Electrocardiogram (EKG) Technician Schools

Hearts produce electrical signals recorded through an electrocardiogram (EKG). Trained EKG technicians place electrode patches on a patient’s chest, legs, and arms. While most EKGs are done while a patient is resting, some may be done while a patient is exercising. While this is a painless and quick procedure, EKG technicians must be skilled at their job to ensure accurate results.

The data collected during an EKG gives physicians insight into a patient’s heart rhythms, blood flow, and other abnormalities. EKGs can be ordered for several reasons, including suspected heart attack, checking for heart disease, monitoring heart rate, coronary artery disease, and determining the size and position of the heart chambers.

Becoming an EKG technologist can be as simple as completing on-the-job training. However, most employers require applicants to have completed a training program and have obtained certification. Training programs vary in length from ten weeks to four months or more. Top programs will include a clinical practicum so students can gain the hands-on skills necessary to succeed in this job.

On average, EKG technicians will perform 13 tests per day. They are responsible for meeting with patients, explaining the procedure, accurately placing the wires on a patient’s body, running the test, and relaying the result to physicians. In addition to strong attention to detail, EKG technicians must have a good bedside manner to help nervous patients.

Continue reading to learn about some top on-campus, online, and hybrid EKG technician school options and typical coursework and certifications.

Meet the Expert: Blagica Milosevska, MD


With over 20 years in healthcare, Dr. Blagica Milosevska is a cardiac tech at Tucson Medical Center. She is skilled in noninvasive cardiac diagnostic tests and equipment operation. She also coordinates the ambulatory EKG monitor program and interprets cardiac rhythms.

Before her current role, Dr. Milosevska held a key position as a medical director at the Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Center in Macedonia. Here, she made significant contributions by opening the country’s first center of its kind, writing guidelines and regulations, and implementing drug abuse prevention and treatment programs. Dr. Milosevska holds ACLS and Advanced EKG certifications and her vast experience and dedication to patient care make her an invaluable asset in the healthcare industry.

Medical Technology Schools: What advice would you give to someone just starting as an EKG tech?

Dr. Milosevska: An EKG tech prepares the patient for the EKG test, explaining the procedure, answering patient questions, and making them comfortable. The patients are typically nervous when they come for the EKG so the tech makes sure they are calm and ready for the test. The tech needs to be calm, patient, and comfortable. As an EKG tech, they need to recognize critical results, such as A-fib, heart attack, heart block, or heart disease, and help doctors make accurate decisions and follow hospital coding protocols.

On-Campus Electrocardiogram (EKG) Technician Programs

South Plains College

This short three-month EKG technician program prepares students to work in this field. While it is recommended that students have prior experience in a hospital or healthcare setting, it is not required to complete this program.

Students will be prepared to take the National Healthcareer Association Certified EKG Technician test upon completing this program. This intensive program will require daily homework and a three-day clinical intensive. All applicants must have proof of vaccination.

  • Location: Levelland, TX
  • Duration: Three months
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Luzerne County Community College

Luzerne County Community College offers a flexible once-a-week evening class EKG technician program. It consists of 40 hours of classroom instruction followed by 20 hours of clinical practicums.

While the schedule for the classroom portion is set, the clinical hours must be completed within six months of the program start date. Students will learn confidentiality, patient reporting, basic anatomy, medical terminology, and how to operate EKG equipment.

  • Location: Nanticoke, PA
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Gateway Community College

The EKG technician program at Gateway Community College is an intensive program that requires 300 hours of coursework. This is an ideal program for those aspiring to enter a healthcare career and those who already have experience in hospitals or clinics.

In addition to working with EKG equipment, students will receive training in electronic medical records, medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, and cardiac rhythm interpretation. Most students complete this program in four months, although the timeline can vary based on the classes chosen.

  • Location: Phoenix, AZ
  • Duration: Four months
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Contra Costa Medical Career College

Aspiring EKG technicians can complete their necessary training at Contra Costa Medical Career College. This two-month certificate has flexible scheduling options with daytime, midday, and evening options to accommodate all students.

Students learn electrocardiography testing and how to interpret rhythms and write reports on the findings. This program can be an excellent add-on certification for phlebotomists, medical assistants, or other healthcare professionals.

  • Location: Antioch, CA
  • Duration: Two months
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Council of Continuing Education & Training (ACCET)

Edmonds College

The electrocardiography/ cardiac monitor technician program at Edmonds College is a two-quarter program. The first quarter consists of a series of prerequisites in medical terminology, CPR, first aid, and human physiology. The second semester is an EKG training course and a practicum.

The practicum must be at least 40 hours long and is performed under the guidance of a trained EKG professional. Healthcare providers who already have work experience may waive some prerequisite requirements.

