HOW TO BECOME AN EKG TECHNICIAN
What about becoming an EKG technician? Intrigued? Keep reading and see if that’s the career path that you want to go on.
WHAT IS AN EKG TECHNICIAN?
The EKG tech is the person who is in charge of using the electrocardiogram machine. This machine is used to perform diagnostics on the heart, including heart rhythm, heart rate, and other electrical activity in the heart. There are many reasons that one may get an EKG:
- Before surgery
- After surgery
- During physicals, especially in those over 40 and those who have a history of heart disease
- When patients experience chest pains
- Other times that the doctor deems it necessary to perform an EKG
The EKG technician works at a variety of places, including on emergency crews and in hospitals. The EKG technician also cleans and maintains equipment, and they maintain and process data from the EKG tests.
WHAT EDUCATION DO I NEED?
EKG technicians require less education than many allied health fields. They do need to have at least a high school diploma or GED. Many EKG technicians don’t even attend school – they usually work with a supervisor or cardiologist and are trained on sight for anywhere from 2-4 months. This is usually because they are people already in the allied health field, like nursing aides or RN’s.
If you are looking to become an EKG technician and you have no medical training, you need to pursue formal education. Many people who are exclusively EKG technicians have associate degrees, but there are some bachelor’s degree programs. There are also one-year certificate programs out there. Many times, people who want to become EKG technicians (that have no medical experience) will get a degree in order to help them make the connections they need in order to start working as an EKG technician.
If you do enroll in an EKG technician program, you will be taught a variety of skills, most of which are related directly to the machine itself. It includes the basics of EKG reading, Holter monitoring, stress testing, lead placement, and other core classes that you would need for the medical profession (sciences, etc).
DO I NEED TO BE LICENSED?
It depends on the state where you are working – some require licensure, some require licensure plus certification, some require nothing at all. Most employers prefer to hire licensed EKG technicians.
DO I NEED ANY OUTSIDE TRAINING?
Due to the nature of EKG technician training, it could all be considered “outside training.” Most of your training is on the job or learning from seminars and such.
WHAT IS THE PRIMARY SKILL SET OF AN EKG TECHNICIAN?
There are many skills that you should have if you’re considering becoming an EKG technician. Here are some of the ones you should definitely have:
- Verbal communication
- Interpersonal relationship skills
- Physical wellness – heavy lifting may be involved to move equipment or patients
- Ability to be on your feet (physically fit)
- Emotional well-being
- Critical thinking skills
- Ability to work in a fast-paced environment
- Ability to learn quickly and adapt to technology
- Mechanical aptitude
- Attention to detail
- Organizational skills
Becoming an EKG technician is a short process, but the job is very demanding. If you’re looking to be in the allied health field, it’s definitely a fast-paced way to get into it quickly. Check it out and see if it’s your future career path!