Becoming an EKG Technician in Nevada
To monitor the function of their patients’ hearts, doctors commonly call on the use of a device called an electrocardiograph, or EKG, machine. However, these busy professionals don’t perform EKG tests themselves. Instead, they leave this task to supporting personnel on medical staffs. These personnel go by names that include EKG technician, cardiovascular and monitor technician.
Regardless of their precise titles, EKG technicians are a key part of medical facilities throughout Nevada. Like many people looking for rewarding, stable employment, you may be considering joining the ranks of these technicians. If so, here’s a quick guide to the EKG tech profession in Nevada.
What Are the State Licensing Rules?
Like the vast majority of states, Nevada has a two-tier regulatory system for healthcare professionals. Members of the first tier, such as doctors and nurses, must obtain and renew state-issued licenses to work legally. However, members of the second tier are allowed to work without a license. EKG technicians belong to this second tier of healthcare providers.
Why is this split arrangement used? Every day, doctors and nurses make autonomous decisions that directly affect patient health. Licensing helps ensure that only qualified people take on this high degree of responsibility. In contrast, EKG techs do not make autonomous decisions. Instead, they only take on the tasks that are assigned to them by nurses working under a doctor’s authority. Combined with ongoing supervision, this lower level of responsibility makes licensing unnecessary.
Nevada Training Standards
It might be a relief to know that Nevada doesn’t require licenses for EKG technicians. However, you shouldn’t assume that this approach eliminates the need for you to develop your professional skills. If you’re lucky, you may find a hospital or other facility that will hire first and train later. But, more and more often prospective employers expect applicants to have some previous exposure to a healthcare-related work environment.
How can you get this exposure? One option is to take on a less specialized job at a medical facility. Or, like many others in your situation, you may seek out training that focuses on the skills needed by electrocardiograph providers.
In-State EKG Technician Training
Nevada residents have multiple options for EKG technician training within state boundaries. A short list of organizations you may want to consider includes:
- Las Vegas College – Las Vegas College offers combined training in electrocardiography, phlebotomy (blood-drawing) and lab assisting. Graduates of this mixed program can work in any of the three included areas. They also get the chance to earn multiple national healthcare certifications.
- College of Southern Nevada – CSN offers a beginner-level course in EKG interpretation. You can use this course as a starting point for more extensive professional training.
- Medical Skills for Life Institute – This organization offers a four-day course for aspiring EKG techs. The course focuses on two main skills: using an EKG machine and detecting heartbeat irregularities. Several other related subjects are also covered.
What’s the Income Range for EKG Technicians in Nevada?
At almost $41,000 a year, the average income for Nevada EKG techs is quite sizable. Of course, it will take some time for you to work up to this level from a starting salary. But bear in mind that $41,000 is far from the maximum you can earn. The state’s best-paid techs clear over $67,000 annually.
How’s the Job Market?
For anyone looking for stable employment, healthcare-related fields are often a good bet. That rule of thumb definitely applies to EKG technicians and others with similar job titles and responsibilities. If you start working today, you can look forward to a long-term period of increasing job openings. Will you get every job you apply for? Probably not. But you will have the advantage of working in an expanding sector of the labor market.