Electrocardiogram EKG Technician

Electrocardiogram EKG Technician

Electrocardiogram EKG Technician

Most of us know what an electrocardiogram (EKG) looks like — its the line that goes up and down with each heart beat, it’s where the term “flatlining” comes from. However, EKGs do more than tell whether or not a patient is alive. They convey allow doctors to diagnose potentially fatal heart conditions or blood vessel impairments. An EKG technician runs the tests that lead to these life-saving diagnoses.

Fast Facts

Minimum Degree/Certification Requirement: approved training program

Vital Skills/Knowledge: attention to detail, human anatomy, patient interaction

Average Starting Salary: around $30,000

Job Description

A technician who specializes in EKGs oversees all procedures involving an EKG test. They attach electrodes to the patient, record the patient’s readings, run stress tests and Holter monitoring tests, and deliver all results to the patient’s physician(s).

EKG technicians may work in hospitals, clinics, or laboratories. Some positions may require the technician to be available at odd hours, but most adhere to the traditional 40 hour work week. Technicians interact frequently with patients and doctors, so good interpersonal skills are vital.


Most hospitals will provide the necessary training in a 4-6 week course, where you learn how to administer an EKG test, how to chart and organize results, and how to work with patients during the process, among other important skills. Some technicians first receive an associates degree as a health technician, then specialize in EKGs.

While in high school, take challenging courses that interest you. If you think pursuing a career as an EKG tech is for you, courses like Anatomy, Biology, and Health Sciences will be helpful as you begin to work.

Certification/ Licensing

Sometimes nothing beyond training is necessary, but some employers (especially those that frequently treat medicare or medicaid patients) prefer that you obtain a certificate as well. This process requires the successful passage of a state board exam, as well as continuing education hours every year.

Job Outlook: Excellent

EKG technicians earn a median of $49,410 a year, with employment expected to rise 29% from 2010 to 2020. A career as an EKG is a good bet if you’re passionate about healthcare and patients, and willing to work hard to ensure patient’s receive the best care.

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