Daniel Remiszewski
May 30, 2023

How to Become an EKG Technician: Certification, Salary & Requirements

Have you ever considered a career as an certified EKG technician? These healthcare professionals play a crucial role in diagnosing and treating heart conditions. In this blog post, we will guide you through the steps to become an certified EKG technician, the certifications available, essential skills required, and the salary and job outlook for this rewarding profession. Get ready to embark on a journey towards a fulfilling and in-demand career in the healthcare industry by joining a ekg technician training program!

Learn more about our EKG Technician program at Northeast Medical Institute! 

Short Summary

  • Explore the profession of EKG technician, including education and training pathways, certification options, essential skills and salary & job outlook.
  • A EKG technician may work in cardiology departments of hospitals/outpatient centers/doctors’ offices, require high school diploma or GED, certifications important for career growth.
  • Salary averages $50k annually with 17% job growth over next decade due to increasing demand & aging population.

Exploring the EKG Technician Profession

A picture of an EKG technician working with an EKG machine

As a EKG technician you are responsible for doing cardiovascular tests, measuring the heart’s electrical activity, attaching electrodes to the patient’s chest, and providing the relevant information to physicians. This valuable diagnostic tool aids doctors in detecting heart conditions and determining the most appropriate treatment plan for patients. With a growing aging population and the prevalence of heart disease, the demand for skilled certified EKG technicians is on the rise.

EKG technicians can obtain certification to showcase their expertise and increase their credibility in the field. The average salary for EKG technicians is $50,844 per year, depending on factors such as education, experience, and location.

This blog post will delve into the education and training pathways, certification options, essential skills, job description and salary and job outlook for EKG technicians.

What Does an EKG Technician Do?

An EKG technician primary responsibilities include taking basic vital signs, executing rapid response procedures, utilizing an EKG machine, and recognizing rhythms. They conduct heart and lung tests, primarily electrocardiograms, report test results, assist physicians, and perform other diagnostic tasks. EKG technicians must accurately review test results to identify any irregularities that could indicate a concerning issue, so medical personnel can be notified.

The work environment for an EKG technician is usually based in a designated area with EKG equipment, though they may have interactions with patients, physicians, and nursing personnel during the day. They typically spend extended periods standing, and their working hours may be contingent on the number of patients booked for tests on that day. Some technicians might be required to work on weekends, depending on necessity and urgent cases.

Where Do Certified EKG Technicians Work?

EKG technicians can be employed in various healthcare settings due to the widespread use of EKG diagnostics. These settings include hospitals, outpatient centers, doctors’ offices, and labs. In hospitals and outpatient centers, they typically work in the cardiology department, where they are responsible for performing EKG and diagnostic tests, interpreting results, and providing patient care.

In doctors’ offices and labs, EKG technicians are typically employed in the cardiology department as well, where they are responsible for executing EKG tests, analyzing results, and providing patient care. As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, EKG technicians will remain an essential part of the diagnostic process, ensuring patients receive the care they need.

Education and Training Pathways

A picture of a person holding a high school diploma

Becoming an EKG technician requires a high school diploma or GED, which is the baseline educational requirement for the majority of healthcare positions. There are several education and training pathways available for aspiring EKG technicians, including certification programs and associate degree programs. Employers usually prefer graduates from programs certified by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). This is seen as an assurance of quality in the field.

Each pathway offers its own advantages and opportunities for growth within the profession. Certification programs provide focused training and shorter completion times, while associate degree programs offer more comprehensive curriculums and the potential for career advancement.

Let’s explore these pathways further.

High School Diploma or GED

To become an EKG technician, one must have at least a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate. This graduate or undergraduate degree is the minimum educational requirement. This fundamental requirement is crucial for gaining access to certification programs and associate degree programs in this field.

Some EKG technician training courses, such as the one offered by BMCC, require a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent, successful completion of an entrance test, or prior healthcare experience for enrollment.

Certification Programs

Certification programs are a popular choice for aspiring EKG technicians as they typically require three to six months to complete and focus on the specific skills needed for the profession. Courses in cardiovascular and vascular technology are offered in these programs. These courses are either invasive or noninvasive. Most employers recommend completing an EKG certification program prior to applying for a job.

Completing a certification program will get you ready to take the Certified EKG Technician (CET) exam. The National Healthcareer Association (NHA) is one of the organizations that offers this exam. Certification not only demonstrates your proficiency in performing EKG tests, but also increases your credibility and employability in the field, as many more employers prefer to require or prefer certified EKG technicians.

