How to Become an EKG Technician in Oklahoma
As our population ages, the healthcare industry is growing. That means the number of healthcare jobs—everything from doctors and nurses to allied healthcare roles—is increasing. If you’re looking for a new career, one role to consider is electrocardiograph (EKG) technician. EKG techs use EKG machines to measure the electrical signals given off by the heart, interpreting them to diagnose a number of heart conditions.
Requirements for Becoming an EKG Technician in Oklahoma
The state of Oklahoma has special rules for those who assist doctors and nurses in acute or hospital settings. These workers are called advanced unlicensed assistants (AUAs), and they must complete a 200-hour training program and pass a certification exam. They are governed by the State Nursing Board.
Electrocardiography is one of the skills an advanced unlicensed assistant is able to perform, along with a broad variety of other skilled healthcare tasks. However, electrocardiography is also one of the skills permitted to be performed by a non-AUA specialist. In Oklahoma, you will find some job openings calling for an AUA with EKG skills and others just calling for an EKG technician.
When it comes to non-AUA EKG technicians, employers prefer to hire applicants who have significant experience in the field or who have been certified by one of several national, private professional organizations. These include the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians, the National Center for Competency Testing and the National Healthcareer Association. To certify, you must show completion of an accredited training program or a year’s appropriately supervised work experience, then pass an exam.
Access to training programs is available to those with a high school or general equivalency diploma. While there is a fee for the training, financial aid and payment plans are often available.
Training Programs for EKG Technicians in Oklahoma
For AUA training, the Nursing Board maintains a list of approved programs. There are also a number of EKG programs aimed at people who want a national EKG certification. Here are a few examples:
- Metro Tech in Oklahoma City offers a course covering all aspects of EKG technology, which prepares students to take a national certifying exam.
- MedNoc medical training college in Oklahoma City offers a 120-hour EKG program that takes place over a month, with day, evening and weekend classes. It includes 56 clinical practice hours and prepares students for a national certifying exam.
Certification for EKG Technicians in Oklahoma
If you’re taking the Advanced Unlicensed Assistant route, you’ll be certified by the State Nursing Board after taking its own exam, and you’ll need to renew your state certification every two years. If you’re certifying nationally as an EKG technician, there is no state oversight, but it is advantageous to undertake continuing education to keep up to speed with new developments in the field. National certification carries a small fee, but this is sometimes covered by your training course.
Job Outlook and Salary Expectations
EKG technicians are in demand. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of EKG tech jobs will grow by 12 percent by 2029, much faster than average.
In Oklahoma, the average hourly wage for EKG techs is $22.20, with an average annual salary of $46,170. Experience, proficiency in EKG specialties like Holter monitoring or stress testing, and cross-certification in other fields like phlebotomy can increase your compensation.
Working as an EKG Technician in Oklahoma
As the population of the U.S. ages, skilled healthcare workers are needed in most parts of the country. In Oklahoma, hospitals, doctor’s offices and diagnostic laboratories often hire EKG technicians. You can browse available job listings at major hiring websites like Monster, Indeed and ZipRecruiter.