How Long EKG Technician School Take?
An electrocardiogram or cardiographic technician is someone who is proficient at monitoring the condition of the heart using an EKG machine. These machines read the patient’s heart through the electrodes that are attached to it to it from his arms, legs and chest. Depending on the physician’s orders, the tests can be performed without the patient doing anything or it can be done while the patient is active. The latter is typically performed by subjecting the patient to a stress test. The most common method is by having the patient walk on a treadmill and then turning up the speed gradually to check what happens when the patient is asked to exert more effort.
Unlike other cardiovascular technologists or technicians who have to spend at least a couple of years in school to earn their associate’s degree, technicians who specialize in operating EKG equipment are able to practice their profession by simply attending a certificate program which lasts for anywhere from nine months to a year. In these courses, EKG technicians learn about the cardiovascular system and its functions and how to operate EKG equipment. They are also taught medical terminology, the heart’s electrical conduction system and EKG strip analysis and EKG interpretation. Some programs may even give them a feel of the actual task by letting them have hands-on experience at a facility that gives EKG tests.
After EKG technicians graduate from an EKG program, the next step in the process involves getting a certification. Take note that it’s not really necessary to become a Certified EKG Technician to be able to work in this profession. However, many employers prefer to hire those with certification because Medicare and health insurance firms only cover EKG procedures done by Certified EKG Technicians. Thus, EKG technicians who are certified have greater chances of getting employment. The process of certification usually involves passing a test. This takes around a couple of hours to finish. In order to maintain certification, the EKG technician must comply with continuing educational credits annually. There are fees associated with applying for a certification exam and the yearly continuing education credits.
Some employers may hire EKG technicians who have not undergone any formal education on the subject. In these cases, they provide on-the-job training to their newly-hired technicians. This takes anywhere from four to six weeks to finish. The employers may still ask their newly-trained EKG technicians to become certified for the same reasons mentioned above.
High school students who want to become EKG technicians can best prepare themselves for this occupation by taking up science courses like anatomy, biology and chemistry as well as beefing up their knowledge in calculations and computations with courses in mathematics. Like other medical imaging occupations, the need for EKG technicians is set to burgeon in the next few years as the elderly population continues to grow and require preventive imaging tests. The increasing number of healthcare facilities providing these kinds of procedures outside hospitals will also contribute to the demand. Potential employers for EKG technicians include medical and diagnostic laboratories and doctors’ clinics.