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EKG vs Psychiatric Technician

EKG vs Psychiatric Technician

When it comes to choosing a vocational training program, it's essential to consider your interests, skills, and career goals. Two popular options in the healthcare field are becoming an EKG technician or a psychiatric technician. While both professions involve working in a medical setting, the roles and responsibilities are quite different. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between an EKG technician and a psychiatric technician, including job descriptions, education and training requirements, and career outlooks.

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What is an EKG and Psychiatric Technician?

Before diving into the differences between these two professions, let's first understand what an EKG technician and a psychiatric technician do:

  • EKG Technician:

    • An EKG technician, also known as an electrocardiogram technician, is responsible for administering and interpreting electrocardiograms.
    • They operate specialized equipment to measure and record the electrical activity of a patient's heart.
    • EKG technicians work closely with doctors and other healthcare professionals to help diagnose and treat cardiovascular diseases.
    • They may also perform stress tests, Holter monitoring, and assist with pacemaker implantation procedures.
  • Psychiatric Technician:

    • A psychiatric technician, on the other hand, works with individuals suffering from mental illnesses or developmental disabilities.
    • They provide direct care to patients and assist in their treatment plans under the supervision of psychiatrists, psychologists, or other mental health professionals.
    • Psychiatric technicians help patients with daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, and eating.
    • They also observe and document patients' behaviors, administer medications, and assist in therapeutic activities.

Difference between an EKG and Psychiatric Technician

While both EKG technicians and psychiatric technicians work in the healthcare field, their roles and responsibilities differ significantly. Here are some key differences:

  • Job Focus:

    • EKG technicians primarily focus on cardiovascular health, working specifically with the heart and its electrical activity.
    • Psychiatric technicians, on the other hand, work with individuals suffering from mental illnesses or developmental disabilities.
  • Patient Population:

    • EKG technicians work with patients of all ages who require cardiac monitoring or diagnostic tests.
    • Psychiatric technicians typically work with adults, adolescents, or children who have mental health or developmental issues.
  • Work Environment:

    • EKG technicians typically work in hospitals, clinics, or diagnostic imaging centers.
    • Psychiatric technicians can work in a variety of settings, including psychiatric hospitals, residential treatment facilities, or community mental health centers.
  • Direct Care vs. Diagnostic Testing:

    • EKG technicians focus on performing diagnostic tests, such as electrocardiograms, stress tests, and Holter monitoring.
    • Psychiatric technicians provide direct care to patients, assisting with daily activities, administering medications, and supporting therapeutic interventions.
  • Collaboration with Healthcare Professionals:

    • EKG technicians work closely with cardiologists, cardiac nurses, and other healthcare professionals to interpret test results and assist in patient care.
    • Psychiatric technicians collaborate with psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and other mental health professionals to implement treatment plans and monitor patients' progress.

EKG vs Psychiatric Technician: Job Description

Now that we have a better understanding of the differences between an EKG technician and a psychiatric technician, let's take a closer look at their job descriptions:

  • EKG Technician:

    • Perform electrocardiograms (EKGs) and other cardiac diagnostic tests.
    • Set up and operate EKG machines, stress test equipment, and Holter monitors.
    • Prepare patients for procedures and explain the testing process.
    • Monitor patients' heart rhythms and report any abnormalities to healthcare providers.
    • Assist in the insertion and removal of pacemakers.
    • Maintain accurate patient records and test results.
  • Psychiatric Technician:

    • Provide direct care to patients with mental illnesses or developmental disabilities.
    • Assist patients with daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, and eating.
    • Administer medications as prescribed by healthcare professionals.
    • Observe and document patients' behaviors and report any changes or concerns.
    • Lead or participate in therapeutic activities, such as group counseling or recreational programs.
    • Support patients in their treatment plans and help them develop skills for independent living.

EKG vs Psychiatric Technician: Education and Training

To pursue a career as an EKG technician or a psychiatric technician, specific education and training are necessary. Here's what you need to know:

  • EKG Technician:

    • Most EKG technician programs require a high school diploma or equivalent.
    • Vocational schools, community colleges, and technical institutes offer EKG technician training programs that can typically be completed in a few months.
    • These programs provide hands-on training in EKG procedures, cardiac anatomy, medical terminology, and patient care.
    • Some states may require EKG technicians to be certified, which can be obtained through professional organizations like the American Society of EKG Technicians or Cardiovascular Credentialing International.
  • Psychiatric Technician:

    • The educational requirements for psychiatric technicians vary by state and employer.
    • Some states require a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent, while others may require an associate degree in psychiatric technology or a related field.
    • Community colleges and vocational schools offer psychiatric technician programs that typically take 1-2 years to complete.
    • These programs cover topics such as mental health disorders, therapeutic techniques, pharmacology, and patient care.
    • Some states may also require psychiatric technicians to be licensed or certified, which may involve passing an exam or completing a certain number of hours of supervised clinical experience.

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EKG vs Psychiatric Technician: Career Outlook and Salary

When considering a career path, it's essential to examine the job outlook and earning potential. Here's what you can expect as an EKG technician or a psychiatric technician:

  • EKG Technician:

    • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including EKG technicians, is projected to grow 9 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.
    • The median annual wage for cardiovascular technologists and technicians was $59,410 as of May 2020, with the lowest 10 percent earning less than $30,880 and the highest 10 percent earning more than $97,370.
  • Psychiatric Technician:

    • The BLS projects that the employment of psychiatric technicians will grow 6 percent from 2019 to 2029, which is faster than the average for all occupations.
    • The median annual wage for psychiatric technicians was $36,070 as of May 2020, with the lowest 10 percent earning less than $27,340 and the highest 10 percent earning more than $62,840.

Final Thoughts

Choosing between a career as an EKG technician or a psychiatric technician ultimately depends on your interests, skills, and career goals. If you have a passion for cardiology and enjoy performing diagnostic tests, becoming an EKG technician may be the right path for you. On the other hand, if you have a desire to work with individuals with mental health issues and provide direct care, pursuing a career as a psychiatric technician may be a better fit. Consider your strengths, preferences, and long-term career prospects when making your decision.

Dreambound's programs are accessible in various locations. To gather more information about these two vocations, check out:

Sunshine Tupan
Written by
Sunshine Tupan

Sunshine is a member of the School Growth team at Dreambound, where she assists students and schools with their billing and onboarding needs. She is a licensed mechanical engineer. Outside of work, she enjoys road trips with her family, discovering cozy cafes, and exploring her love for art.

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