Electrocardiogram or ECG technicians perform diagnostics tests that help physicians/ doctors identify cardiovascular problems in patients. ECG technicians can help discover irregularities in the heart, which could lead to a heart disease or worst, cardiac arrest.
It is a painless, noninvasive way to help diagnose common heart problems in people of all ages. ECG is usually conducted to detect or determine:
- Abnormal heart rhythm
- Blocked or narrowed arteries in the heart, causing chest pain or a heart attack
- Patient have had history of previous heart attack or heart disease
- Assess the
ECG technicians usually work in hospitals, but also have employment opportunities in private clinics, long-term specialty care and ambulances. The job responsibilities for an electrocardiogram technician includes:
- Explain the tests to patients prior to conducting them.
- Ensure patient safety and maintain hygiene in the test area.
- Perform and schedule ECG tests according to the hospital’s procedures.
- Maintain ECG equipment and any inventory needed to run tests.
- Perform administrative tasks such as recording results, data entry and filing.
- Attend training programs as required by the healthcare system.
ECG Technicians Career Requirements
To work as an ECG technician, one needs a high school diploma or a diploma program. Although higher education is not mandatory but employers do require candidates with relevant certification and may not hire without it.
ECG technicians can gain training in three ways:
- Healthcare facility may provide on-the-job training.
- Complete an associate degree in related field and acquire practical knowledge during the program.
- Complete a short-term certification course.
Apart from technical skills, ECG Technicians need a variety of soft skills to succeed in their role:
Communication: ECG technicians need excellent communication skills – verbal and written. They need to interact with patients and team members and file accurate reports.
Attention to detail: An ECG technician need to be attentive as they need to review tests, understand and report any irregularities to the physician. Also, they need to follow hospital procedures and protocols whilst performing the tests.
Stamina: ECG professionals are often on their feet for hours at the time. It is a stressful job as professionals may have back-to-back patients and they need to go back and forth between the patients, machine and the physician.
Empathy: Not all patients are aware of the process thus, it is important that professional is able to clearly and calmly explain the process to the patients. They also need to help keep the patients calm, as this can be a highly stressful time for them.
Interesting facts about this exciting profession:
- EKG and ECG Technicians are the Same: Many people get confused in these two abbreviations and both stand for electrocardiogram. The only difference between them is that EKG is the German spelling – Elektrokardiographie.
- ECG Technicians don’t do EEG: ECG techs are responsible for administering a variety of cardiac tests and measure the electrical activity of the heart to determine the cardiac health. EEG which stands for electroencephalogra, EEG techs run diagnostic tests to study the electrical activity of the brain.
- ECG Techs can be Phlebotomist too: Depending on the training, ECG technicians can have diverse skills which they may apply in other allied professions. Many ECG technicians combine their training with phlebotomy training. Although different expertise, combining them prepare students for wide variety of careers.
- ECG technicians work in variety of settings: Electrocardiography technicians work in variety of settings such as hospitals, long-term care facilities and private clinics. Additionally, ECG techs also provide mobile services, designed for patients with reduced mobility or are unable to travel.
Job Prospects & Salary
Obtaining ECG certification is a smart move to enter the healthcare career. It demonstrates your skills are up to date and moreover, insurance providers only cover procedures carried out by certified ECG technicians. Paramedic Academy of BizTech College offers 4-Day training program that covers all theoretical and practical aspects of the training.
The outlook for this profession is good in Canada and demand is stable. Certified ECG technicians earn an average salary of $27.32 per hour.
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