Becoming an EKG Technician in New Jersey
EKG technicians specialize in providing diagnostic testing to those with suspected or known cardiac problems. The career is not only an excellent choice for stability; it also leads to a great deal of career satisfaction for those who enjoy providing care in a clinical setting. With an estimated 805,000 Americans suffering from heart attacks yearly, EKG technicians are highly valued members of the healthcare team.
An EKG test uses electrodes to sense the heart’s conduction of electricity, thus creating a tracing to represent how the patient’s heart is beating. Based on this tracing, doctors and other healthcare providers can quickly visualize the efficiency of a patient’s heartbeat. An EKG helps providers promptly identify potential problems such as a heart attack or arrhythmia, allowing for timely medical intervention.
EKG technicians also provide testing in less emergent situations, such as pre-operative tests or ongoing testing, to follow a specific problem. Along with resting EKGs, technicians often perform specialized tests such as stress testing and Holter monitoring. With some additional education and certifications, EKG technicians can qualify for promotions into certain specialty areas including positions in echocardiogram, continuous cardiac monitoring and the cardiac catheterization lab.
Licensing in New Jersey
You will not need to acquire a license to work as an EKG technician in New Jersey, and there is no specific statewide oversight for the career. However, you will need to work under the license of another professional, usually a medical doctor or registered nurse. It is important to remember that healthcare is a heavily regulated industry, with stringent guidelines for practice.
New Jersey Training for EKG Technicians
Although EKG technicians were traditionally trained on the job, it has become increasingly common to seek training through a reputable program prior to beginning work in the field. In either case, a high school diploma or equivalent is a required prerequisite. A few of the available training programs in New Jersey include:
- Eastern International College, with campuses in Jersey City and Belleville, offers an Associate of Applied Science in Cardiovascular Technology. Hands-on learning will be combined with classroom instruction to prepare students for a career in the cardiovascular field.
- AIMS Education, with campuses in Piscataway and Edison, offers a 30-month Cardiovascular Technologist program. The program has clinical affiliations with numerous facilities throughout the state.
- Eastwick Education, with campuses in Ramsey, Nutley, Hackensack and Paterson, offers a Diploma Program in Medical Assisting. Students in the program learn EKG testing along with the skills needed to work as an assistant in a medical office.
Potential for Additional Certifications
EKG technicians can seek certification through various accrediting agencies. Although certification is not required to work in the field, acquiring credentialing is a great way to maximize your career potential. Additionally, many employers seek to hire candidates with specific credentials.
Salaries and Growth Expectations in New Jersey
EKG technicians in New Jersey are among the highest paid in the field, with theBureau of Labor Statistics(BLS) reporting an average annual salary of $78,030 in 2019. By comparison, the average salary nationwide was $59,600.
Job growth projections in the state also look good, withProjections Central predicting a 6.8 percent increase in the next 10 years.
Opportunities in New Jersey
Working in a healthcare profession can mean working long hours, off-shifts, weekends and holidays. Although EKG technicians often work more regular hours than those in other health professions, the potential for off-hours still exists within the career, especially for those who choose to work in a hospital setting.
In New Jersey, potential employers include Hackensack Meridian Health, JFK Medical Center, Carepoint Health, TridentCare and Virtua.