What Are the Requirements to Be an ER Tech?

Emergency room (ER) technicians treat patients and help with assessment in emergency care settings. Work in this field requires the completion of a CNA or EMT program and certification. Learn about the career and education requirements, as well as job duties for this field. Schools offering Fire & Emergency Services degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of the Requirements to Become an ER Tech

An ER tech is a professional combination of EMT and CNA who works in an urgent care setting or ER, under the guidance of a registered nurse or physician. You will not go with medical transport or rescue vehicles to emergency scenes.

Important Facts About ER Techs

Salary (2018) $28,530 (Nursing Assistant), $34,320 (EMT)
Key Skills Compassion, Problem-solving, Strength and Patience
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 11% (Nursing Assistant), 15% (EMT)
Work Environment Full time work, considerable manual stress and possible exposure to contagious diseases

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Requirements

You must fulfill these requirements in order to be an ER tech:

  • 18 years old
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Current cardiopulmonary resuscitation certification
  • Completion of a CNA or EMT educational program
  • CNA or EMT certification
  • Be able to function accurately, professionally and compassionately under pressure
  • Have a sufficient level of physical and mental conditioning
  • Be able to lift a moderate amount of weight

Duties

As an ER tech, you will assist with patient undressing and positioning, take vital signs and help with assessment. You will retrieve equipment, supplies, linens and necessary paperwork for doctors and nurses to perform their responsibilities. Duties may include performing phlebotomy procedures, 12-lead electrocardiograms, IV set-ups and urinary catheterizations. You will also provide wound care, splinting and casting for injuries. In addition, you will provide comfort and care for the patient's needs.

Additional duties include transporting patients to other departments for tests, as well as collecting and delivering lab specimens. Administratively, you will answer telephones, assist with entering orders into the database, direct visitors and ensure that supplies are accurately replenished.

Education and Training

There are EMT-Basic and CNA programs available at community colleges and vocational institutes, which grant occupational certificates for this career. To fulfill the minimum requirements to become a CNA or EMT, students only need to take a course or two. EMT-Basic courses last a semester, while CNA training can be completed in as little as four weeks. More advanced EMT programs are available and include more coursework, but advanced training isn't necessary to become an ER tech. Programs consist of both traditional classroom coursework and clinical training. Depending on the type of program you pick, your classes could include:

  • Basic cardiac life support
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Medical terminology
  • Lifting techniques
  • ER procedures
  • Emergency medical technology
  • EKG technology and skills
  • IV technology
  • Phlebotomy technology

Licensure Info

Though you'll need EMT or CNA certification to work as an ER tech, there is no separate ER tech certification required. Some employers may prefer that you have both EMT and CNA certification. Earning EMT certification involves passing written and practical examinations administered by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians after graduating from an approved training program. Likewise, one must pass a competency exam to earn CNA certification after graduating from an approved program. Continuing education is typically required to maintain both types of certification.

In addition, you'll need to maintain current basic cardiac life support certification. You will typically earn this certification during your training program. Some employers may prefer that you also have advanced life support certification. Advanced cardiovascular life support courses are available through the American Heart Association. Both types of certification are valid for two years.

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