Medical personnel assisting a female patient

How to Become an EKG Technician

Duties, Responsibilities, Schooling, Requirements, Certifications, Job Outlook, and Salary

Medical personnel assisting a female patient

Once you have earned your Medical Assistant diploma, you can pursue a variety of healthcare careers based on the knowledge and skills you gained while pursuing your education and training. One of the most widely available alternative jobs you can apply for as an MA is an EKG technician. For Medical Assistants looking to advance their current careers, becoming an EKG technician can be a rewarding career path. Not only will it allow you to gain experience in the world of healthcare, becoming an EKG technician can provide a steady source of income for years to come.

Continue reading this career guide for an in-depth look at the skills involved in being an EKG technician, along with the educational requirements, salary, and job outlook for this critical position.

Not sure if becoming an EKG technician is for you? Click here to see the rest of the careers featured on our list of alternative jobs for medical assistants.

EKG Technician Definition

What is an EKG Technician?

An EKG technician operates the equipment used to measure, monitor, and display traces that illustrate the heart’s electrical activity. Physicians then use the electrocardiograph data collected by the EKG technician to diagnose and monitor a patient’s heart condition.

EKG Technician: Job Description

What Does an EKG Technicians Do?

EKG technicians support physicians as they work to identify and treat any number of cardiovascular conditions. An EKG technician can be called upon to complete many tasks that involve interacting directly with a patient, working behind the scenes, and directly supporting the physician. They perform diagnostic and stress tests utilizing highly specialized equipment. With such a diverse list of responsibilities, it’s vital that an EKG technician is organized, technically proficient, caring, empathetic, and an excellent communicator.

EKG Technician Duties

Some of the day-to-day responsibilities of EKG Technicians include:

  • Asking patients about their medical histories
  • Preparing patients for their procedures
  • Ensuring the equipment is in good operating order
  • Attaching sensors and electrodes to a patient’s arms, legs, and chest
  • Administering EKG tests
  • Verifying the quality of test data
  • Reporting findings back to the physician

Where Do EKG Technicians Work?

EKG technicians can find work in any healthcare facility that may require the monitoring of a patient’s cardiovascular activity, including:

  • Hospitals
  • Surgical centers
  • Cardiologists’ offices
  • General practitioners’ offices
  • Outpatient facilities

EKG Technician Schooling & Certification

How Long Does It Take to Become an EKG Technician?

What Degree Do You Need to Be an EKG Technician?

Any Medical Assistants interested in expanding their career and becoming an EKG technician will find the process relatively straightforward. Becoming an EKG technician typically requires either job experience or certification. In certain circumstances, an employer will train an existing employee to become an EKG technician. In fact, much of an EKG technician’s training will be provided by the employer. Such on-the-job training programs can take between four to six weeks to complete.

Many employers require professional certification for their EKG technicians. Certification will help make finding a position significantly easier. If obtaining certification is required, Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) offers a number of cardiovascular certifications, including Certified Cardiographic Technician, which includes EKG/ECG, stress testing, and Holter testing.

Healthcare professionals walking in a hallway

Why is EKG Technician a Great Alternative Career Path for Medical Assistants?

Those with a Medical Assistant diploma make excellent candidates for EKG technician. For starters, their education and training provide candidates with a solid understanding of the many medical conditions monitored with an EKG machine. Understandably, patients undergoing an EKG can be under a fair deal of stress, so the skilled hands and knowledgeable demeanor of an E KG technician with Medical Assisting training will go a long way to put those patients at ease.

Becoming an EKG technician is an outstanding career alternative for Medical Assistants looking to point their healthcare career toward a more specialized field. Other reasons to choose a career as an EKG technician are its growing job market, opportunities for advancement, and widespread availability of both full-time and part-time jobs.

EKG Technician Salary

How Much Do EKG Technicians Make?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary for a cardiovascular technician is about $60,000, which works out to be just above $29 per hour. Salaries for cardiovascular technicians in the 90th percentile can reach as high as $96,000 or more.

Highest Paying Industries for EKG Technicians

According to the BLS, these industries are where you’re most likely to find the top-paying jobs for cardiovascular technicians:

Industry Average Hourly Pay Average Salary
General Medical & Surgical Hospitals $28.67 $59,630
Physicians’ Offices $30.79 $64,040
Outpatient Care Centers $39.09 $81,300
Specialized Hospitals $27.92 $58,060
Other Ambulatory Health Care Services $30.05 $62,500

Highest Paying States for EKG Technicians

According to the BLS, cardiovascular technicians earn the highest average wages in these states:

State Average Hourly Pay Average Salary
Rhode Island $41.15 $85,590
Oregon $39.81 $82,810
California $38.22 $79,490
New Jersey $37.91 $78,850
Washington, D.C. $37.52 $78,040

Highest Paying Cities for EKG Technicians

According to the BLS, cardiovascular technicians earn the highest average annual wage in these cities:

City Mean Hourly Pay Mean Salary
Oxnard, CA $50.21 $104,430
San Jose, CA $43.24 $89,930
Vallejo, CA $42.52 $88,450
San Diego, CA $41.95 $87,260
Sacramento, CA $41.28 $85,870
Fresno, CA $40.58 $84,400
Stockton, CA $40.44 $84,120
Medford, OR $40.17 $83,550
Providence, RI $39.58 $82,330
Trenton, NJ $39.47 $82,090

EKG Technician Job Outlook

What is the Job Outlook for EKG Technicians?

The BLS estimates that the overall employment of cardiovascular technicians will grow 17% by 2029, a figure that is far higher than the average growth rate across all other jobs during the same time period (4%). The aging of America’s Baby Boomer population will likely generate a greater need for EKG technicians for some time to come. Plus, the use of EKG machines provides an alternative to alternative diagnostic techniques that involve radiation.

Woman with glasses talking to a man

Start Your Career by Earning Your Medical Assistant Diploma

If you’re someone who’s seeking a rewarding career in healthcare, who enjoys working directly with patients and looking for a role with an enduring level of demand, becoming an EKG technician could be a great career path for you.

If you’re ready to take the next step towards becoming an EKG technician, you can start by earning your Medical Assistant diploma in as little as 10 months at Eagle Gate College.

Click here to learn more about our Medical Assistant program.