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What's the Job Description of an ECG Technician?

Are you interested in using sophisticated medical technology to monitor the cardiac rhythms of patients in a hospital or clinic? If so, a career as an ECG (electrocardiogram) technician may be right for you. Read on to learn more about the job description and educational requirements for ECG technicians.

Occupation Description

Also known as electrocardiograph or cardiographic technicians, ECG technicians are responsible for operating machinery that can record the electrical activity of the human heart. The data you gather from these tests is then used by doctors to diagnose heart problems.

As an ECG technician, you may also observe the heat rate of a patient undergoing a treadmill stress test. You may perform Holter monitoring as well. This involves outfitting a patient with a portable ECG machine, which records his or her heart activity for up to an entire day.

Important Facts About ECG Technicians

On-the-Job Training Not formally provided, but experience gained though time on the job
Key Skills Attention to detail, manual dexterity, situational awareness, physical endurance, computer competency
Work Environment Hospitals; physicians' offices; medical and diagnostic laboratories
Similar Occupations Radiation therapists; radiologic and MRI technologists; nuclear medicine technologists; medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians

Duties

Job duties may include providing patients with exercise regimens prescribed by doctors. You might also be responsible for obtaining a patient's medical history, recording blood pressure, and explaining a procedure. You must be prepared to respond to cardiac emergencies as well.

Training Requirements

You have the option of enrolling in a college's ECG technician certificate program. These one- or two-semester programs can include courses in cardiovascular anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology. You can also learn how to interpret and record test results, prepare ECG equipment, and perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). These programs often require you to complete internships or clinical rotations as well.

Professional Certification

ECG technicians may earn voluntary certification from professional organizations such as Cardiovascular Credentialing International (www.cci-online.org). If you've completed a related degree or training program, you can sit for the written Certified Cardiographic Technician exam. Applicants with volunteer or job experience can also qualify.

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Cardiovascular technologists and technicians were expected to see a 10% increase in job opportunities through the 2016-2026 decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). This was largely due to a growing elderly population and the resulting demand for ECG procedures. According to the BLS, the median salary earned by cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including ECG technicians, was $56,850 a year in 2018.