An electrocardiograph technician career is an ideal choice for the person who wants to work in a medical career but doesn’t want to spend several years taking college classes in order to qualify for a good job. Electrocardiograph technician (also known as EKG technician or ECG technician) is a skilled position, but because the specialty is so focused, it doesn’t necessarily take four years to master. In addition, the job pays well, the working environments are usually very attractive and pleasant, and the prospects for job growth and higher salaries are very good in the coming years.
An EKG technician usually works in a hospital or doctor’s office, generally hand in hand with a cardiologist who specializes in treating people with heart and/or vascular problems. Most of the work revolves around operating highly sophisticated equipment (EKG machines) that details and monitors the various functions of the heart. Another common task is recording patients’ medical histories to check for past problems involving the heart or blood vessels, as well as risk factors and any medications the patient may be using. Once patients are ready, the EKG technician will prepare them for the EKG test by attaching electrodes to their limbs and upper torso. Often performed before surgery, the test will provide the cardiologist with important information about how well the patient’s cardiovascular system is functioning. Because many patients are in poor health when facing surgery, they will often be apprehensive, and it’s part of the EKG technician’s job to relieve their anxieties as much as possible, as well as to monitor them at all times and notify the doctor in case of an emergency.
Because of the highly sophisticated nature of EKG machines, many people are under the impression that an electrocardiograph technician career requires at least four years of study in order to earn a college degree. That is not the case, however. In fact, there are many programs of study available across the country that take only a couple of years to complete, which can prepare a student for an electrocardiograph technician career by conferring an associate’s degree. These are usually quite affordable, and often financial assistance is available to help cover the costs. It is true that an increasing number of colleges are offering four-year bachelor’s degrees in this area, and that some hospitals and clinics require a bachelor’s degree for entry-level jobs, but at present they are the exception. It’s still possible in most areas of the country to land an EKG technician job with an associate’s degree. No matter which degree people earn, they will first have to pass the Certified Cardiographic Technician Exam in order to enter an electrocardiograph technician career.
Because so many of the patients who need EKG services are middle-aged and elderly, job growth in the career should be much, much greater than average in the coming decades, as the U.S. experiences a wave of tens of millions of baby boomers moving into these age brackets. Salaries for EKG technicians are well above the national average and are expected to remain there for the foreseeable future. Most EKG technicians earn $42,000 to $62,000 a year, and many make substantially more. Given the high salaries and excellent job prospects in an aging America, there has never been a better time to embark on an electrocardiograph technician career.