How to Become an EKG Technician in Washington

The science of heart medicine relies on electrocardiography, an allied health discipline focusing on the measurement and interpretation of electrical signals generated by the beating heart. Working with doctors and nurses, EKG technicians use electrical pads connected to an electrocardiograph (EKG) machine to capture the heart’s rhythm. This skilled and valuable role is in demand throughout the country, including in the state of Washington.

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Requirements for EKG Technicians in Washington

Washington’s Department of Licensing does not regulate EKG technicians, but employers almost always require certification by one of the private, nationwide certifying bodies such as the National Healthcareer Association (NHA), the National Center for Competency Testing and the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians.

To be certified, you’ll need to take an exam after undertaking an accredited training course or having completed a year’s appropriately supervised work experience in the field. You’ll also need to have performed at least 10 EKG tests on live patients. To enroll in a course, you need to have earned a high school or GED. As the work experience requirement for these courses often involves working in a real clinical setting, you may be required to pass a drug screening and to undergo a criminal background check in order to enroll.

Training Programs for EKG Technicians in Washington

Training programs are available across the state as well as online. Here are a few examples:

  • Edmonds College is based in Lynnwood and offers a thorough college-based training program that takes students through prerequisites including anatomy and physiology and first aid as well as the main work of an EKG technician. After the required prerequisites are met, the program can be completed in one academic quarter. Financial aid is available, and the program also includes 40 hours of clinical externship experience, qualifying students to take a national certification exam.
  • Seattle Central College offers a course involving a combination of in-person and online training, to be completed in anywhere from one to four months, depending on how much time you have available. The course prepares students to take the NHA exam and assists students with finding work placements to perform the 10 EKG tests required to register for the exam.
  • Northwest Phlebotomy School, with locations in Spokane and Seattle, offers a 10-hour EKG course that will prepare you to take a national certification exam. The course is undertaken online with two days in-person, where you will perform real EKG tests on live patients.

Certification for EKG Technicians in Washington

Nearly all employers that hire EKG technicians require applicants to have completed one of the national certification exams. These exams, and certification itself, generally carry a small fee, but in some cases your training course may include payment of this fee. It’s also advantageous to be trained in some EKG specialties like stress testing and Holter monitoring, and to undertake regular continuing education, which will keep you up-to-date with the latest clinical and technological developments.

Job Outlook and Salary Expectations

In Washington, the average annual salary is $75,060, with the lowest 10% earning $49,870 or less and the highest 10% earning $124,310 or more. Nationally, the average salary is $66,170, with the lowest 10% earning $36,620 or less and the highest 10% earning $105,140 or more. Regional data within Washington show variations in wages across different metropolitan areas.

National vs. Local Salaries

Location Average Salary 10% Earn Less Than 10% Earn More Than
United States $66,170 $36,620 $105,140
Washington $75,060 $49,870 $124,310

Salaries and Percentiles by Region

Region 10% Earn Less Than 25% Earn Less Than Median Salary 75% Earn More Than 10% Earn More Than
United States $36,620 $44,160 $66,170 $85,930 $105,140
Washington $49,870 $54,250 $75,060 $105,110 $124,310
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA $46,400 $50,920 $66,380 $112,630 $124,990
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA $51,490 $54,250 $76,010 $111,490 $125,510
Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA $48,780 $52,100 $69,320 $98,600 $107,250

EKG TechnicianTrends in Washington

In Washington, there were 1,130 employees in 2020, projected to grow to 1,330 by 2030, representing an 18% increase, with 130 annual job openings. Nationally, there were 58,900 employees in 2022, projected to grow to 61,100 by 2032, a 4% increase, with 3,900 annual job openings.

Table of the Data

Location Year Employment Projected Employment Growth Annual Job Openings
Washington 2020 1,130 1,330 18% 130
United States 2022 58,900 61,100 4% 3,900
Source of data:
  • Washington source: Projections Central 2020-2030 long-term projections.
  • United States source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2022-2032 employment projections.

Working as an EKG Technician in Washington

As one might expect, EKG technicians are in demand in hospitals and doctors’ offices, but anywhere that does in-house medical testing, like nursing homes or prisons, might have a need for their services. While the hours can be long and can often involve evening and weekend work, hard-working and meticulous technicians can find good compensation and job security. If you’re ready to apply for available roles, job websites like Indeed, Monster and ZipRecruiter are good places to start.

Becoming an EKG Technician in Wisconsin

An EKG technician is a vital part of medical teams in hospitals and physician offices. They run a test called an electrocardiogram, or EKG, that doctors use to monitor the functioning of a patient’s heart. An EKG tech takes the patient into the exam room, connects the leads for the EKG, runs the test and then looks at the results to see if the test should be run again.

In Wisconsin, EKG techs work as unlicensed medical professionals under the supervision of nurses and doctors. Getting into this career is easy and fast. As a trained EKG technician, you will get to work with patients, and you’ll enjoy a good salary and a strong job market.

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