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Cardiac Telemetry Monitor Technician Career Requirements

Cardiac telemetry monitor technicians, also known as ECG or EKG techs, can work in health clinics, hospitals, medical offices or laboratories. Read the job description, duties, education requirements, salary and employment outlook to decide if this is the right occupation for you.

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Career Definition

An EKG records electrical impulses of the heart to assess its health. Cardiac telemetry monitor technicians prepare patients for EKGs by attaching electrodes to patients' arms, legs and chests. They then operate EKG machines while monitoring, interpreting and documenting patients' results. Cardiac telemetry monitor technicians also maintain EKG machines and troubleshoot technical problems. With additional training, cardiac telemetry monitor technicians may perform advanced procedures, such as stress tests or Holter monitoring.

How to Become a Cardiac Telemetry Monitor Technician

Education Requirements

Cardiac telemetry monitor technicians typically have an associate's degree in EKG technology, although it may be possible to enter the field with a high school diploma and on-the-job training. Typical courses in a cardiac telemetry monitor technician training program include EKG techniques, medical terminology, CPR and advanced cardiac monitoring. Some states require licensure for cardiac telemetry monitor technicians, and several professional organizations offer certification in the field.

Skill Requirements

Cardiac telemetry monitor technicians must have good communication skills to explain how an EKG machine works and keep patients at ease during monitoring. Also, because cardiac telemetry monitor technicians may need to monitor several patients at once, attention to detail is paramount.

Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) predicts that cardiovascular technologists and technicians and vascular technologists, including cardiac telemetry monitor technicians, will enjoy a 30% increase in job openings from 2012-2022. This is much faster than the national average job growth, as an aging U.S. population leads to an increase in heart disease and, thus, more EKG exams. The mean hourly wage for these technicians was $25.51 as of May 2012, according to the BLS.

Alternate Career Options

Radiologic or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Technologist

Both of these careers may be prepared for through associate's degree programs; some states require licensing. Radiologic technologists use diagnostic imaging in their examinations, including x-rays, while MRI techs inject contrast dyes into patients and then use scanners' magnetic fields to produce the required images. During 2012-2022, radiologic techs could expect faster than average employment growth of 21%, while MRI techs could anticipate much faster than average increases of 24%, the BLS said. As of May 2012, radiologic techs earned an annual median wage of $54,620, and MRI techs earned $65,360, according to the BLS.

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