What's the Job Description of an ER Tech?

Emergency room technicians function as the cornerstone of emergency rooms across the country, caring for patients under the guidance of doctors and nurses. Learn about the job description for ER technicians, the education needed, typical salaries, and more. Schools offering Fire & Emergency Services degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Emergency Room Technician Job Description

Emergency room (ER) technicians, sometimes also called emergency department (ED) technicians, are allied health professionals who put their medical training to work in the hectic environments of hospital emergency rooms. ER techs are responsible for ensuring a safe environment for both medical personnel and patients, by doing things like keeping areas organized and clean, checking that tools and medical instruments are in their proper places, and keeping necessary supplies, such as bandages, stocked and accessible. Additionally, ER tech jobs have patient care responsibilities as well, such as assisting patients to the bathroom, taking vitals, and changing bed sheets. They may have to perform basic procedures such as catheterization, drawing blood, or electrocardiograms (EKGs). Clerical duties are also common, so ER techs may be tasked with guiding patients from the waiting area to rooms and taking down important information for the doctor.

Emergency Room Technician Qualifications and Requirements

To be qualified for a position as an ER tech, applicants generally need at least a year of education and/or experience. They may also need to be certified as nursing assistants, depending on the state or the employer. Like other medical professionals, it is often necessary to pass a background check, undergo a health screening, and pass drug tests to work as an ER technician.

Required Education for ER Techs

The easiest way for ER technicians to obtain the necessary level of education is to complete a year-long certificate program designed for emergency room technicians. Certain programs may require that a student has already completed the training and education necessary to be a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA); these nursing assistant programs tend to be quite brief and might be completable within a single semester. ER technician programs often share much in common with Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) programs, covering topics such as:

  • Phlebotomy basics
  • Lab skills
  • EMT theory
  • Patient care

ER technician programs also commonly include clinical components, which are performed at affiliated medical facilities and intended to provide real-world experience.

Necessary Certifications for ER Techs

ER technicians in many areas are required to hold certification as a nursing assistant since they share many of the same duties. CNA licensing is typically performed by the state in areas that require it and often involves completion of an approved training program and passage of a licensing exam. Check with the licensing board in your state for the most relevant information to your situation.

ER technicians are also frequently required to be certified in CPR and/or basic life support. These may be covered in educational programs, or serve as a prerequisite to admission into the program. CPR and basic life support training is typically done through short courses that last only a few hours, and are offered by many organizations, such as the Red Cross or the American Heart Association. Be sure to find out if a school you plan to apply to has a preference before signing up for certification programs.

ER Technician Salary and Career Info

According to the salary-tracking website Payscale.com, the average salary for ER technicians is currently $32,657, based on voluntarily submitted data, which is equivalent to $14.53 an hour. Like many workers in the medical field, ER technicians may be expected to work three 12-hour shifts per week. ER technicians are also expected to move and lift patients, and they need to possess the physical strength necessary to do so. Because of the nature of emergency rooms and the kinds of injuries they may see, ER technicians should also have a strong stomach and be able to handle seeing grisly injuries. Should an ER technician decide they wish to progress in their career, additional education will likely be required to move to positions such as emergency room nurse.

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