How to Become an EKG Technician in Montana
Heart disease is one of the most widespread types of illness modern medicine treats. The function of the heart also plays a crucial role in many other health issues. That’s why electrocardiograph (EKG) technicians are in great demand. They use an EKG machine to measure electrical impulses given off by the beating heart. Working with doctors and nurses, they interpret these measurements to help diagnose many health conditions.
Requirements for Becoming an EKG Technician in Montana
There is no state regulation of who can be an EKG technician, but employers will expect potential hires to be nationally certified. There are a number of certifying bodies, including the National Centre for Competency Testing (NCCT), the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians (ASPT) and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
All require applicants to pass an examination and to prove they have completed an accredited EKG training course or have a year’s appropriately supervised work experience in the field. To take the exam, one must have performed 10n EKG scans on live patients.
Training programs require applicants to be high school graduates or to hold a General Equivalency diploma. As the required clinical experience can involve work with real patients, a criminal background check and a drug screening are sometimes required.
Training Programs for EKG Technicians in Montana
There are few in-person options for EKG training in the state, but a number of online options are also available. Here are a few examples:
- Bitterroot College is based in Hamilton and offers an EKG program aimed at individuals who are already working in the healthcare industry. The 50-hour program includes classroom and laboratory education and fulfills all the requirements to take the ASPT exam. Financial aid is available.
- MedCerts is an 11-week online program that covers the anatomical and technical aspects of EKG work as well as practical guides to the healthcare system and working with patients. The course prepares students to take the NHA exam, and will help connect you with an externship to fulfill the practical experience requirements for the exam. The program will also assist with job placement.
- Phlebotomy Career Training offers an EKG course online that also covers cardiac monitoring, preparing you for certification examinations in both specialties. The course connects students with a shadowing experience with a working EKG tech that allows you to undertake the live scans required before taking the exam.
Qualifications for EKG Technicians in Montana
Because EKG technicians work under the supervision of nurses and doctors, who are responsible for clinical decision making, they are not directly regulated by the state of Montana. However, most employers require certification or significant experience. While the NHA certification is most well-known, it is best to check what employers in your area prefer. Certification and the qualifying exams carry a small fee, which is sometimes covered by your training program.
Job Outlook and Salary Expectations
EKG technicians are in high demand, particularly as nearly all surgical procedures require an EKG to be performed as part of preoperative screening. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs in the field across the country is expected to grow 12 percent by 2029—much faster than average job growth across all occupations.
The average hourly wage in Montana for EKG techs is $30.83, with an average annual salary of $64,130. Experience and gaining new skills such as Holter monitoring and stress testing can increase your compensation, as can undertaking continuing professional education to keep up to date with the latest developments in the field.
Working as an EKG Technician in Montana
EKG technicians work long hours, including evenings and weekends. Roles are often available at hospitals, diagnostic centers and nursing homes, and can be found on job websites like Indeed, ZipRecruiter and Monster. Patience and attention to detail are essential skills, but with dedication you can flourish in this valuable role.