  • Location: Lynwood, WA
  • Duration: Two quarters
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

List of Electrocardiogram (EKG) Technician Schools

Filter by state :
School City State Website GRADS ('21)
American Institute of Medical Sciences & Education Piscataway New Jersey https://aimseducation.edu 57
Sinclair Community College Dayton Ohio https://www.sinclair.edu 37
Edmonds College Lynnwood Washington https://www.edmonds.edu 37
Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis Indiana https://www.ivytech.edu 30
Columbus State Community College Columbus Ohio https://www.cscc.edu 29
Contra Costa Medical Career College Antioch California https://www.ccmcc.edu 26
Lansing Community College Lansing Michigan https://www.lcc.edu 21
Allan Hancock College Santa Maria California https://www.hancockcollege.edu 19
Polaris Career Center Middleburg Heights Ohio https://www.polaris.edu 19
Louisiana Delta Community College Monroe Louisiana https://www.ladelta.edu 18
Fletcher Technical Community College Schriever Louisiana https://www.fletcher.edu 18
William T McFatter Technical College Davie Florida https://www.mcfattertechnicalcollege.edu 17
City College of San Francisco San Francisco California https://www.ccsf.edu 16
Milwaukee Area Technical College Milwaukee Wisconsin https://www.matc.edu 16
Cuyahoga Valley Career Center Brecksville Ohio https://cvccworks.edu 15
Southern Crescent Technical College Griffin Georgia https://www.sctech.edu 13
Healthcare Training Institute Kenner Louisiana http://healthcaretraininginstitutenola.net 13
Orange Coast College Costa Mesa California https://orangecoastcollege.edu 13
Best Care College East Orange New Jersey https://www.bestcarecollege.edu 13
Delgado Community College New Orleans Louisiana https://www.dcc.edu 12
Atlantic Technical College Coconut Creek Florida https://www.atlantictechnicalcollege.edu 9
Parkland College Champaign Illinois https://www.parkland.edu 9
Bell-Brown Medical Institute Florissant Missouri https://bbmi.edu 9
Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester New York https://www.rit.edu 9
Pensacola State College Pensacola Florida https://www.pensacolastate.edu 8
Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences Lancaster Pennsylvania https://www.pacollege.edu 8
Baker College Owosso Michigan https://www.baker.edu 8
Bristol Community College Fall River Massachusetts https://www.bristolcc.edu 7
Hudson Valley Community College Troy New York https://www.hvcc.edu 7
Sheridan Technical College Hollywood Florida https://www.sheridantechnicalcollege.edu 5
Washington State Community College Marietta Ohio https://www.wscc.edu 5
GateWay Community College-Central City Phoenix Arizona https://www.gatewaycc.edu/about-gateway/central-city 5
College of DuPage Glen Ellyn Illinois https://www.cod.edu 4
Glendale Community College Glendale California https://www.glendale.edu 3
Carnegie Institute Troy Michigan https://www.carnegie-institute.edu 3
Weatherford College Weatherford Texas https://www.wc.edu 2
Anne Arundel Community College Arnold Maryland https://www.aacc.edu 2
New Mexico State University-Alamogordo Alamogordo New Mexico https://alamogordo.nmsu.edu 2
Central Georgia Technical College Warner Robins Georgia https://www.centralgatech.edu 1
'20-'21 School Data from IPEDS (Sourced in September, 2023)

Online or Hybrid Electrocardiogram (EKG) Technician Programs

College of the Mainland

The hybrid format of the EKG program at the College of the Mainland allows students a high degree of flexibility while completing their education. The clinical instruction in this program allows students to gain the hands-on skills they need to be successful in this career.

Topics covered include basic EKG procedures, how to interpret dysrhythmias, and anatomy and physiology. To participate in this program, students must pass a background check and have proof of immunizations.

  • Location: Texas City, TX
  • Duration: 12 weeks
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Tyler Junior College

Tyler Junior College offers an online EKG technician certification program. Students can complete classes on their schedule without relocating or pausing their careers. This can also be an excellent option for students who need to care for a family.

Throughout this program, students will have the support of faculty and staff. Classes consist of engaging labs, videos, and animated simulations. Other perks of this program include career counseling and targeted mentoring.

  • Location: Tyler, TX
  • Duration: Varies
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Midlands Technical College

Of the three required classes for the EKG specialist training certificate at Midlands Technical College, only two require students to travel to campus. This hybrid format allows for a greater degree of flexibility. Classes are taken one at a time.

Overall, it takes 26 weeks to complete the required coursework for this program. The final class includes 24 hours of clinical practice so students can gain hands-on experience in this field. Since this is a certificate program, students do not need to apply to the college. Instead, they can simply register for the appropriate class and get started on their program straightaway.

