Also known as cardiovascular technologists or technicians or cardiac sonographers, EKG (electrocardiogram) technicians operate specialized imaging machines to produce images of or perform tests on the cardiovascular system. Duties of EKG technicians typically include:
Prep patients for imaging procedures or tests by getting their history and answering questions
Operate and maintain EKG machines
Assess images or test results for quality and accuracy
Generate EKG reports
Evaluate information to help physicians diagnose cardiovascular disorders
The educational paths of EKG technicians vary according to the desired position. Some EKG techs earn certification through four to six weeks of on-the-job training, where they are supervised by an EKG technologist or cardiologist. Those who want higher earning potential, however, typically obtain more education and training. Some hospitals and colleges offer one-year certification programs, and many offer associate's and even bachelor's degrees in sonography or cardiovascular technology. Employers tend to prefer candidates with certificates from accredited programs.
Certification may also involve passing an exam. Many employers require certification of their EKG technicians, as some insurers will not reimburse for diagnostic imaging and testing if the tech that performed them is not certified. Certain states also require sonographers to be licensed, and certification is usually a prerequisite to licensure.
EKG Technician Job Market
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 51,010 cardiology technician jobs in the U.S. in 2013. This occupation is expected to experience growth of 30 percent by 2022, which is much higher than the U.S. average for all occupations. Imaging technology is rapidly evolving and increasingly replacing more expensive and invasive procedures, creating more demand for EKG technicians. Similarly, EKG technology continues to drop in price, which makes it affordable to medical providers outside hospitals. Demand for EKG techs in doctor's offices and diagnostic facilities is expected to boom as a result.
The state with the largest number of EKG technologists and technicians is Florida, followed by Texas, California, and Pennsylvania. The states with the greatest concentration of EKG professionals are Delaware, Florida and Kentucky.
EKG Technician Job Salary Information
In 2013, the BLS reported that cardiovascular technologists and technicians had a mean annual salary of $53,990. The highest-earning ten percent of EKG techs made $82,920, while the lowest-earning ten percent made $27,810. The top-paying states for this career in descending order are Alaska, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C.