EKG Technician Job Description
EKG technicians perform electrocardiograms and collect data from these tests. Medical clinics, hospitals, hospices, and medical facilities of all types hire EKG technicians for full-time employment. EKG technicians, also known as electrocardiogram technicians, work independently but respond to test requests from nurses, doctors, physicians’ assistants, and other medical personnel. EKG technicians work all shifts, including weekends and holidays, and are rarely required to travel to perform their regular duties.
EKG Technician Duties and Responsibilities
Specific testing procedures and daily duties vary based on the type of medical facility where EKG technicians work. However, their main duties and responsibilities are the same regardless of location and include the following:
Connect EKG Testing Equipment
EKG technicians connect holter monitors and EKG tracings correctly to ensure accurate readings.
Electrocardiogram technicians give completed test results to attending physicians so they can examine and analyze the data.
Observe EKG Tests
EKG technicians observe all electrocardiograms they conduct and know how to recognize abnormal results that indicate possibly fatal heart conditions. EKG technicians must report these findings at once.
During testing, EKG technicians continuously monitor patients to ensure their continued comfort and safety.
Talk to Patients
EKG technicians talk to patients and explain the testing procedure to keep them comfortable and put them at ease.
Respond to Medical Codes
EKG technicians must understand common medical codes, such as “STAT,” and respond accordingly.
EKG techs are required to follow all medical facility procedures for testing protocols and adhere to all safety and infection control policies.
Monitor EKG Equipment
At all times, EKG technicians must monitor their equipment and report any malfunctions immediately.
EKG Technician Skills and Qualifications
EKG technicians are highly detail-oriented professionals who talk to patients, physicians, and nurses on a regular basis. Medical facilities hire EKG technicians who have the following skills and qualifications:
- Interpersonal skills – because EKG technicians interact with patients regularly, they need strong interpersonal skills to put people at ease and respond to their questions and concerns
- Critical thinking – EKG technicians use critical thinking skills to interpret test data and analyze findings to determine whether patients have a life-threatening heart condition
- Communication skills – EKG technicians speak with patients and other medical personnel, so employers seek candidates with strong verbal communication skills
- Physical stamina – during a normal workday, EKG techs stand for long periods at a time, walk around the medical facility, and run to respond to medical codes, which all require physical stamina
- Attention to detail – EKG technicians need good observational skills to monitor tests and patients, and notice any potential problems or malfunctions
- Basic computer skills – electrocardiogram technicians record data and deliver reports, which requires computer skills
EKG Technician Education and Training
Medical facilities require EKG technicians to have a high school diploma or GED, in addition to an EKG certification or license. Certification is obtained only after professionals complete an electrocardiogram training course and pass a national certification exam.
Upon being hired, EKG technicians go through an on-the-job orientation period to familiarize themselves with facility procedures, layout, and attending physicians. This orientation period is brief, usually one week or less.
EKG Technician Salary and Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) compiled employment data on diagnostic medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including vascular technologists. This group of medical professionals, who operate imaging equipment to conduct tests for physicians who diagnose medical conditions, includes EKG technicians. Their data shows that these professionals earn a median salary of $64,280 annually and $30.90 hourly. By 2026, the BLS predicts that careers in this field will increase by 17 percent, which is much faster than the average U.S. job growth rate.
EKG technicians receive full medical benefits, including dental and vision, as part of their standard employment package. Vacation days and sick days are a standard part of the package. Some large medical facilities also provide free meals, gym access, and childcare.
Find certification programs, learn how to operate equipment and interpret results, and discover job strategies for becoming an EKG technician using these books and websites:
National Healthcareer Association – the NHA website provides EKG technicians and other health workers with certification information, listings of available schools, and job opportunities to help them get started and advance in this career field
EKG Test Prep: EKG Technician Practice Test Questions – study more than 400 questions in this test prep book, written to help EKG technicians prepare for and pass their certification exam
National Healthcare Workers Association – EKG technicians and medical workers in other fields find information about professional certification, training workshops, and available medical jobs through this website
Ekg | Ecg: For Beginners! – How to Easily Learn EKG Interpretation, Cardiac Dysrhythmias and Arrhythmias! – read this book to learn how to understand and read EKG data, recognize patterns, and spot arrhythmias and other heart conditions. It’s written simply, so even beginners in the EKG field can follow the text
EKG Technician Central – the EKG Technician Central website has a blog full of content for EKG technicians, a job board, and a bookstore containing more helpful resources
Ekg | Ecg: The Complete Guide to Easy EKG Interpretation – Learn Everything You Need to Know About Basic Cardiac Dysrhythmias, Arrhythmias and More! – learn how to interpret electrocardiogram data with this guidebook, which uses simple, straightforward language that’s easy to follow