Choosing the Right EKG Technician School in Florida
Section 101 of Title 36 of the United States Code establishes February as a month-long period of observance urging Americans to recognize the importance of cardiovascular health and its numerous diseases. Each February, many stories from patients whose lives have been deeply affected by heart diseases are published by major news media outlets, and this also happens to be a month known to be very active in terms of individuals searching for information about EKG technician careers.
Electrocardiography is a medical diagnostics process that detects and records the heart’s electrical activity. In medical drama television shows such as the acclaimed “ER,” it is not uncommon to hear a physician yell “I need an EKG stat!” during a code blue situation, and this means that electrocardiography is needed to assess whether the patient is at risk of cardiac arrest or heart failure, but there are many other clinical settings where EKGs are conducted outside of the emergency room.
The Importance of EKG Diagnostics
Stories of patients such as Molly Schroeder are often highlighted during National Heart Month. Schroeder is a heart attack survivor whose life was turned upside down at the age of 21, when she was an avid soccer player in her Wisconsin college and suffered what she thought was an anxiety episode. After deciding to go for a jog before soccer practice, Schroeder was profusely sweating and feeling confused by strong chest pains and numbness in her extremities; she had to be driven to the emergency room, where an EKG revealed she was in the midst of heart failure caused by an atrial septal anomaly. For Schroeder, this was a close call since a blood clot prevented 90 percent of blood from flowing into one of her coronary arteries.
Needless to say, Schroeder had to give up soccer and started a treatment plan to recover from her cardiac episode; it should be noted that her heart attack was ultimately determined by the EKG procedure, and this is why many ER doctors do not easily dismiss similar cases as anxiety attacks.
EKGs, also known as ECGs, are non-invasive procedures measured by means of electrodes placed at different points of the patient’s anatomy. What is being measured is the electrical potential of the heart in terms of magnitude and direction. Even though the determination of major cardiac issues are made by cardiologists or physicians upon reading EKG outputs, which are graphed as waves and present seven major polarization points related to ventricular contractions of the heart, EKG technicians can tell if a myocardial infarction or some other heart failure episode is at play.
What EKG Technicians Do
EKG technicians are patient care professionals who may work under the direction of physicians, nurses, cardiologists, or physician assistants. In some cases, they may work for sports medicine clinics; for example, the Miami HEAT recently announced a partnership with Baptist Health South Florida to open an institute at Doctors Hospital in Coral Gables. In Europe, professional soccer clubs have drastically increased electrocardiography screenings after an unfortunate string of players collapsing on the field.
EKG techs operate and maintain electrocardiography equipment; furthermore, they record results of the EKG tests they administer and may notify healthcare professionals about certain findings. Since this is a technologist occupation in the healthcare field, EKG techs may be called upon by their employers to attend continuing education courses.
Job and Salary Outlook for EKG Technicians
According to figures published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, EKG techs are classified into the field of cardiovascular technology, and they can expect job demand to grow by 17 percent from now until the year 2026, which is faster than the national average for all occupations.
As far as pay, the BLS reports the following percentiles on an annual salary basis as of May 2017:
- 10 percent: $28,680
- 25 percent: $37,140
- 50 percent (median salary): $55,270
Once EKG technicians become more experienced and obtain special certifications on equipment such as the portable Holter monitor, they can expect their earnings to increase above the median range; in fact, Florida National University offers an echocardiography concentration with extensive clinical practice in case you are interested in maximizing your skills and salary potential. To learn more about this certificate program, contact one of our counselors today.
How to Become an EKG Technician in South Florida
The first step towards entering this rewarding career is to choose the right school, one that is properly accredited and that can offer flexibility to adjust to your work-life schedule. At Florida National University, you can enroll in the Patient Care Technician certification program and start with the basics, which include fundamentals of patient treatment, anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, clinical practices, and an introduction to EKG. You will be expected to complete 120 hours of clinical practice, and this is when you will be doing most of your EKG work and learning.
Since FNU is a school that is sensitive to the needs of the South Florida community, the Patient Care Technician program includes an English as a Second Language lab for students who want to improve their communications skills; moreover, the curriculum of instruction is delivered as a bilingual modality because the majority of patients of patients you can expect to work within the region will communicate in either language.
If you are still undecided as to whether you will be a good fit in the healthcare field, you can always take the FNU Patient Care Technician Career Readiness Quiz before getting in touch with one of our advisers. FNU is an ideal choice for working adults in South Florida; our two campus locations are conveniently located in Hialeah and Miami, and many of our classes can be taken at night.
Keep in mind that FNU offers financial aid to qualified students, including military veterans. FNU also offers various scholarships, some require completion of volunteer hours in community projects while others are managed by the athletics department.