How to Become an EKG Technician in Illinois

If you enjoy working with people and want to take advantage of job growth in healthcare, consider becoming an EKG technician. Without a college degree, you can enjoy job security and a great salary while working as an integral part of medical teams.

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EKG techs perform electrocardiograms, tests of heart function. They take patients in, set up and run the test, and look at the results to make sure the test worked correctly. EKGs provide doctors and nurses with essential information that helps diagnose and treat patients. In Illinois, becoming an EKG tech is as simple as completing a short training program.

Illinois EKG Technician Requirements

Illinois considers EKG technicians to be unlicensed medical professionals. This means they do not need to have any specific degree, certification or license to practice. The work of EKG technicians is directly supervised by licensed healthcare workers, usually nurses.

Many employers have requirements for hiring EKG techs. At a minimum you will need to have a high school diploma or GED. Some hospitals or other employers also prefer to hire new techs who have completed a short training program, usually no more than a couple of months. Others will train techs on the job.

EKG Tech Programs in Illinois

While there are no strict requirements for being hired as an EKG technician in Illinois, you will enjoy better job prospects if you complete a training program first. It shows employers that you are serious about the career and have the necessary skills to do entry-level work. You can find several EKG programs throughout Illinois including:

  • Chicago School of Phlebotomy. Just outside of Chicago in Naperville, the School of Phlebotomy offers a six-week EKG program where you’ll learn in a classroom setting and practice skills in a lab.
  • Oakton Community College. This school has two campuses, in Des Plaines and Skokie, and an eight-week EKG program. It is designed to prepare you for a job in EKG technology and to pass a certification exam.
  • Triton College. This program in River Grove takes about two months to complete and includes in-person classes and labs two nights per week. Upon graduation you should be able to pass the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) certification exam.
  • Lincoln Land Community College. This program in Springfield also prepares graduates for the NHA exam. The course includes 40 hours of instruction as well as online reading and simulations. Students also get to perform 10 real-world EKG tests in a local hospital.

National Certification Programs

Certification is not required for EKG technicians in Illinois, but it’s a good way to show potential employers that you have been trained. Any good program in EKG will prepare you to pass one of the certification exams that is widely recognized.

One of these is the NHA Certified EKG Technician (CET) exam. In order to qualify for the CET exam, you must have completed high school and finished an EKG training program or have one year of work experience performing at least 10 EKGs.

The American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians (ASPT) also offers a certification. The qualifications to take the exam are similar to those set by the NHA. Additionally, you must have a verification letter from an instructor or employer and proof of an EKG you have run for a patient.

Salary Expectations and Job Growth for EKG Technicians

Cardiovascular technologists and technicians in Illinois earn slightly below the national average. The data shows that the average annual salary for these professionals in Illinois is $63,270, compared to the national average of $66,170. The wage distribution within the state reveals significant variations across different regions, reflecting local economic conditions and demand for these professionals.

National vs. Illinois 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
Illinois $38,770 $44,780 $63,270 $92,300 $100,880

Salaries and Percentiles by Region within Illinois:

Region 10th Percentile 25th Percentile Median (50th Percentile) 75th Percentile 90th Percentile
Champaign-Urbana, IL $37,390 $44,210 $49,160 $80,120 $95,520
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI $40,390 $46,140 $64,420 $95,320 $100,880
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL $38,750 $49,500 $68,040 $76,760 $95,790
Kankakee, IL $39,780 $42,590 $66,490 $92,670 $97,590
Peoria, IL $37,150 $37,150 $43,000 $86,110 $105,530
Rockford, IL $36,790 $47,090 $82,150 $96,050 $100,190
Springfield, IL $45,790 $45,790 $47,120 $76,530 $88,460
St. Louis, MO-IL $37,270 $41,930 $65,500 $84,400 $97,180

EKG TechnicianTrends in Illinois

The employment trends for cardiovascular technologists and technicians in Illinois show modest growth over the decade from 2020 to 2030. In 2020, there were 2,890 individuals employed in this occupation in Illinois, and this number is projected to increase to 3,000 by 2030, reflecting a 4% growth rate. Additionally, there are expected to be about 220 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
Illinois 2,890 (2020) 3,000 (2030) 4% 220
United States 58,900 (2022) 61,100 (2032) 4% 3,900
Source of data:
  • Illinois source: Projections Central 2020-2030 long-term projections.
  • United States source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2022-2032 employment projections.

EKG Jobs in Illinois

Demand is high for qualified EKG technicians, so finding a job anywhere in the state should not be difficult. Hospitals are the main employers, but EKG techs also work in physician offices, specialist offices and medical and diagnostic laboratories.

Some examples of recent listings for EKG technicians in Illinois include: EKG technician, rotating at the University of Chicago Medicine, Chicago; EKG tech at Fusion Medical Staffing, Peoria; EKG technician at CGH Medical Center, Sterling; and cardiology technician at Northwestern Medicine, Chicago.

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