Requirements for Becoming an EKG Technician in West Virginia
Because EKG technicians work under the medical judgment of registered doctors and nurses, West Virginia does not directly regulate them. Employers look to hire EKG techs who hold one of several nationally recognized certifications, such as the National Healthcareer Association Certified EKG Technician certification. To certify, you must pass an examination and demonstrate that you have successfully completed an accredited training course or have undertaken a year’s work in the field under the supervision of an experienced EKG technician or nursing staff. Training courses admit students with a high school or general equivalency diploma. Some courses also require a drug screening and criminal background check.
Training Courses for EKG Technicians in West Virginia
Training courses are available at a number of locations within the state. Here are a few examples:
- Based in Moorefield, Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College offers a six-week program of evening and Saturday classes that include anatomy and physiology, the operation of EKG machines and the interpretation of test results. A course in medical terminology is a prerequisite, but students with previous healthcare experience may be able to waive this. The course prepares students to take the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians (ASPT) EKG certification exam.
- Based in Martinsburg, Blue Ridge Community and Technical College offers a 10-week EKG/Cardiovascular Technician course. The course covers all aspects of the work of an EKG technician and includes hands-on practice with real EKG machines. You’ll also learn about anatomy and physiology, infection control and the safe handling of confidential patient information. The course meets all the requirements for the ASPT EKG certification exam.
- Based in Fairmont, Pierpont Community and Technical College offers an EKG course that can be completed in one semester and qualifies students to take a national certification exam. It can also be taken as part of an associate’s degree program in healthcare, often in conjunction with phlebotomy and medical administrative assistant courses.
Certification for EKG Technicians in West Virginia
National EKG certifications like those from NHA and ASPT are crucial for job applicants. The certification exam and administrative process generally carry a small fee, but that’s sometimes covered by your training program. It is also possible to undertake continuing education in the field, which will keep you up-to-date in new technological developments and make you more desirable in the job market. Specialist EKG training like 12-lead monitoring, Holter monitoring and stress testing are also desirable.
Job Outlook and Salary Expectations
Most healthcare industries are in a growth period, meaning that EKG technicians and similar roles are in demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the job market for EKG techs will grow by 12 percent by 2029, much faster than average.
In West Virginia, the average hourly wage for EKG techs is $21.05, with an average annual salary of $43,790.
Working as an EKG Technician in West Virginia
EKG technicians work anywhere that heart health comes into play, and can be found working at doctor’s offices, medical diagnostic facilities and hospitals. An EKG exam is routine before most surgical procedures, so technicians can find themselves working evenings, weekends or even overnight. With technical skill, strict compliance to procedure and a strong work ethic, good EKG technicians often enjoy reasonable job security and compensation.