Telemetry Technician Certification and Training Information
Learn about training and certification information for the telemetry technician. This article discusses program coursework as well as employment outlook statistics.
Telemetry technicians, more commonly known as electrocardiograph (EKG) technicians, perform electrical impulse testing on patients' hearts primarily to take stress factor readings. Most training for EKG technicians is done as an in-house, employer-based procedure. Certification is also available and considered a measure of professionalism by prospective employers. The amount of time put into a certification course varies widely.
They can be completed in as few as 40 hours or as long as eight months. Geared toward those who already have experience in the health care field, such courses include basic heart anatomy classes and involve electrocardiograph monitoring machine information. Successful completion of the course qualifies prospective EKG technicians to take the American Society of Phlebotomy's electrocardiograph technician certification exam. To register for this course, the student must have either a high school diploma or a GED equivalent.
Students enrolled in the certification course participate in both classroom studies as well as hands-on lab practice. Classes focus on relevant topics such as:
- Electrocardiograph medical terminology
- Patient safety training
- Electrical conduction of the heart
- EKG reading interpretation
- Patient preparation
- EKG equipment troubleshooting
- Future EKG technician roles
Employment opportunities for electrocardiograph technicians were expected to increase by 29% from 2010-2020, according to a report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This increase was due primarily to public awareness campaigns and more people opting for preventative or less invasive medical procedures. The majority of electrocardiograph technicians work in hospitals, specifically in cardiology departments. According to the BLS, as of 2012, cardiovascular technologists and technicians earned a median wage of $52,070 annually.
Continuing Education and Training
Electrocardiograph technicians learn their trade through on-the-job training from cardiologists and electrocardiograph technician supervisors. It generally takes between 4-6 weeks to complete the training period. Employers often prefer to train employees who already have experience in the medical health field. Continued training opens up opportunities as an electroencephalography technician, registered nurse or electrocardiogram monitor technician.
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