Breaking into the medical field can take time. Most jobs require a degree, but if you have your heart set on the healthcare field, there is a career you can train for in months, not years. If you’re a people person with an aptitude for science and technology, you can become an EKG Technician.
Is EKG Technician a Good Job?
Working as an EKG Technician is not only a good job, but it has benefits that last longer than a paycheck.
If you enjoy cardiology, taking EKGs is like peering into the human heart. It’s a thrilling experience. You’ll map it beating in real-time.
Did you know that an EKG can diagnose a heart attack in minutes? Among the many diagnostics used to evaluate heart function, EKGs are the real lifesavers. When every second counts, an EKG technician has a life-and-death role.
And Professionally Rewarding
Becoming an EKG technician is just a taste of what you can do in the medical field. Build on your diploma by learning complementary skills and climb the career ladder.
What does an EKG Tech Do?
Developed by Dutch cardiologist, William Einthoven, an EKG maps electrical activity in the heart. As voltage flows through the muscle, the electrocardiograph captures its movement, recording it as a wave pattern. Called a tracing, it helps doctors pinpoint a broad range of disorders from heart failure to cardiomyopathy.
As a technician, you’ll take EKGs to diagnose or rule out heart conditions. The procedure is fast, painless, and cost-effective. The role includes equipment maintenance, patient preparation, testing, aftercare, and documentation.
What Will You Learn in a Vocational School EKG Program?
Focused on the basics of electrocardiography, programs are short but intense and teach students everything they need to know to land a rewarding, entry-level position. Subjects include:
A grasp of healthcare terminology is essential for all workers in the field. This basic class won’t make you fluent in medical speak, but you’ll be comfortable enough to take doctor’s orders and read medical reports.
You won’t memorize many words. Instead, you’ll decipher them by breaking them down into their parts, prefixes, suffixes, and roots. You’ll learn that “electro” means electrical, “cardio” means heart and graph means “something written.”
Anatomy and Physiology
For EKG students, this basic anatomy and physiology course emphasizes heart health. You’ll learn how the heart is designed, how it works, and how cardiac disorders are diagnosed and treated.
Disorders of the heart are treated with medications. As an EKG tech, you’ll learn which are used to improve cardiac function and how they impact testing. You’ll learn about the general classes of medication, how they’re prescribed and how they might affect EKGs.
Working with the latest equipment, you will learn to perform the most common types of EKGs and interpret abnormal rhythms.
You’ll also explore patient care, studying how to prepare people mentally and physically for testing. Also covered are equipment maintenance, infection control principles and workplace safety.
Changes in a patient’s EKG over time are often more meaningful than single tracings, so it’s critical to maintain records of past tests for comparisons. An EKG tech is responsible for entering tracings into health records and alerting doctors when there are results to be reviewed.
Professional Standards and Ethics
Patients have high expectations for healthcare providers. For a few brief moments, their lives depend on you, so professionalism is a must. This course covers the basics of behavior in a professional setting plus an overview of medical law and ethical issues. Graduates are well-prepared to practice safely.
Where Do EKG Technicians Work?
EKG technicians work in a wide range of medical settings, but the roles vary in each.
Once performed only in hospitals, EKGs are now done in doctors’ offices for the patients’ convenience. How many you’ll do depends on the type of practice. Working with a general practitioner, you may do a few a week as part of annual physicals or to evaluate vague symptoms that could be heart related. But in a busy cardiology practice, you may do dozen a day.
Employed in a hospital, you may staff an inpatient unit, an outpatient department or both. On an average day, you may be called to the emergency room to take an EKG on a patient with chest pain. And then you’re off to the day surgery unit to do a screening EKG as a precaution before someone given anesthesia.
Working in a hospital is fast paced, but intriguing. You’ll see cases you won’t encounter in private practices, but plan to be busy. Buy two pairs of walking shoes.
Most urgent care and specialty clinics are equipped to perform EKGs. Smaller than a hospital, you may be a jack-of-all-trades with other responsibilities.
What Is the Easiest Way to Become an EKG Technician?
There’s more than one pathway to becoming an EKG technician. But the fastest way is to enroll in a vocational school program. You’ll graduate in less time than it would take to get a medical assisting degree, and although your skills will be limited to administering EKGs, you’ll be back in the workforce and earning a paycheck in no time.
What Are the Benefits of a Vocational School Program?
Vocational school programs were created for today’s learners. Whether you’re just out of high school, are unhappy in your current job, or want a new career, vocational schools offer the fastest training. The benefits include:
A Comprehensive Curriculum
Vocational school training may be short, but the curriculum is complete. You’ll save time by skipping elective classes that don’t add to your skills as an EKG technician. A medieval pottery course may be personally enriching, but it won’t help you troubleshoot a questionable tracing. Vocational schools focus on the hands-on skills graduates will need in their new roles.
A Competitive Advantage
Employers want trained applicants with proven skills that can hit the ground running without continual supervision. A diploma is a competitive advantage on your resume. It shows you’re dedicated to the field and that you take your career seriously, making you a sound investment as an employee.
Vocational schools hire only seasoned instructors. Most worked their way through the ranks and have frontline experiences to share with their students. With such a short program, there’s no time to waste.
You’ll get a personal view of the industry that will help you transition from the classroom to the workplace. Some instructors are still employed in the field and can connect you to prospective employers.
Vocational schools reinforce theory with practice. Students perform EKGs on models and peers in the laboratory and on patients during short, off-campus experiences. You’ll learn on the same equipment you’ll use in healthcare settings, so you can step right into your new role. Classes feel less like school and more like on-the-job training.
In a new field, no one knows what a great person you are. You’ll need peers and instructors to verify your competency. At a vocational school, you’ll meet like-minded people with similar aspirations and career goals. By graduation day, you will have made enough interpersonal connections to serve as references, setting you on the right path.
Certification as an EKG technician is required to work in most hospitals, and a diploma is required for certification. Vocational schools cover the topics on the exam, supporting students as they prepare for testing. They know that every credential you earn improves your odds of getting your dream job and vocational schools want to help you make that happen.
You’ll do more than earn a diploma at a vocational school, you’ll build confidence. Instructors support you while you learn, allowing you to make mistakes where you can benefit from them without risking patient safety. You’ll graduate with the skills you need for success and a sense of confidence that will follow you as you begin a new career.
A vocational school’s mission is not only to educate, but also to help you find a job. By partnering with local healthcare facilities to help meet their staffing needs, they bolster their reputation and yours.
Then, when hospitals need an EKG technician in a hurry, they know where to call. Since more than half of jobs in the US are never posted publicly, it helps to have connections.
Being an EKG technician can be a forever career or just a stop on the way to bigger and better things. This program not only qualifies you for national certification, but the credits transfer toward an associate degree program in medical assisting. Graduate with a diploma first and then earn while you learn.
Don’t sit on the sidelines, watching as others grow in their careers. Turn your passion for wellness into a secure future as an EKG technician. You’ll be helping doctors diagnose and treat the world’s number one cause of premature death, heart disease. Training only takes months, but the pride lasts a lifetime.
Want to Learn More?
Now that you know what an EKG technician does, it is time to learn more about ATA College. This Electrocardiogram Technician training course prepares individuals, under the supervision of physicians and nurses, to administer EKG and ECG diagnostic examinations and report results to the treatment team. Due to the accelerated nature of the EKG technician program, there is a prerequisite of either graduating from a Medical Assistant program or having work experience in the healthcare field. Upon completion of this course, ATA College students will be eligible to take the national certification exam.
Contact us today to learn more about EKG technician career opportunities offered at ATA College.