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Monitor Technician Education and Training Requirements

Monitor technicians, also known as electrocardiography or cardiac monitor technicians, typically work within cardiac care units of hospitals and assist cardiologists. These technicians are responsible for monitoring and interpreting the rhythm patterns of patients' hearts as well as reporting any irregularities or variations to the appropriate medical staff.

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Monitor Technician Education Requirements

In terms of formal education, a high school diploma or equivalent can be sufficient for a career as a monitor technician. However, educational programs, which may better prepare candidates for obtaining employment in this field, are available.

Certificate and Degree Programs

Community colleges and vocational schools offer certificates, associate degrees or continuing education programs in cardiac sonography, electrocardiography or cardiovascular technology, which qualify students to work as monitor technicians. These programs include coursework in anatomy/physiology, hemodynamics, instrumentation, biology, computer technology and patient care.

Additionally, institutions, such as the Mayo Clinic (www.mayoclinic.org), offer certification programs for monitor technicians. These 2-6 month programs include classroom instruction, video presentations and clinical on-the-job training. Students learn skills in EKG operation and analysis, patient care, cardiac monitoring and instrumentation. Once completed, graduates receive a certificate, which can assist in acquiring jobs in this field.

Certification

Professional certification is not required to become a monitor technician, but, in addition to impressing employers, it provides many essential skills necessary for a career in the discipline. Knowledge of normal heart rhythms and arrhythmias, basic hemodynamics and structure of the heart is vital to monitor technicians. Certification is available through organizations, such as the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (www.ardms.org) and Cardiovascular Credentialing International (www.cci-online.org).

Training Requirements

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), most monitor technicians are given on-the-job training by cardiologists and/or cardiovascular supervisors. This training can last anywhere from 12-24 months. In addition, while education beyond high school is not required, demand for technicians is fueling a need for those who have an associate degree along with professional certification.

Job Skills

Monitor technicians should receive training, however informal, in areas regarding the work environment within hospitals or clinics. One must have excellent communication skills and be competent working with a team that includes nurses, cardiologists and various other medical staff. Since a monitor technician may be monitoring heart rhythms of up to 32 patients at one time, exceptional multitasking skills are essential and training where multiple tasks are assigned at one time is invaluable.

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