Becoming an EKG Technician in Oregon
It can be surprising to learn that the human body runs on electricity, generated from the energy provided by the food and water we consume. Due to this fact, many of our most important diagnostic tools measure electrical current in parts of the body, including the echocardiogram, or EKG, which measures current within the heart.
An EKG technician is a skilled worker in a healthcare setting who conducts tests that help determine heart health using an EKG machine. To be a good EKG technician, you should be confident in working with patients from all walks of life and have good attention to detail.
Requirements for Becoming an EKG Technician in Oregon
The state of Oregon does not itself license or certify EKG technicians. While a handful of employers will train their technicians in-house, the majority expect new hires to be certified by private professional organizations, with the most popular being the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). Other certifying bodies include Medical Career Assessments and the National Center for Competency Testing. To enter these training programs, one must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or a General Equivalency diploma.
To sit for a certification exam, one must have some experience in the field. NHA, for example, only offers exams to people with a year’s supervised work experience in the field or who have undertaken a registered training program including work experience. Candidates for examination must have undertaken 10 EKG tests on live subjects.
Training Programs for EKG Technicians in Oregon
Here are a few examples of training programs that can help you get work as an EKG technician:
- Oregon Medical Training, based in Springfield and Bend, Oregon, offers a 54-hour program. Payment plans are available, and the course covers theoretical and hands-on aspects of conducting EKG tests, preparing students to take the NHA exam. The program also assists students in finding work experience.
- MedCerts is an online course currently costing $2,000 with payment plans available. The program prepares students to take the NHA exam and assists students in finding work experience placements so they can meet the practical requirements to take the exam. The course also includes components on customer service and handling sensitive healthcare data.
- CareerStep offers an online EKG course that can be completed at your own pace in between one and three months. It prepares you for the NHA Certified EKG Technician (CET) exam. The program will assist you in finding a work placement to complete the practical experience required before taking the exam.
Certification for EKG Technicians in Oregon
Traditionally, workplaces would train their EKG technicians in-house, but nearly all employers either require a preexisting certification for their technicians or will pay for new hires to get certified. Alongside basic certifications like the NHA CET, specialist skills like Holter monitor testing can also be certified and will increase your desirability to employers.
Job Outlook and Salary Expectations
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall number of EKG technician jobs across the country is projected to increase by 12 percent by 2029. This is much faster than the average rate of job growth.
In Oregon, the annual median salary for EKG technicians is nearly $83,000, with highly experienced and specialized technicians able to make more than $115,000 per year. This is much higher than EKG techs earn in many other US states.
Working as an EKG Technician in Oregon
If you look through employment sites like Indeed, ZipRecruiter and Monster.com, you’ll find EKG technician job posts across the state. With our aging population, demand for the role is continually increasing, and you’ll find EKG technician job opportunities in hospitals, doctor’s offices, nursing homes and fitness testing centers.