Associate Degree Programs

For those seeking a more comprehensive education, associate degree programs are available for EKG technicians. These programs provide a thorough curriculum that equips students with the knowledge to perform EKGs and gain an understanding of cardiac anatomy and physiology, medical disease processes, and medical terminology. Programs such as those offered by Loyola Marymount University and Emory University combine practical training with classroom instruction, providing a well-rounded education.

While associate degree programs take longer to complete than certification programs, they can lead to more advanced career opportunities and higher earning potential. Graduates may find employment in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, outpatient centers, private EKG centers, and specialty long-term care facilities.

EKG Technician Certifications

A picture of a person holding a certificate of Certified EKG Technician (CET)

Certifications play a crucial role in the career of an EKG or electrocardiograph technician. Many employers require or prefer certified EKG technicians, or may expect new technicians to obtain certification shortly after being hired. This is due to the fact that insurance providers usually only reimburse for procedures conducted by certified technicians. The two main certifications available for EKG technicians are the Certified EKG Technician (CET) and the Certified Cardiographic Technician (CCT).

Each certification has its own requirements and renewal process. Obtaining certification not only demonstrates your competence in the field, but also increases your employability and may lead to higher wages.

Let’s take a closer look at each certification option.

Certified EKG Technician (CET)

The Certified EKG Technician (CET) certification is a credential offered by various organizations, including the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) and American Allied Health, that attests to an individual’s proficiency in performing electrocardiogram (EKG) tests. To be eligible for the CET exam, one must have performed EKG tests on a minimum of ten people and meet the necessary educational requirements.

Upon successful completion of the CET exam, you will be recognized as a Certified EKG Technician, increasing your credibility and employability in the field. Completing a high school diploma or equivalent is necessary to take the certification exam. This emphasizes the importance of having the appropriate qualifications for the exam.

Certified Cardiographic Technician (CCT)

The Certified Cardiographic Technician (CCT) certification is a mid-level certification offered by Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) for professionals working in the areas of ECG, Holter monitoring, and stress testing. To obtain the CCT certification, one must complete a formal training program, pass a certification exam, and possess at least one year of experience in the field.

The advantages of obtaining the CCT certification in healthcare professions include enhanced job prospects, higher remuneration, and improved job security. CCT certified professionals can find employment opportunities in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings, as well as in research and development or in the pharmaceutical industry.

Essential Skills for EKG Technicians

A picture of a person working with EKG equipment

In addition to the required education and certification, there are several essential skills that EKG technicians must possess to be successful in their careers. These skills include technical proficiency in operating EKG equipment, attention to detail, and excellent communication skills. A strong foundation in these skills will not only enhance your employability, but also ensure that you provide the best possible care to your patients.

Let’s take a closer look at the technical and soft skills required for EKG technicians and how they contribute to a successful career in this field.

Technical Skills

Technical skills are crucial for EKG technicians as they are responsible for operating and maintaining electrocardiogram machines, including troubleshooting, calibrating, and programming. Additionally, EKG technicians must possess a fundamental knowledge of medical terminology, including familiarity with the nomenclature of various components of the heart and the various types of heart rhythms.

Apart from operating EKG equipment, EKG technicians must also have excellent attention to detail, physical stamina and endurance, and superior hand-eye coordination to successfully execute their job functions. These technical skills ensure accuracy in test results and effective communication with physicians and patients.

Soft Skills

Soft skills are equally important for EKG technicians, as they must communicate effectively with patients and other healthcare personnel. Excellent communication skills are essential for explaining the EKG procedure to patients, positioning them correctly for the test, and connecting the required electrodes. EKG technicians must also possess empathy, as they often work with patients who may be anxious, scared, or in pain.

In addition to communication and empathy, attention to detail and the ability to work under pressure are also critical soft skills for EKG technicians. These skills contribute to a successful and fulfilling career in the healthcare industry, ensuring that patients receive the highest level of care.

EKG Technician Salary and Job Outlook

A picture of a person holding a paycheck

The EKG technicians in the US earn an average salary of $50,844 annually. This is compelling evidence that pursuing a career in EKG technician is quite rewarding. This figure can vary depending on factors such as education, experience, and location. The job outlook for EKG technicians is promising, with an estimated growth of 17% from 2019 to 2029. This growth is due to an aging population and the increasing prevalence of heart disease.

With a strong demand for EKG technicians in the healthcare field, now is an opportune time to pursue a career in this profession. Let’s explore the factors that can influence an EKG technician’s salary and the job outlook for this in-demand career.

