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EKG vs Graduate Nursing

EKG vs Graduate Nursing

When it comes to choosing a career in healthcare, there are many options to consider. Two popular choices are becoming an EKG technician or pursuing a graduate nursing degree. While both careers provide opportunities to work in the medical field, there are significant differences in job duties, education requirements, and career outlook. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between EKG and graduate nursing and help you decide which path may be the best fit for you.

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Introduction

Before we delve into the details, let's first define what an EKG technician and a graduate nurse are.

What is an EKG? An electrocardiogram (EKG) is a test that measures the electrical activity of the heart. EKG technicians are responsible for performing this test and assisting doctors in diagnosing and treating heart conditions. They work in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings.

What is Graduate Nursing? Graduate nursing refers to advanced nursing practice beyond the level of a registered nurse (RN). Graduate nurses have completed a master's or doctoral degree in nursing and are qualified to provide specialized care, conduct research, and teach nursing students. They work in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, universities, and research institutions.

Difference between an EKG and Graduate Nursing

While both EKG technicians and graduate nurses work in the medical field, their job duties and responsibilities differ significantly.

EKG Technicians:

  • Perform electrocardiograms (EKGs) to measure heart activity
  • Prepare patients for EKG procedures
  • Monitor patients during EKG tests
  • Assist doctors in interpreting EKG results
  • Maintain and calibrate EKG equipment
  • Record patient information and maintain accurate records

Graduate Nurses:

  • Provide direct patient care
  • Assess and diagnose patients' health conditions
  • Develop and implement care plans
  • Administer medications and treatments
  • Educate patients and their families about healthcare
  • Collaborate with other healthcare professionals
  • Conduct research and contribute to evidence-based practice
  • Teach and mentor nursing students

As you can see, while EKG technicians focus primarily on performing EKG tests and assisting doctors, graduate nurses have a more comprehensive role in patient care, education, research, and leadership.

EKG vs Graduate Nursing: Job Description

Let's take a closer look at the specific job descriptions of EKG technicians and graduate nurses.

EKG Technicians:

  • Job Outlook: The job outlook for EKG technicians is positive, with a projected growth rate of 10% from 2019 to 2029. This growth is driven by an aging population and the increased need for heart disease diagnosis and treatment.
  • Salary: The median annual wage for EKG technicians is around $57,000, with the top 10% earning over $79,000 per year.
  • Work Environment: EKG technicians typically work in hospitals, clinics, and diagnostic laboratories. They may also work in emergency rooms or other high-stress environments.

Graduate Nurses:

  • Job Outlook: The job outlook for graduate nurses is excellent, with a projected growth rate of 45% from 2019 to 2029. This growth is attributed to the increasing demand for healthcare services, the aging population, and the need for advanced nursing care.
  • Salary: Graduate nurses, also known as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), earn a median annual wage of $117,670. The top 10% of APRNs can earn over $182,000 per year.
  • Work Environment: Graduate nurses work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, universities, research institutions, and private practices. They may also work in non-traditional settings such as schools, correctional facilities, or patients' homes.

EKG vs Graduate Nursing: Education and Training

The educational requirements for EKG technicians and graduate nurses differ significantly.

EKG Technicians:

  • Education: EKG technician programs are typically certificate or associate degree programs that can be completed in as little as six months to two years. These programs cover topics such as EKG interpretation, patient care, and medical terminology.
  • Certification: While certification is not mandatory for EKG technicians, it is highly recommended. The most recognized certification for EKG technicians is the Certified Cardiographic Technician (CCT) credential offered by Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI).

Graduate Nurses:

  • Education: Graduate nursing programs require a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN) as a minimum entry requirement. After completing a BSN, aspiring graduate nurses must pursue a master's or doctoral degree in nursing. These programs typically take two to four years to complete and focus on advanced nursing practice, research, and leadership.
  • Licensure: Graduate nurses must obtain a state license as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) to practice. The specific requirements for licensure vary by state but generally involve passing a national certification exam.

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EKG vs Graduate Nursing: Career Outlook and Salary

The career outlook and salary potential for EKG technicians and graduate nurses also differ significantly.

EKG Technicians:

  • Career Outlook: As mentioned earlier, the job outlook for EKG technicians is positive, with a projected growth rate of 10%. However, the opportunities for career advancement may be limited compared to graduate nursing.
  • Salary: The median annual wage for EKG technicians is around $57,000, which is slightly below the national average for all occupations. However, with additional certifications and experience, EKG technicians can increase their earning potential.

Graduate Nurses:

  • Career Outlook: The job outlook for graduate nurses is excellent, with a projected growth rate of 45%. As advanced practice registered nurses, they have opportunities for career advancement, specialization, and leadership roles.
  • Salary: Graduate nurses, on average, earn a significantly higher salary than EKG technicians. The median annual wage for graduate nurses is $117,670, which is well above the national average for all occupations.

Final Thoughts

Choosing between a career as an EKG technician or pursuing a graduate nursing degree requires careful consideration of your interests, skills, and long-term career goals. While both careers offer opportunities to work in the medical field, they differ significantly in terms of job responsibilities, education requirements, and salary potential.

If you enjoy working with technology and have a keen interest in heart health, becoming an EKG technician may be a suitable choice. However, if you aspire to provide comprehensive patient care, conduct research, and have more opportunities for career advancement, pursuing a graduate nursing degree may be the better option.

Ultimately, the decision is yours to make. Consider your passions, strengths, and long-term goals, and choose the career path that aligns best with your aspirations.

Dreambound's programs extend across various locations. Visit these blogs for a thorough exploration of the two vocations, encompassing details on their requirements and insights on how to get started:

Jessa Guzon
Written by
Jessa Guzon

Jessa Guzon is a member of the School Growth and Customer Success Team in Dreambound. She finds joy in assisting both schools and students in reaching their goals by answering their queries and connecting them with the right people. Outside her professional role, Jessa is a happy-go-lucky person with a thirst for adventure.

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