An electrocardiograph, or EKG technician, is a healthcare worker who assists doctors in the detection and treatment of cardiovascular problems in patients. An EKG technician may work for a private clinic or medical laboratory, but most techs are employed by hospitals.
An EKG technician, or cardiovascular technician, uses an electrocardiogram machine to record the activity transmitted by the patient’s heart. This involves hooking the patient up to the EKG machine with electrodes and making sure the machine properly records the heart’s performance. The EKG technician may be required to gather information from the patient as to their medical history as well as explain the different procedures and results to the patients. The technician may also be tasked with conducting stress tests on patients. After overseeing these tests, the EKG technologist will share the data with the patient’s doctor. Maintaining the EKG equipment and supply levels will also be required.
Cardiovascular technicians will typically work a 40 hour week, although some technicians may work longer hours during the week or be required to work additional weekend hours. Some technicians may be required to be “on call”. This will depend on the individual medical facility where they are employed. Technicians will also be required to spend much of their day on their feet so they should posses physical stamina as well as the ability to lift heavy objects.
Certification is not required for individuals to work as EKG technicians, however, some hospitals and medical practices may require it. Others may only require a high school education combined with on-the-job training. To receive certification, individuals will likely be asked to complete a training program that would require a combination of job training and the successful passing of a certification exam. Organizations that offer these certifications for EKG technicians include the American Certification Agency for Healthcare Professionals, American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion and the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians.
Other skills required for an EKG tech include an attention to detail and the ability to work with complex machines. As with any job in the healthcare industry, people skills are also essential.
The need for EKG techs will likely continue to grow in the foreseeable future. As the population of the US continues to grow and age, the healthcare industry can be expected to grow right along with it. As advances are made in cardiovascular medicine, the need for qualified technicians to understand and operate these new technologies will rise. See EKG current salaries.