Factors Affecting Salary

An image showing an EKG technician performing an electrocardiogram test, one of the factors affecting ekg technician salary.

Several factors can influence an EKG technician’s salary, including experience, educational background, geographical area, and certification. Experience can have a positive effect on salary, as those with more experience may be able to negotiate higher wages. Education can also impact salary, as those with more advanced levels of education may be able to receive higher wages.

Geographical location may influence the remuneration of an EKG technician, as wages may differ across states or even cities. Certification can have a positive influence on salary, as those with certifications may be able to negotiate higher wages.

It is important to consider these factors when evaluating the earning potential of a career as an EKG technician.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for EKG technicians is anticipated to increase 17% from 2019 to 2029 as a result of an aging population and the continued prevalence of heart disease. This growth in demand for EKG technicians presents a promising career opportunity for individuals interested in this profession.

EKG technicians can find employment in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, outpatient centers, private practices, and specialty long-term care facilities. As the healthcare industry continues to evolve and the need for diagnostic testing increases, EKG technicians will remain an essential part of the diagnostic process, ensuring patients receive the care they need.

Continuing Education and Career Advancement

A picture of a person studying for a certification exam

Continuing education and career advancement opportunities are essential for EKG technicians to stay current in their field and further their careers. EKG technicians have the opportunity to specialize in a specific area of cardiology, acquire additional certifications, or progress to supervisory or management roles. Additionally, they may pursue careers in medical lab technology, cardiovascular technology, neurodiagnostic technology, and various other fields.

Staying up-to-date with the latest advancements in the field and pursuing additional certifications and education can lead to new opportunities and higher salaries for EKG technicians. Let’s explore the continuing education requirements and career advancement opportunities for EKG technicians.

Continuing Education Requirements

EKG Technicians must complete the requisite Continuing Education (CE) courses in order to remain certified. Certified Engineering Technicians (CETs) must renew their credentials every two years with ten CE credits, while Certified Control Technicians (CCTs) must renew their credentials every three years with sixteen CE credits.

Continuing education ensures that EKG technicians stay current with the latest advancements in their field and maintain their knowledge and skills. This which includes practical training not only benefits the technician, but also ensures that patients receive the highest level of care.

Career Advancement Opportunities

EKG technicians have the potential to advance their careers by monitoring athletes, performing stress tests in private practices, or obtaining additional certifications. Additionally, they can pursue supervisory or management positions, leading to increased responsibility and higher salaries.

By continually expanding their knowledge and skills, EKG technicians can open up new career opportunities and increase their earning potential. Pursuing specialized areas of cardiology or taking on leadership roles will not only benefit the technician, but also contribute to the overall quality of healthcare provided to patients.


In conclusion, a career as an EKG technician offers a rewarding and growing profession in the healthcare industry. With various education and training pathways available, certifications to enhance credibility, essential skills for success, and a promising salary and job outlook, now is an opportune time to embark on a journey towards a fulfilling career as an EKG technician. By staying current with continuing education and pursuing career advancement opportunities, EKG technicians can ensure a bright future in this in-demand profession.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the highest paid EKG technician?

With the highest 10 percent earning more than $98,070 per year, the highest paid EKG technicians are those at the top of the salary percentile range.

Is being an EKG tech stressful?

It can be both a challenging and rewarding career for someone who has great attention to detail and enjoys working in a team. While there are potential stressors such as short deadlines and demanding physicians, having a supportive work environment and following the physician’s instructions accurately can help minimize the stress.

Being an EKG tech does come with its own set of challenges, administrative tasks such as maintaining laser-like focus and excellent attention to detail while adhering to short deadlines and following precise instructions. Working in a supportive environment, however, can help reduce potential stress and make being an EKG tech a rewarding career.

How much do EKG technicians make in CT?

On average, an EKG Technician in Connecticut can expect to make an annual salary of $45,198, which is equivalent to approximately $21.73 per hour.

What are the duties of an EKG technician?

As an EKG technician, you will be responsible for connecting patients to machines in order to produce electrocardiograms (EKGs). You will also monitor the EKG readings and provide the results to medical personnel.

Additionally, you may be required to perform tests of a patient’s heart and lungs.

What all does an EKG tech do?

EKG technicians are an important part of the healthcare team, playing a vital role in assessing the health of patients’ hearts and cardiovascular systems. They prepare patients, conduct, monitor and analyze electrocardiogram (EKG) tests, and provide valuable information to physicians for diagnosis and treatment.