EKG Technician Job Information

EKG technicians use non-invasive techniques to test a patient's cardiovascular system and though there are training programs for EKG technicians; it is also possible to become an EKG technician with a high school diploma, or the equivalent, and on the job training.

Basic Tasks

An EKG technician operates an electrocardiograph machine, either a stationary machine or a portable device like a Holter monitor. The EKG technician will communicate with the patient, attach electrodes and obtain readings from the device. A Holter monitor, a portable EKG that is attached to the patient for a 24 or 48 hour period, has more electrodes and requires special training to place on the patient. The EKG technician will remove the electrodes and provide the results to the physicians who are treating the patient. The technician is also responsible for reporting an irregularities in the results to the physician. They are also responsible for cleaning the equipment and determining if there are any problems with the equipment.

EKG technicians can also assist in administering stress tests. With a stress test, such as a treadmill stress test, the technician explains the test to the patient, instructs the patient in how to proceed with the test and attaches the EKG's electrodes. During the test, the EKG technician will monitor the patient's EKG readings and provide the results of the test to the physician.

In addition to EKG testing, the EKG technician is responsible for clerical duties, such as entering patient data and test results into a medical database, so good organizational skills, judgement and conscientiousness are requirements for these positions. They may also help to transport patients to and from the testing facility. This occupation also requires frequent standing, bending and lifting both patients and equipment.  The technician interacts with patients, their caregivers, physicians and other healthcare professionals and they may also assist in orientating and training new staff members.EKG technicians usually work full time, forty hours a week and they may be on call or work a variety of shifts, including evenings, nights, weekends and holidays as required.

Salary

According to PayScale.com, the typical hourly wage for EKG technicians is $14/hour or an annual salary of approximately $27,000. The highest wage for this position is $17/hour. According to the Salary Search on Indeed.com, EKG technicians in New York make $42,000/year, while EKG technicians in California make $35,000/year, which means that EKG technicians in New York make almost 20% more than their colleagues in California.

Different Types of EKG Jobs

With more education, there are more job opportunities for EKG technicians. With only on the job training, an EKG technician will perform clerical duties and the monitoring of at rest EKG results. With additional training, such as training in the use of Holter monitors or administering stress tests, or by attaining the Certified Cardiographic Technician designation from Cardiovascular Credentialing International, an EKG technician has more opportunities for work in the healthcare facility or in a research setting. EKG technicians can also complete the training, education and certification to become a cardiovascular technologist or become an EKG supervisor.