Becoming an EKG Technician in North Carolina
Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) machines are sophisticated devices used to check the heart health of people in medical facilities. Operation of these machines relies on the skills of trained EKG technicians. Without trained technicians on the job, a vital part of the healthcare system would not work safely or efficiently.
As much as any other state, North Carolina depends on the services provided by skilled EKG techs. Like other states, North Carolina also has rules in place that govern the conditions in which these technicians work. If you’re interested in a career as an EKG specialist, this guide will help clarify how the state’s rules apply to you. It will also direct you toward resources that support your employment goals.
Licensing and Training Standards for North Carolina EKG Techs
In most states, EKG technicians don’t need to get an official license before they can look for work. Instead, they’re classified as unlicensed healthcare personnel. North Carolina follows this widespread norm. However, the lack of licensing is not the same as the lack of rules. Under state law, unlicensed medical personnel must receive adequate supervision at all times.
Who provides this supervision? That responsibility falls to registered and practical nurses licensed by North Carolina’s State Nursing Board. Nurses make sure that all EKG technicians know how to perform their jobs. They also make sure that EKG techs don’t attempt to do anything outside of their job descriptions. Instead, all techs must follow set procedures for using electrocardiogram machines.
Some North Carolina medical facilities train their own staff of EKG specialists. Other facilities require you to get training before you apply for an open position. You’ll need to check which approach any potential employer prefers. Be aware that some facilities give preference to applicants who do such things as:
- Get certified by a national organization that provides testing for would-be EKG technicians
- Demonstrate prior work experience in the healthcare field
- Graduate from a community college program
Places to Get Trained in North Carolina
Some states don’t offer a lot of training options for EKG techs. This is not the case in North Carolina. Examples of institutions offering formal training include:
- Guildford Technical Community College – Jamestown-based GTCC provides you with 96 hours of training in EKG skills and related topics. It takes about two months to complete the program. Upon graduating, you can sit for a national certification exam.
- Coastal Carolina Community College – Jacksonville-based Coastal Carolina offers a 70-hour course for cardiovascular technicians. People with this title perform the same functions as an EKG tech. The school states that a very high percentage of its students go on to receive some form of national certification.
- Blue Ridge Community College – Blue Ridge maintains campuses in Hendersonville, Flat Rock and Brevard. The school’s EKG technician program has both an in-person and an online component. Graduates can sit for the certification exam offered by the National Healthcareer Association.
How Much Can You Make As a North Carolina EKG Tech?
The average yearly salary for an EKG technician in North Carolina is just under $37,000. In most cases, annual income hovers between $33,000 and $43,000. New techs typically have salaries in the mid- to upper-$20,000s. People with lots of experience can make $48,000 or more a year.
Long-Term Employment Prospects
In any given line of work, it’s important to consider how the job market will look in a few years’ time. For people trained as EKG technicians, prospects look quite favorable. In fact, EKG specialists and similar technicians can expect to benefit from roughly 15,600 new job openings between 2019 and 2029. Very few professions can match this level of steadily increasing demand.