Becoming an EKG Technician in Virginia
As essential members of the healthcare community, EKG technicians perform crucial diagnostic testing to identify cardiac problems. Often performed emergently, the EKG test involves placing electrodes on a patient’s chest, arms and legs to sense the electrical pathway of a patient’s heartbeat. The test allows for quick identification of potential heart attacks or arrhythmias. The immediate answers the test provides to medical practitioners allow for emergency lifesaving interventions and save patient lives.
When not performing under pressure, EKG technicians perform routine tests to rule out or monitor ongoing cardiac conditions. In an inpatient setting, this can mean spending a significant amount of time traveling from ward to ward to provide testing. As such, the job can require a great deal of physical stamina. Technicians who work in a hospital setting may need to work off-shifts, weekends and holidays.
In an outpatient setting, EKG technicians may be tasked with performing specialized cardiac testing such as stress testing and Holter monitoring. It will be essential to maintain a compassionate and friendly demeanor in either setting, as technicians are often dealing with patients who are very sick and under considerable stress.
EKG Technician Licensing in Virginia
Virginia does not carry a licensing requirement for EKG technicians and there is no statewide oversight for the career. However, medical facilities need to meet stringent guidelines, and EKG technicians will need to work under the license of another medical professional. As such, it will be essential to strictly adhere to the clinical practice guidelines in the organization in which you work.
Training for EKG technicians in Virginia
While EKG technicians were traditionally trained on the job, most modern technicians seek training through a certificate course. You will need to have acquired a high school diploma or equivalent prior to applying for training.
There is one college in Virginia with programs for those interested in a career as a cardiovascular technologist.
- Sentara College of Health Sciences offers an Associate of Applied Science in Cardiovascular Technology Specialty: Cardiovascular Electrophysiology. The program provides plenty of hands-on training through lab work, simulations and clinical rotations.
- Sentara College of Health Sciences also offers an Associate of Applied Science in Cardiovascular Technology Specialty: Invasive Cardiovascular Technology. The program boasts small class and clinical sizes and a full laboratory for hands-on learning.
Although certification is not necessary to work as an EKG technician in Virginia, attaining specialized credentials can help accelerate your career potential. Acquiring certification is a great way to qualify for a promotion or move into an advanced cardiopulmonary position. With many different organizations offering varying types of credentials, it will be essential to assess your career goals before deciding which certification is best suited to meet those goals.
Wages for EKG Technicians in Virginia
According to theBureau of Labor Statistics(BLS), EKG technicians in Virginia made an average annual wage of $59,280 in 2019, with a range of salaries between $30,900 and $92,110. Entry-level technicians should expect salaries at the lower end of the spectrum, with plenty of opportunity for pay increases as you gain experience and learn new skills. Acquiring specialty certifications as your career progresses can also provide a significant boost to your earnings.
Opportunities in Virginia for EKG Technicians
EKG technicians in Virginia should have ample employment opportunities, withProjections Central predicting a 7.1 percent increase in positions between 2018 and 2028. This figure translates to an estimated 100 new job openings in the state yearly. A few potential employers in Virginia include Bon Secours Health, University of Virginia Health System, Valley Health, Riverside Health System and Sentara.