How to Become an EKG Technician in Tennessee

An EKG technician, also called an electrocardiogram technician, is a healthcare professional specially trained to administer tests to determine the cardiovascular health of patients. If you pursue a career as an EKG technician in Tennessee, you’ll work alongside doctors and nurses while collecting heart-related data for analysis by doctors. You’ll keep patients informed throughout the process, record findings and maintain diagnostic equipment.

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What’s Required to Become an EKG Technician in Tennessee?

You can learn the skills needed to become an EKG technician through postsecondary training programs. Certificate programs can usually be completed in less than a year. Admission to these programs usually requires a high school diploma or the GED equivalent. Most healthcare careers require candidates to pass a drug test and a criminal background check.

Obtaining Certification as a Tennessee EKG Technician

National certification for EKG technicians isn’t required in Tennessee but is strongly encouraged. When you pass a certification exam, you’re proving to potential employers that you have the knowledge and skills needed to work as an EKG technician. The National Healthcareer Association offers the Certified EKG Technician (CET) exam, and Cardiovascular Credentialing International offers the Certified Cardiographic Technician (CCT) exam.

Formal Training Programs for Tennessee EKG Technicians

Training programs to work as a Tennessee EKG technician can often be completed in less than a year. Most programs include both classroom and hands-on training. Training programs to work in this field in Tennessee include:

  • Compassionate Care Technical Center. Located in Knoxville, TN, this program includes function and proper use of the EKG machine, medical terminology and medical ethics. Students are required to take CPR for health professionals and also learn about Holter monitoring and treadmill stress tests.
  • NGH School of Health Sciences. This school in Nashville offers a Cardiographic (EKG) Certificate program. It’s a three-month didactic and clinical curriculum that teaches students cardiograhic recording skills, critical thinking and problem solving skills, and it prepares students for the CCT certification exam.
  • Jackson State Community College. Students who wish to pursue training in multiple healthcare skills can pursue a Healthcare Technician certificate from this community college in Jackson, TN. This program includes instruction in EKG skills, phlebotomy and medical assisting.

Job Outlook and Pay Range for EKG Technicians in Tennessee

The average annual pay for cardiac technicians in the state of Tennessee was $42,253 as of August 2020, according to Salary.com. Your earnings can be affected by your location along with how much experience, education or certification you have. Pay usually falls between $35,603 and $55,895 per year.

Across the US, job opportunities for EKG techs are projected to grow at a rate of 7 percent between 2018 and 2028, according to CareerOneStop. The state of Tennessee is expected to enjoy even higher job growth for this field, at a rate of 17 percent between 2016 and 2026.

Working as an EKG Technician in Tennessee

It helps to be a caring and compassionate person if you want to work as an EKG technician. You’ll need good vision and good interpersonal skills including listening to others. In some settings you may have to stand for several hours a time, so good physical stamina is important. You may find a position working days, or you may be required to work evenings, weekends and holidays.

The need for qualified EKG technicians in Tennessee continues to grow, partly because of an aging population. There are opportunities for trained professionals in this field all over the state, especially in large cities such as Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville. While the greatest number of opportunities is in hospitals, you may also be able to find employment in doctors’ offices, medical laboratories or outpatient centers.