical contact with them at a time when they might be scared or in pain. Good communication skills and a friendly demeanor will help.
- Stamina: EKG technicians are on their feet for many hours and may be required to lift heavy objects.
- Technical Skills: EKG technicians must be able to understand and use complex machinery.
THE FUTURE OF EKG TECHNICIANS
As the Baby Boom generation ages, more people will need medical attention, and EKG tech jobs reflect that. According to the BLS, cardiovascular/vascular technologist and technician jobs will grow by 29% between 2010 and 2020, which is much faster than the average job.