How to Become an EKG Technician in California

EKG technicians form a vital part of the healthcare system, as they are the primary providers who perform the testing to diagnose and monitor cardiac conditions. An EKG test is performed by applying electrodes to the chest, arms and legs of the patient, which sense the electrical activity in the heart over several heartbeats. The test provides a visual tracing that can be read by a doctor or trained provider to identify a heart attack or harmful arrhythmia.

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Working as an EKG technician can require a great deal of physical stamina, as they often need to move between patient wards or rooms to provide testing. The job may require working off-shift hours, weekends and holidays, especially in a hospital setting.

A compassionate and friendly demeanor is a necessity in any healthcare field, as it is common to work with patients who are anxious about the testing being performed and the medical problems they are facing. EKG technicians often need to perform testing emergently, making the work potentially stressful.

California Licensing

EKG technicians are not required to procure a license in the state of California. However, a lack of statewide oversight does not mean that technicians don’t have stringent regulations to meet. In fact, healthcare organizations need to follow strict guidelines at all times to remain certified by various agencies. Technicians will need to adhere to the practice guidelines used in the organization in which they are employed.

Training for EKG Technicians in California

Prior to training as an EKG technician, you will need to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Then, post-secondary training in the field is generally accomplished in one of two ways. Traditionally, EKG technicians entered the field through another allied health profession and were promoted and trained on the job. However, modern EKG technicians often seek training through a technical program. A few possibilities for training in California include:

  • City College of San Francisco offers a two-year degree program for Cardiovascular/Echo Technician. Students will learn cardiac ultrasound, anatomy and physiology, advanced rhythm interpretation and exercise stress testing.
  • Grossmont College offers an Associate in Science in Cardiovascular Technology. Students will acquire skills through classroom learning and a hands-on practicum.
  • Orange Coast College offers an Associate in Science degree in Cardiovascular Technology. The program includes the classroom and clinical experience necessary to begin a career as a cardiovascular technician.

Potential Certifications

Although there is no legal requirement to acquire certification as an EKG technician, it is worth consideration as a potentially career-boosting move. Since different organizations offer accreditations and varying types of credentials you can earn, it will be essential to research which certifications will best help you meet your career goals.

Salaries and Career Growth in California

Cardiovascular technologists and technicians in California enjoy higher wages compared to the national average, with significant variations across different regions within the state. The highest median salaries are observed in the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara areas, highlighting the impact of regional economic conditions on wage levels.

National vs. California Salaries:

Location 10th Percentile 25th Percentile Median (50th Percentile) 75th Percentile 90th Percentile
United States $36,620 $44,160 $66,170 $85,930 $105,140
California $47,900 $56,630 $80,850 $118,150 $147,540

Salaries and Percentiles by Region:

Region 10th Percentile 25th Percentile Median (50th Percentile) 75th Percentile 90th Percentile
Bakersfield, CA $47,610 $59,060 $80,220 $114,170 $119,730
Chico, CA $50,520 $63,110 $111,430 $132,570 $132,570
Fresno, CA $45,240 $45,240 $53,710 $97,020 $119,000
Los Angeles-Long Beach

EKG TechnicianTrends in California

The employment trends for cardiovascular technologists and technicians in California show positive growth over the decade from 2020 to 2030. In 2020, there were 5,000 individuals employed in this occupation in California, and this number is projected to increase to 5,500 by 2030, reflecting a 10% growth rate. Additionally, there are expected to be about 420 job openings annually during this period, which includes positions due to both growth and replacement needs.

Nationally, the employment for cardiovascular technologists and technicians was 58,900 in 2022, with a projected increase to 61,100 by 2032, indicating a 4% growth rate. The average annual job openings nationally are projected to be around 3,900.

Table of the Data

Location Employment (2020/2022) Projected Employment (2030/2032) Projected Growth (%) Projected Annual Job Openings
California 5,000 (2020) 5,500 (2030) 10% 420
United States 58,900 (2022) 61,100 (2032) 4% 3,900
Source of data:
  • California source: Projections Central 2020-2030 long-term projections.
  • United States source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2022-2032 employment projections.

California Opportunities

EKG technicians find work in many situations, from hospitals to physicians’ offices and various types of clinics. In California, potential employers include PIH Health, Alvardo Hospital Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente, Sharpe Health Care and Los Alamitos Medical Center. Regardless of where you choose to work, becoming an EKG technician can lead to a rewarding and lucrative career.

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