Introduction to EKG Technician Schools
EKG technicians administer and read electrocardiographs of patients. Also known as an ECG tech or cardiovascular technologist, an employed EKG technician will typically have a minimum of two years of college education, such as an associate’s degree in healthcare or medical assisting. There are many programs that allow a person to be certified to work as an EKG technician; this is one of the most popular online programs for students. Licensing/credentialing upon graduation is optional.
Choosing an online EKG Technician Program
When you are deciding on a school, you want to make sure it is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Professionals. This is the organization that accredits health science programs and will make your degree valid and accepted when you are applying for positions in the medical field. Without the proper accreditation, there is no way to ensure that you are receiving the proper level of education. Schools with accredited health science programs have met the necessary requirements to properly certify and train students for their careers.
Though your EKG technician training will be online, it will operate much like a conventional class. You will have a curriculum to stick to, along with class discussions and lectures. Lectures and other important notes and information can be found through the school’s online software. Your assignments will be posted submitted online. You will be able to reach out to your professor and classmates on an online messageboard where class discussions will take place. Many programs will require that you participate in these discussions as part of your grade.
An online EKG technician training program is great for adults who have a family and job to tend to, but want to make a career change, as well as for students who want the flexibility of an online education. These programs allow you to continue working while attending classes, so you don’t have to sacrifice your career or worry about when you will have time to study. These online programs are designed to allow you to study on your own time, at your own pace. If you have been thinking about going back to school or are considering college for the first time, there is no excuse not to try it with the flexible options online degrees offer. Working as a EKG technician can be challenging and rewarding, and there are many job opportunities for EKG techs in most regions.
How do I become an EKG technician?
After finishing your training program, you will have to pass an exam. There are three different exams, but you only have to pass one to gain certification. Which test you choose to take is up to you, although if you have a prospective employer, you may inquire about which test they prefer for hiring employees. The three exams you can take after gaining your EKG technician diploma are:
- National Certified ECG Technician (NCET)
- Certified Cardiographic Technician (CCT)
- National Certified Title of EKG Technician (NRCEKG)
After passing one of these three tests you’ll be set with all of the proper paperwork and certification to begin your career as an EKG tech.
You’ll begin with an entry level position at a hospital or doctor’s office; over 70 percent of EKG techs work in hospitals. The job itself does not change much when it comes to where you work; the difference will be the setting and type of patient you work with. It is not uncommon for EKG techs to experience “burnout” at some point in their career, similar to what nurses experience, so it is helpful to have the option to work in a different setting when that happens.
Online training has become the norm for EKG technicians and a variety of other medical technicians. Do not feel as though an online program is not the best route, as many people have completed online EKG programs and become gainfully employed after receiving certification. Accredited online programs offer the same level and quality of education as traditional schools, and a degree from one of these institutions is just as valid and accepted.
Salary is also another important factor when thinking about your future career goals. The median salary for EKG techs was about $49,000 per year in 2010. What this number shows is that half of the professionals in the field made more than that, and the other half made less than that. That is where location, facility, education, and experience come into play. Keep in mind that this field is growing due to demands in the healthcare industry, so these types of jobs are experiencing positive job growth.
Where can I work as an EKG technician?
Since this career is so versatile, EKG technicians can find work in just about any type of medical facility. This is where you can decide what type of setting you would prefer to work with and if working with the elderly interests you more than working in a hospital or doctor’s office. The flexibility allows you to be a little choosey if one place interests you more than another. If salary is a high priority, find out which type of facility and position might pay more than others before you decide on a career path.
The vast majority of EKG techs work at hospitals. Here you’ll read vitals and make patient rounds. Hospitals are often hiring for EKG techs and finding a job in this realm will not be very difficult unless you live in a small city or rural area. EKG techs often go back to school to further their education and earning potential, so new EKG techs are needed regularly.
Nursing homes are now employing EKG techs to regularly monitor the cardiology of patients. Working with the elderly looks to be a big business in coming decades as the baby boomer generation ages. Working in a nursing home may be permanent employment or you may work with the facility on a contract basis. In the latter case, you will work essentially as a freelance EKG tech and likely have several facilities you visit weekly.
EKG techs are employed by cardiologists to work in house at a private practice. These positions are more difficult to come by than working at a hospital. Typically EKG techs working for a private practice stay at their job for a long time, as private practices tend to be a close knit work environment. EKG techs will build a more personal relationship with patients in a private practice setting because they will see the patients repeatedly.
Working in a clinic, you may be on contract or work part time, and only work when the clinic needs you. Many clinics have small budgets they are working with so they can’t afford to have specialists of any type on staff. Working at a clinic, you may work at multiple clinics at once to have full time work. Clinics serving a large metropolitan area always have an EKG tech on staff.
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