Cardiac Monitor Technician: Job Description & Career Info

Explore what a cardiac monitor technician, or cardiac surveillance tech, does. Learn about the training, skills, salary and employment outlook to see if this is the profession that you're seeking.

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Career Definition

Cardiac monitor technicians are responsible for watching patients' heart rates and reporting important changes to the nursing staff; they often use equipment that tracks several patients simultaneously. They also help clean and maintain equipment and ensure batteries are charged and installed properly. Cardiac monitor techs may also perform electrocardiographs (EKGs), which read electrical impulses sent by the heart. Surveillance techs will typically work eight-hour shifts in hospital settings, and may be required to work evening, weekend, and holiday hours.

How to Become a Cardiac Monitor Technician

Education Required

A career as a cardiac monitor technician is a viable option for people who would like to work in healthcare but have limited time and money to spend on continued education. A cardiac monitor technician needs a high school diploma, plus a postsecondary certificate or on-the-job training. There are a variety of program lengths offered through vocational schools, junior colleges, and hospitals across the country. There are different requirements depending on the employer, so it is wise for those looking for a cardiac monitoring career to speak with healthcare administrators in several of their top choices for employment to determine education needs.

Additional Skills

Cardiac monitor technicians need to be team players, take direction well, and have a positive attitude to work with the patients, nursing staff, and physicians. Techs also need organizational skills and the ability to multitask to keep track of a large number of patients. Typing skills are also necessary to maintain patient records.

Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 30% job growth for all cardiovascular technology positions between 2012 and 2022, which is much faster than average. It is likely that positions will increase for cardiac monitor technicians as well, but these techs can significantly improve their marketability and income by learning other related procedures. The median salary for a cardiac monitor technician was $31,207 in February 2014, according to Salary.com.

Alternate Career Options

Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologist and Technician

Technicians may enter this field with an associate's degree, while technologists need a bachelor's degree, to collect samples and conduct testing on tissue samples and bodily fluids. In addition, technologists perform more complicated procedures. According to the BLS, technologists could expect a 14% increase in positions during the 2012-2022 decade, while jobs for technicians were anticipated to expand by 30%. The BLS reported annual median salaries of $57,580 for technologists and $37,240 for technicians.

Nuclear Medicine Technologist

Earning either associate's or bachelor's degrees, these technologists administer radioactive drugs to patients and use scanners to create images of targeted areas of bodies. Licensure is required by a few states, and certification may be required by employers. Faster than average employment growth of 20% was predicted by the BLS from 2012-2022. Nuclear medicine technologists earned an annual median wage of $70,180 in 2012.

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