How to Become an EKG Technician in 4 Steps + Licensing Requirements and Programs

If you have ever imagined yourself providing life-saving services and support to patients in emergency rooms, hospitals, urgent care facilities, and private practice offices – a career as an EKG technician could be the right pathway for you.

Our guide provides an introductory overview of how to become an EKG technician in the US.

Follow our step-by-step guide to learn more about EKG licensing, certification, and top EKG schools offering EKG training online.

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4 Steps to Become a Certified EKG Technician

1. Finish Your High School Education

The first step toward becoming a certified EKG technician is to complete high school and earn a GED, or equivalent.

Training programs will require students to be at least 18 years old and capable of passing a background check and drug screening.

2. Enroll in an EKG Training Program

Aspiring heart monitor technicians should research and enroll in an EKG training program that follows one of the preferred national certification tracks.

The top industry certification credentials are issued by the National Healthcareers Association, the Cardiovascular Credentialing Institute, and the ACEA.

3. Apply for EKG Certification with a National Credentialing Agency

Once you’ve selected a program and completed theoretical and practical requirements, the next step is to apply for certification with your preferred agency.

New EKG graduates should note that the NHA is the primary agency that certifies new techs in most states.

Some employers may prefer a regional or state certification.

4. Seek Employment with Local Healthcare Agencies

Your selected certification agency will officially issue your EKG credential once you have successfully passed the required certification exam.

Most certifications will need to be renewed by taking continuing education credits through approved EKG training programs.

Licensing Requirements to Become an EKG Technician

Today’s healthcare employers prefer incoming EKG technicians to prove their competency and experience by earning industry certifications from the NHA.

Few US states require EKG techs to carry an occupational license.

The cost to become an EKG tech varies depending mostly on your school and on the certification you wish to pursue.

The following are a few examples of the top EKG certifications in the industry.

Certified EKG Technician – CET

Issued by the National Healthcareers Association

The NHA offers a comprehensive EKG certification that ensures students understand how to use and interpret the latest EKG tools and equipment.

NHA-certified students are highly skilled at Holter Monitoring.

Certified EKG Technician – CETS

Issued by the American Education Certification Association

This regional certification focuses on the fundamentals of patient care, EKG administration, and analysis.

EKG trainees should note that this certification may not be accepted by employers in all states.

Certified Cardiographic Technician – CCT

Issued by the Cardiovascular Institute International

Cardiovascular Institute International issues this nationally recognized EKG certification to applicants who demonstrate competency in ECGs, Holter Monitoring, and stress testing.

Online EKG Technician Training Programs

The best EKG training programs prepare learners with a fundamental skillset for administering EKGs in a variety of clinical settings.

Training programs below follow national certification tracks that teach students the most in-demand EKG skills including Holter Monitoring, Ambulatory Monitoring, and analyzing patient vital signs.

Borough of Manhattan Community College Borough of Manhattan Community College 

The Center for Continuing Education and Workforce Development at BMCC offers an online EKG training program for US-based students.

Their comprehensive online training program is self-paced and teaches students the theoretical and practical skills needed to work as certified cardiographs.

Their CET-based training program allows students up to twelve months to complete their education.

BMCC offers students an optional externship to complete 10 EKGs on live humans in preparation for NHA testing.

EKG Certification Track: NHA – CET

Courses Offered

  • Medical Terminology
  • Introduction – EKG Technician
  • Lead Placement and Artifacts
  • Electronic Medical Records
  • EKG Analysis

Contact Information

  • Address: 199 Chambers Street, Manhattan, New York – 10007
  • Website: Link
  • Phone: 855-520-6806
  • Program Costs: $495.00 – $1995.00 with CET test voucher included.

Florida A&M University Online Florida A&M University Online 

FAMU teaches online students the basic techniques for implementing, analyzing, and recording the results of EKG tests.

Their online program prepares students to earn the national certification credentials preferred by today’s healthcare employers.

Electrocardiograph technicians who complete their program will understand how to measure patient vital signs and rapid response procedures in cases of emergency.

EKG Certification Track: NHA, AECA – CET, CETS

Courses Offered

  • EKG Introduction
  • EKG Application Theory
  • Cardiac Anatomy and Physiology
  • Infection Control
  • History of EKG

Contact Information

  • Address: 1601 South Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard, Tallahassee, Florida – 32307
  • Website: Link
  • Phone: 850-599-3000
  • Program Costs: $997.00 – $1,097.00 with testing voucher included for the NHA or the American Education Certification Association.

San Fransisco State University San Fransisco State University 

California-based students seeking online EKG education take classes at SFSU online through its College of Professional and Global Education.

This self-paced program operates four annual sessions that begin in the winter, spring, summer, and fall.

SFSU allows students up to 9 months to complete CET-based training and hands-on practice before taking the national certification exam.

This web-based EKG training program makes it easy for students to cover the cost of tuition by offering affordable monthly payment plans.

EKG Certification Track: NHA – CET

Contact Information

  • Address: 160 Spear Street, San Francisco, California – 94105
  • Website: Link
  • Phone: 415-405-7700
  • Program Costs: $1,299.00

University of Illinois at SpringfieldUniversity of Illinois at Springfield

Aspiring EKG trainees in Illinois and beyond can log on to get their EKG training online at UIS.

The University of Illinois at Springfield offers its self-paced EKG training to students seeking to earn the National Healthcareers CET certification.

This web-based program teaches students the basic skills needed to work as entry-level ECG technicians in America’s hospitals, clinics, urgent care facilities, and private practices.

This online EKG program operates on a rolling admission basis allowing students to register at any time.

Trainees have up to twelve months to complete theoretical training and externship to earn credit for performing 10 EKGs on live patients as required by the NHA.

EKG Certification Track: NHA – CET

Courses Offered

  • Fundamentals of EKG Analysis
  • EKG Interpretation
  • Safety and Patient Care
  • Diagnostic Procedures
  • Introduction to Medical Terminology

Contact Information

  • Address: One University Plaza, Springfield, Illinois – 62703
  • Website: Link
  • Phone: 855-520-6806
  • Program Costs: $495.00 – $1,995.00 NHA test voucher included, monthly payment plans available.

U.S. Career Institute U.S. Career Institute 

The U.S. Career Institute is an online vocational school that offers training for US-based EKG technicians around the country.

Their online program is self-paced and follows the CET certification track that teaches students the fundamentals of Holter Monitoring, 12-Lead Placement, and medical terminology.

Students who choose to learn through the U.S. Career Institute’s web-based training program gain access to always-on education that can be completed using a desktop, laptop computer, or other mobile device.

This all-inclusive program includes an NHA test voucher in its program costs.

EKG Certification Track: NHA – CET

Courses Offered

  • Cardiovascular Anatomy and Physiology
  • EKG Equipment
  • EKG Analysis
  • EKG Placement
  • Vital Signs

Contact Information

  • Address: 2001 Lowe Street, Fort Collins, Colorado – 80525
  • Website: Link
  • Phone: 866-250-6851
  • Program Costs: $979.00 with CET voucher and payment plan options included.

EKG Technician: Average Annual Salary

America’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an average annual salary of $65,490.00 per year for US-based EKG technicians.

Cardiovascular Technicians working in America’s buzzing healthcare systems make just over $30.00 an hour.

More experienced technicians with preferred industry certifications can make as much as $100,000.00 per year working in high-powered hospitals and metropolitan areas.

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