Becoming an EKG Technician in Puerto Rico
The beep of the heart monitor is a classic way of evoking a hospital setting in television and film. Far from being a cinematic prop, the real machine this is based on—the electrocardiograph, or EKG machine—is a crucial tool in the diagnosis of heart disease. An EKG technician is a skilled healthcare worker who conducts and interprets these EKG examinations, working closely with nurses and doctors. This skilled and valuable role is a good way to become part of the growing healthcare sector, even without a college degree.
Requirements for EKG Technicians in Puerto Rico
EKG techs work under the supervision and medical judgment of doctors and nurses, so they are not directly regulated by Puerto Rico. Most employers, however, prefer new hires with a professional certification from a reputable U.S. certifying body such as the National Healthcareer Association, the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians or the National Center for Competency Testing.
To be certified, you must pass an examination, which is open to people who have completed an accredited training program or have undertaken a year’s supervised experience as an EKG technician.
Entry to training programs is open to applicants who have a high school or general equivalency diploma. Financial aid is often available. Some programs also require a criminal background check and a drug screening.
Training Programs for EKG Technicians in Puerto Rico
There are few in-person options available for EKG training in Puerto Rico, but online classes are also
available. Here are a few examples:
- Atenas College, based in Manatí, offers a 40-credit program consisting of 1,170 hours of education, 225 of which is work experience. The course prepares you for the technical aspects of EKG testing as well as imparting the medical and ethical background needed for the role.
- Emergency and Critical Care Trainings offers a one-day introductory course in San Juan that is aimed at existing emergency and healthcare workers, showing the basics of EKG in an emergency setting.
- Phlebotomy Career Training offers an EKG technician training course online. Designed to be completed in three to six months, the course covers all of the classroom-based learning necessary to prepare you for a certification exam and will work with you to find a work placement where you can get the necessary practical experience.
Certification for EKG Technicians in Puerto Rico
Although the major U.S.-based certifications are largely interchangeable, it is a good idea to browse job listings from workplaces that you’d like to apply to in order to get a sense of the particular certifications they’re looking for. Certification exams tend to have a small fee, but this is sometimes covered by your training course.
Job Outlook and Salary Expectations
Working in an allied healthcare role, EKG technicians are in a growing industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs for EKG technicians and similar fields will grow by 12 percent nationally by 2029, much faster than average job growth across all occupations.
Wages in Puerto Rico are often lower than U.S. wages due to the impact of austerity measures on its economy. The average hourly wage of an EKG technician in Puerto Rico is $14.10, with an average annual salary of $29,330. EKG techs who are cross-certified in fields like phlebotomy or medical record-keeping can generally expect higher compensation, as can techs who are experienced in specialized EKG techniques like stress testing and Holter monitoring.
Working as an EKG Technician in Puerto Rico
As an EKG technician, you’ll be working with people from all walks of life, including those who may be frightened or in extremely ill health. Strong skills in working with people and the stamina to work long days, sometimes including night and weekend hours, are crucial. EKG techs can find work in hospitals, diagnostic clinics and doctor’s offices. Large institutions such as prisons and nursing homes also sometimes employ EKG techs. Large job websites such as Monster, ZipRecruiter and Indeed are good places to find available roles.