How to become an EKG technician

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Are you intrigued by the world of healthcare and fascinated by the human heart? Are you looking for a rewarding, hands-on career in the medical field that doesn't necessarily involve years of expensive medical school? If so, becoming an Electrocardiogram (EKG) Technician might be the perfect choice for you. In this blog post, we will detail the process of becoming an EKG technician, discussing program costs, different types of programs, and some examples of schools offering this specialized training.

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What is an EKG Technician?

An EKG Technician is a healthcare professional who performs diagnostic tests to aid doctors in identifying and treating cardiovascular problems in patients. These technicians are essential members of the patient care team and work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and diagnostic laboratories.

How to Become an EKG Technician

Becoming an EKG technician typically requires the completion of a post-secondary non-degree award, such as a diploma or certificate, which can usually be achieved in less than a year. The general steps to become an EKG technician include:

  1. High school graduation or GED - although a high school diploma or GED isn't always required (community colleges and other accredited schools require a HS diploma whereas private schools generally don't)
  2. Completing an EKG technician program
  3. Gaining certification
  4. Landing your first job and gaining experience

Costs and Types of EKG Technician Programs

The cost of becoming an EKG technician varies widely depending on the type of program, its duration, and the institution. Generally, EKG training programs cost between $1,000 and $4,000.

There are two main types of EKG technician programs:

  1. Certificate Programs: These are short-term programs, usually lasting 6 to 12 months, providing all the necessary knowledge and skills to start working as an EKG technician.

  2. Associate Degree Programs: These are longer programs, typically lasting two years, and offer a more in-depth study of cardiovascular technology along with a broader general education. While they cost more and take longer, they can provide more comprehensive training and potentially more career opportunities. They may also train students in other types of diagnostic technologies.

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Schools Offering EKG Technician Programs

There are many schools across the country that offer programs for EKG technicians. Here are a few examples:

  1. San Diego State University (SDSU): SDSU offers an EKG Technician Certificate Program that can be completed in as few as 10 weeks. The cost for this program is approximately $2,499.

  2. Community College of Philadelphia: This institution offers a one-semester EKG Technician Training program for about $1,450.

  3. Bunker Hill Community College: Located in Boston, this college offers a two-semester EKG Technician Certificate Program for approximately $4,000.

  4. Foothill College: Located in California, Foothill College offers an Associate Degree in Electrocardiography, which is a two-year program. The cost for this program is about $6,000.

Certification for EKG Technicians

Once you have completed your EKG Technician program, you will want to become certified. Certification not only demonstrates your competency in the field but also makes you more attractive to potential employers. While not all states require certification, it is highly recommended and often preferred by employers.

The primary bodies offering certification for EKG technicians include:

  1. Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI): They offer the Certified Cardiographic Technician (CCT) certification, for which you must pass an exam to attain.

  2. National Healthcareer Association (NHA): They offer the Certified EKG Technician (CET) certification. The NHA requires successful completion of the certification exam, and that you have completed an EKG/ECG training program or have at least one year of work experience in the field within the last three years.

  3. American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians (ASPT): The ASPT offers an Electrocardiograph (EKG) Technician exam for those who have been working in the field for at least six months.

  4. National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT): They offer a certification exam for aspiring EKG technicians.

The exam fees typically range between $100 and $200. The certification process generally includes a combination of hands-on practical assessments and written multiple-choice tests.

To prepare for certification exams, many candidates take advantage of study guides and practice tests that are available online. Keep in mind, however, that these exams are rigorous and will test the full scope of your knowledge and skills in EKG technology.

Remember, becoming an EKG technician is not only about finding the right school or program, but also about finding a career path that fits your personal interests and long-term goals. It's essential to research thoroughly, visit potential schools, and meet with academic and career advisors to make an informed decision about your future in the healthcare field.

In the rewarding field of healthcare, EKG technicians play a vital role. With a blend of technical skill, patient interaction, and critical thinking, a career as an EKG technician can be a stepping stone to a dynamic and fulfilling career in healthcare.

Dreambound has written dozens of in-depth guides on how to get started in this field, with information specific to your city. If you're located somewhere else or thinking about moving, check out some other guides we've written:

Athena Kan
Written by
Athena Kan

Athena is Co-founder and CEO of Dreambound.

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