How to Become an EKG Technician in South Carolina
As the frontline test performed on any patient with suspected heart disease, the EKG is one of the most crucial and most frequent diagnostic tests performed in the medical setting. The test uses electrodes to sense the heart’s electrical activity and provide a graphic representation over a series of heartbeats. Doctors and other medical professionals who read the test are able to quickly discern if a patient is having a heart attack or is in need of emergency medical intervention for a lethal arrhythmia.
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, proving fatal toan estimated 647,000 patients every year. As such, EKG technicians are vital members of the healthcare community, with the skills and knowledge to perform the testing needed to diagnose and track a patient’s progression. Along with resting EKGs, EKG technicians are often responsible for performing stress tests, Holter monitors and other specialized types of cardiac monitoring.
South Carolina Licensing
South Carolina does not have a state licensing requirement for EKG technicians; however, healthcare facilities are highly regulated and hold various accreditations. As such, EKG technicians will be required to follow stringent guidelines such as working under a licensed practitioner at all times. It will be essential to be familiar with and adhere to the standard procedures of practice in any facility in which you are employed.
Training for EKG Technicians in South Carolina
Traditionally, EKG technicians were trained on the job, but in today’s competitive world, more and more employers are looking for technicians who have already received training through a comprehensive program. In either case, a high school diploma or equivalent will be a prerequisite. A few programs where you can acquire training in South Carolina include:
- Piedmont Technical College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Cardiovascular Technology. Students will learn to support other types of diagnostic testing and interventional therapies, such as cardiac catheterization, along with performing EKGs.
- University of South Carolina offers training in Cardiovascular Technology. Affiliated with Providence Hospital’s School of Cardiac and Vascular Technology, the program allows students to transfer credits to the Bachelor of Science in Cardiovascular Technology program upon completion.
- Florence Darlington Technical College offers a Certificate in Applied Science for Cardiac Care Vascular Technician. Students will train in EKGs, stress testing, Holter monitors and phlebotomy.
Several organizations offer certifications to EKG technicians and are worth exploring once you have completed training. While not mandatory to work in the field, credentialing may be necessary for career advancement, especially within certain specialized job classifications. Attaining accreditation is a great way to showcase your professionalism to potential employers and accelerate your career options.
Wages and Growth Expectations
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), EKG technicians in South Carolina made an average salary of $58,880 in 2019, with a range of annual salaries between $28,160 and $86,180. Entry-level EKG technicians should expect to earn wages closer to the lower end of the scale, with the potential to advance with additional certifications and experience.
The potential for long-term growth in the field is also positive, with Projections Central predicting a 3.1 percent increase in positions between 2018 and 2028.
Opportunities for EKG Technicians
According to the BLS, most EKG Technicians work at hospitals, doctors’ offices and outpatient care centers. In South Carolina, a few possible employers include Grand Strand Medical Center, McLeod Health Hospital,
Lexington Medical Center, the University of South Carolina and Beaufort Memorial Hospital. Regardless of where you begin your career as an EKG technician, you can look forward to a lasting career as an essential part of the healthcare system.