EKG Assistants use electrocardiogram (EKG) machine to diagnose cardiovascular problems of patients. They also perform stress tests, where a patient walks on a treadmill and the heart’s activity is observed. These skilled professionals help physicians for analysis of electrical impulses transmitted by a patient’s heart as well as treatment of various heart diseases. Their responsibilities include attaching electrodes to a patient’s body, recording EKG readings, providing EKG test report to concerned physicians, maintaining EKG equipment, explaining procedures to patients, monitoring patients’ blood pressure and positioning patients during the test so on and so forth.
EKG Assistants work at various environments such as hospitals, physician’s offices, medical laboratories, private cardiology clinics, outpatient clinics, cardiac rehabilitation facilities etc. Most of their work times are spent by standing. They work full time and may require working overnight, evenings or weekends.
To become an EKG Assistant, the aspiring candidates must have must have a high school diploma or equivalent. Additionally, the candidates have to complete 1 year certification program in the related areas. The candidates can pursue higher studies for better job prospects in this field. The course work includes medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, physics, pathology, diagnostic testing, EKG equipment operation, cardiovascular system function etc. EKG Assistants can also receive on-the-job training.
Certification and Licensure
Since an EKG Assistant requires to be licensed in many states, the aspiring candidates need to pass a licensing exam. National Health career Association offers exam-based certification to these professionals.
In addition to moderate clinical knowledge, EKG Assistants possess variety of skills such as ability to operate and manipulate an EKG machine, strong attention to detail, high medical ethics, empathy towards patient, ability to work with compassion and accuracy, strong physical stamina for lifting and positioning the patients, tolerance for long and stressed working hours, pleasant communications and interpersonal skills, competent in computer operations etc.
Job Outlook and Salary
The job outlook for an EKG Assistant remains excellent in USA. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the growth rate for job opportunities in this profession may rise 30% from 2012 to 2022, higher than the average for all occupations. The average annual salary of an EKG Assistant was $ $60,350 in May 2012.