How to Become an EKG Technician in Washington, D.C.
The EKG, or electrocardiograph machine, consists of some sticky pads and wires that are applied to the body, attached to a machine that measures the electrical currents generated by the beating of the human heart. EKG examinations are a crucial diagnostic tool in heart medicine and an important safety measure to ensure that patients about to undergo surgery are fit and healthy. EKG technicians conduct these exams for patients of all ages, levels of health and backgrounds.
Requirements for Becoming an EKG Technician in Washington, D.C.
The district does not directly regulate EKG technicians, but most employers will require new hires to have passed one of the national certification exams, such as the National Healthcareer Association Certified EKG Technician exam. Other certifying bodies include the National Center for Competency Testing and the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians.
To sit one for of these exams you need to have completed an accredited training course and performed at least 10 EKG exams with live patients. Training courses are open to those with a high school or general equivalency diploma, and financial aid is often available. Because the practical part of EKG training often takes place in a clinical setting, some courses also require a criminal background check.
Training Courses for EKG Technicians in Washington, D.C.
There are a number of opportunities for EKG training in the D.C. area. Here are a few examples:
- Carroll Community College is based in nearby Westminster, Maryland, and offers a 66-hour program that consists of two sequential courses and prepares students to take the Certified Cardiographic Technician exam. Prior healthcare experience or prerequisite courses including anatomy and physiology and an introduction to the healthcare system are required.
- Westlink DC offers a 12-week, full-time course that prepares you for EKG and phlebotomy certification. Students get intensive classroom education and clinical practice at community hospitals, and are prepared for certification exams in both phlebotomy and EKG. The course also covers the cost of examinations and credentialing and assists with job placement.
- The University of the District of Columbia offers a 12-week EKG program that prepares you for all aspects of EKG work and has a clinical experience section. It prepares you for the NHA CET exam and can be taken alongside other UDC courses like phlebotomy and medical record keeping.
Certification for EKG Technicians in Washington, D.C.
The application process and the exam for most nationally recognized certifications carries a small fee, which is often covered by your tuition for an accredited training course. While most employers will accept a variety of certifications, if there is a particular employer you are hoping will hire you, it is advisable to research which certification they prefer. Getting trained in more advanced EKG skills such as Holter monitoring and stress testing is also of benefit to job candidates.
Job Outlook and Salary Expectations
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, EKG technicians and other similar specialists will see an increase of 12 percent in the number of available jobs across the US by 2029—much faster growth than average across all occupations.
In Washington, D.C., the average hourly wage for EKG techs is $37.91, with an average annual salary of $78,850.
Working as an EKG Technician in Washington, D.C.
As an EKG technician, you will be a crucial support for doctors, nurses and other allied health workers, working long hours that can include evening and weekend work. As our population ages, demand for the role will continue to increase. Technicians with a strong work ethic and good attention to detail can find jobs at doctors’ offices, hospitals and any organization that does medical diagnostics in-house.