An electrocardiography (EKG) technician has the job of performing EKGs, which are tests that record heart activity. In some places, EKG technicians have to earn certification in order become licensed in this field. Some bachelor’s degree programs require certification as well. Additionally, some employers prefer applicants who have earned certification to those who have not. The certification process and requirements may vary from place to place. In general, however, you typically have to enroll in or complete an education program, pay a fee, and pass an exam to earn EKG technician certification.
The requirements for EKG technician certification may vary, depending on the jurisdiction in which you want to be certified and the organization through which you want to earn your credential. Some jurisdictions have more than one certifying organization, so your first step may be contacting the certifying organization in your area for information. When you do so, you can compare the organizations in terms of eligibility requirements, exam costs, exam length, and content. Once you decide which certification process you’d like to pursue, you can then go on to make decisions about your education.
EKG technician certification programs often require candidates to enroll in and complete an accredited educational program or be enrolled in such a program in order to be eligible for certification testing. There are different ways to seek education, but the first step is usually earning a high school diploma or its equivalent. With one of these credentials in hand, you may then go on to enroll in a certificate or degree program in cardiovascular technology. These programs usually include instruction in a classroom setting as well as laboratory instruction and some clinical practice. You may also pursue a bachelor's degree in preparation for a career as an EKG technician, but some of these programs require applicants to be certified before they are admitted; others may require certification before graduation.
While the exact content of a cardiovascular technology program may vary from school to school, these programs typically cover such subjects as anatomy and physiology, electrocardiography, and pharmacology. They often include instruction in medical technology and medical ethics as well as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid. Typically, bachelor’s degree programs last for about four years while associate’s degree programs last for about two. Certificate programs are often completed in about a year, though there are some that are even shorter.
Once you have met the requirements for EKG technician certification through the organization of your choice, you’ll typically have to pass an exam or series of exams to earn certification. This may include not only written exams, but also practical exams in some places. Written exams are often multiple choice.