How to Become an EKG Technician in Alabama
An EKG technician is responsible for conducting diagnostic cardiovascular tests like the electrocardiogram (EKG) on patients. EKGs are crucial because they can show whether a patient may be having or have had a heart attack or be at risk for heart disease. EKGs also give clues to anything that may be going on in the heart, including irregular heartbeats and artery blockages.
As the primary healthcare workers who administer these tests, EKG technicians are essential members of the healthcare field. The job requirements for this occupation vary by state. Keep reading to find out what you need to do to become an EKG technician in Alabama.
Alabama Requirements to Work as an EKG Tech
Alabama does not have specific statewide requirements for those interested in working as EKG technicians. However, state healthcare jobs are regulated by the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), so if this field were to become regulated, this is the organization that would do it.
At this time, requirements are set by the employer and are basic. This includes holding a high school diploma or GED and having EKG interpretation training. Some employers may require that employees have educational experience in healthcare, such as a two-year associate degree in a healthcare-related field.
Training for EKG Technicians in Alabama
In the past, many EKG technicians received on-the-job training and learned as they went. However, these days, more employers would rather hire someone who already has been trained rather than waiting for them to learn on the job. So if you are considering a career as an EKG technician in Alabama, you might want to complete a training program first. Here are a couple of available programs in the state:
Auburn University. The EKG technician program at Auburn University includes the option of completing a clinical externship and taking a national certification exam. This program is completed online, except for the clinical practicum. The program lasts about four months and is made up of 375 contact hours. Students will learn anatomy and physiology of the heart, medical terminology and medical ethics.
Jefferson State Community College. Jefferson State Community College also offers an online EKG technician program. This program provides students with support and mentoring 24/7. The course content is presented through videos, student exercises and interactive online labs. Students will learn medical terminology, anatomy and physiology of the heart, EKG and stress testing and more. Graduates will be eligible to sit for the national certification exam.
Although it isn’t required, you may want to consider getting national certification once you have graduated from a training program. Certification could help you with career advancement as well as salary-wise.
Two of the leading credentialing agencies for the EKG technician exam are the American Society of Phlebotomy Technician (ASPT) and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). To become certified through the ASPT, you must be a member of the organization, complete an approved training program and have a letter of verification from your instructor. Membership and testing fees are also applicable. For NHA certification, you must set up an NHA account, apply for the exam and pay the required fees.
Wages and Job Growth Expectations
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that EKG technicians in Alabama made an average salary of $23.81 hourly or $49,520 annually in 2019. The most experienced technicians can make as much as $77,760 annually.
Workers in this field are high in demand, with a predicted increase in jobs of 5.9 percent in the state between 2018 and 2028. This is just behind the expected national growth of 6.7 percent.
Opportunities for EKG Technicians
Most EKG technicians work in clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Job opportunities are likely to be available throughout the state wherever there is a need for healthcare workers. However, you might have the most luck finding work in some of the larger cities including Birmingham, Gadsden, Mobile and Montgomery. Regardless of where you find employment, with room for growth and a good salary, you are likely to enjoy an excellent long career in the field of healthcare.