A Career as an EKG Technician in Minnesota
Electrocardiography (EKG) is an allied health discipline in which trained technicians take a series of adhesive pads and attach them to specific areas on a patient, connecting the pads to an EKG machine, which measures electrical currents generated by the beating heart. In concert with doctors and nurses, EKG technicians interpret the measurements, which can help diagnose a number of heart conditions.
Requirements for EKG Technicians in Minnesota
EKG testing is done at the instruction of a doctor or nurse, so while EKG technicians are very skilled, they’re not regulated by the state in the way that doctors and nurses are. Most employers looking for EKG technicians will expect you to be certified by one of the private, national certifying bodies like the National Healthcareer Association, the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians or the National Center for Competency Testing.
To be certified, you’ll need to have graduated high school or have a general equivalency diploma. You’ll also need to pass an exam, which you won’t be allowed to take unless you can show that you have a year of properly supervised experience in the field or have completed a training course. You’ll also need to have performed at least 10 EKGs on live patients.
Training Programs for EKG Technicians in Minnesota
As EKG technicians are in demand in a variety of healthcare settings, training opportunities are available in person throughout the state and online. Here are a few examples:
- Dakota County Technical College is based in Rosemount and offers a six-credit trimester course for EKG technicians, consisting of four hours of classroom training and two hours of laboratory and clinical training per week. The course prepares students to take the NHA certification exam.
- Mayo Clinic in Rochester has a competitive cardiovascular specialist training that cross-trains students in skills including EKG. It is a 21-month program designed to graduate extremely hirable people and awards an associate’s degree and a completion certificate. (An associate’s degree that includes EKG training can supersede the need for specific certification in EKG).
- MedCerts is an online course to be completed in 11 weeks. Topics include EKG interpretation, the anatomy and physiology of the heart, and compliance with the legal requirements in handling patient data. The training meets the academic requirements to take the NHA exam, and the program finds work placements for students to meet the clinical requirements for the exam. The program also helps graduates find work.
Certification for EKG Technicians in Minnesota
EKG technicians work closely with doctors and nurses, who are ultimately responsible for any clinical decisions made, so EKG techs are themselves not regulated by the state. Nationally recognized certifications demonstrate technical competency and increase your attractiveness to employers. Certification and examination have a small cost attached, which is sometimes covered by your training program.
You can also get trained in EKG specialties like Holter monitoring and stress testing. Many EKG techs also cross-train in other skills like phlebotomy and medical recording to boost their value and compensation.
Job Outlook and Salary Expectations
EKG is a core part of medical diagnostics because it is done routinely as part of the safety procedures before surgery. Also, as our population ages, allied healthcare roles are growing quickly. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that by 2029 there will be 12 percent more jobs for EKG technicians and similar allied health roles across the country.
In Minnesota, the average hourly wage for a EKG technicians is $31.28, with an annual average salary of $65,070.
Working as an EKG Technician in Minnesota
EKG technicians work long hours, with evening and weekend work a common occurrence. Hospitals, doctors’ offices, medical testing centers, and large organizations like prisons or big workplaces employ EKG techs. With dedication and hard work, it is possible to find suitable roles in every type of region of the state and country. When you’re ready to enter the workforce, big job websites like Indeed, Monster and ZipRecruiter are good places to find employment.