Choosing any profession is difficult and brings a lot of uncertainty. You might be concerned about whether the job is in demand, or whether you can afford training. Will you have flexible scheduling or receive a high enough salary?
If you’re in search of excitement, flexibility, and plenty of open positions, then a career as a certified cardiographic technician (also known as a cardiac monitor technician) ticks all those boxes – and more!
What Does a Cardiographic Tech Do?
Stanford EdTech / Flickr
/ CC BY-NC-ND
Looking for a nine-to-five job that requires sitting behind a computer? This isn’t it.
You may have heard cardiographic technicians called a few things (e.g. ECG technician, telemetry monitor technician, rhythm analysis technician). No matter what you call them, the work that these professionals do is crucial.
Duties and Responsibilities
Cardiographic technicians assist physicians in their diagnosis and treatment of cardiac diseases like irregular heartbeats and arrhythmias. Technicians use a variety of instruments and methods to perform these diagnostic procedures. If it involves the electrical impulses of the heart, then a cardiographic technician is likely to be conducting the physician-ordered test.
quinn.anya / Flickr / CC BY-SA
A cardiographic tech may carry out an electrocardiogram test
, which is a test used to examine the electrical activity of the heart. These allied health professionals place electrodes (referred to as “leads”) on various points of a patient’s body. The test records a series of tracings on a sheet of paper which is then analyzed by a physician.
Holter Monitor Test
Here, the leads are only placed on the chest, and the monitor is worn for 24 to 48 hours to get a better picture of the heart's electrical activity.
Exercise electrocardiograms are most commonly called “stress tests”, and require the cardiographic tech to monitor a patient while they work out (usually on a treadmill or stationary bike). The goal here is to determine where the heart loses its rhythm.
From infants to pregnant women to senior citizens, technicians work with people from all walks of life. They’ll gather patient histories and walk them through the procedures they’ll perform.
Not only do techs work with patients, but they work closely with doctors. Some techs work directly with doctors by carrying out requested diagnostic tests. They may discuss their interpretation of the results with medical staff (like doctors and residents) which makes them an integral part of the allied health team.
How Much Do Cardiographic Technicians Make?
Job satisfaction is important, but paying your bills is necessary. The average cardiographic tech salary
is just under $29,000, but for experienced techs, this number can climb to an average $27 per hour.
Like any career, salaries are based on experience, location, and the workplace itself. For techs at hospitals, they might earn an average $36,000 whereas laboratory techs can rake in more than $42,000.
Where Can I Find Cardiographic Technicians Jobs?
This type of work takes technicians into many different places and situations, from a relatively calm doctor’s office to a chaotic emergency room. The variety of workplace environments provides flexibility, challenges, and satisfaction, depending on what techs prefer.
Techs who work in hospitals may assist in invasive procedures or perform diagnostic testing as ordered by physicians. They will also check on patients after surgery to carry out follow-up testing like EKGs.
Whether in a hospital or in an office, you’ll be helping to care for patients with all kinds of health conditions.
Finding Cardiographic Technician Jobs
The cardiographic technician job outlook is better than most fields. Between 2018 and 2028, this field is predicted to grow by 14%. That’s a much higher rate of growth than the average industry. As baby boomers age and medical technology improves, this field should only continue to see more growth.
What You Need to Become a Certified Cardiographic Technician
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/ CC BY-NC-ND
A cardiographic technician needs to be detail-oriented and capable of following instructions well. They’ll be required to concentrate on a screen while examining a patient with their equipment – excellent focus is necessary.
Coordination is Essential
The placement of testing equipment is crucial for accurate testing. Techs need to be coordinated and accurate with their placement. They may also be in dimly lit rooms and tight spaces where it’s difficult to position instruments correctly.
Interpersonal Skills are Integral
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/ CC BY
Technicians spend all day working with patients so above-average interpersonal skills are vital. Patients are often in pain and distress – in the midst of emergency diabetic issues, heart issues, strokes and other medical emergencies – so you need to be able to interact with compassion and professionalism.
Stay in Shape (and Get a Good Pair of Shoes)
Cardiographic technicians should be in good shape and be able to stand for long periods of time. Patients may be immobile or need assistance, so techs need to be able to move and assist those patients when required.
Understanding Electronics is Valuable
Finally, a love of technology and electronics is helpful for techs. Since you’ll be operating electronic equipment all day and often maintaining it, an understanding of electronics is helpful. Additionally, the rise of electronic medical records makes computer skills mandatory for allied healthcare workers.
Getting Your Cardiographic Technician Certification
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/ CC BY-NC-ND
The most common form of cardiographic technician training is through a certificate program. Many community colleges and technical schools offer programs in advanced EKG training which also include training in electrocardiograms (EKG, ECG), stress testing, holter monitoring, and telemetry monitoring. Cardiographic technician courses focus primarily on non-invasive procedures.
Is Cardiographic Technician Certification Necessary?
While most states don’t yet have a licensing or certification requirement, insurance providers are less likely to pay for a procedure if it’s not performed by a certified technician. Certification may not be compulsory, but it also certainly show a potential employer that you’re fully qualified for the job.
Most employers prefer techs to gain their Certified Cardiographic Technician (CCT) credential through Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI).
Ready to Get Your Cardiographic Tech Certification?
If you’re in the New Jersey area and seeking a rewarding career, check out how to apply to our cardiographic technician program
. There’s never been a better time to enter this allied health profession!