  • Location: Columbia, SC
  • Duration: 26 weeks
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

University of Houston-Downtown

Students are prepared to work in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities by completing the online EKG technician program at the University of Houston-Downtown. The curriculum for the online program is the same as the on-campus one, guaranteeing students the same quality of education with the flexibility to complete coursework when it is convenient.

To enroll in this program, students must have a high school diploma or GED. Graduates are adequately prepared for several of the national certification exams.

  • Location: Houston, TX
  • Duration: Varies
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Eastern Florida State College

Aspiring EKG technicians can complete their training online through Eastern Florida State College. Classes are asynchronous, so students can complete them on their own schedule.

Through a series of modules, students learn about the role of an EKG technician, the history of the EKG, how to perform procedures, and how to interpret results. Included in the cost of this program is a voucher to sit for the Certified EKG Technician Specialist (CETS) or the Certified EKG Technician (CET) exam.

  • Location: Cocoa, FL
  • Duration: Varies
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
School City State Website GRADS ('21)
Bossier Parish Community College Bossier City Louisiana https://www.bpcc.edu 23
'20-'21 School Data from IPEDS (Sourced in September, 2023)

Core & Elective Courses for Electrocardiogram (EKG) Technician

There is no standardized curriculum for electrocardiogram technician programs. Education to enter this field can vary from two classes for ten weeks to four months or longer. Typical classes include:

  • Medical terminology
  • Human anatomy
  • CPR/first aid
  • Cardiovascular system
  • Introduction to EKG
  • Practical EKG skills
  • Clinical practicum

Since the content of each program can vary widely, students must review the required coursework to ensure it meets their career and professional goals. For those looking at entry-level work, a shorter basics program may suffice. Those already working in healthcare who are taking this program to advance their career may want to consider a longer, more comprehensive program.

Regardless of the length of the program, students should look for a program that includes a clinical practicum. Since EKG technician is a hands-on job, it is important to gain hands-on skills under supervision. Top schools will require 20 hours or more of clinical experience to complete their program.

EKG Tech Program Accreditation

Accreditation for colleges and universities is important because it helps ensure that the school meets a minimum quality standard. Accrediting agencies look at faculty, facilities, curriculum, student outcomes, and improvement. The two primary types of accreditation are programmatic and regional. Programmatic accreditation is for a specific degree, and regional accreditation is for the institution. Presently, there is no programmatic accrediting body for EKG technician programs.

Since anyone can produce an EKG technician program, students must ensure the institution has regional accreditation. The six regional accrediting agencies recognized by the Department of Education are:

  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Commission on Colleges for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)

Career Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies EKG technicians as medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists and technicians. Between 2022 and 2032, the BLS estimates that there will be a 10 percent increase in jobs in this field, which is well above the national average of three percent for all other jobs. In total, this will translate into more than 14,200 new jobs in the coming decade.

This increase in jobs is due to an aging Baby Boomer population increasing the need for heart diagnostic procedures. Also, there is a significant number of professionals in this field who will be retiring in the next decade, and new EKG technologists are needed to replace them.

On average medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists and technicians earn $65,490 per year, according to the BLS (May 2022). The percentiles for wages are:

  • 10th percentile: $33,950
  • 25th percentile: $39,430
  • 50th percentile (median): $63,020
  • 75th percentile: $81,740
  • 90th percentile: $102,000

Licensing & Certification for EKG Techs

There are no requirements for EKG technicians to be licensed to practice in their state. However, some states may require EKG technicians who perform specific job duties to be licensed. Aspiring EKG technicians should check with their local state licensing boards to ensure they have the necessary credentials to practice.

Certification is a voluntary step for EKG technicians. However, certification is becoming an industry standard as many employers require it. Certification demonstrates a high level of competency in this field and assures employers and patients that the practitioner is skilled at their job.

The primary certification EKG technicians earn is the National Healthcareer Association Certified Electrocardiogram credential. To qualify, candidates must have a high school diploma or GED and have completed an EKG technician training or education program within the last five years or have one year of supervised work experience in an EKG technician field within the previous three years.

The exam consists of 100 questions that must be answered in two hours. Topics covered include safety, compliance, and coordinated patient care, EKG acquisition, and EKG analysis and interpretation. The cost of this exam is $125.

Another certification that professionals can earn is the National Center for Competency Testing EKG Technician credential. Candidates for this credential must be either being a current student in or graduate of an EKG Technician program from an NCCT-authorized school, have one year of work experience as an EKG technician in the past five years, or have completed an EKG Technician training or its equivalent during U.S. Military service within the past five years. This test costs $119 and consists of 150 questions that must be answered in three hours.

Rachel Drummond, MEd
Rachel Drummond, MEd Writer

Rachel Drummond has contributed insightful articles to MedicalTechnologySchools.com since 2019, where she offers valuable advice and guidance for those pursuing careers in the healthcare field, combining her passion for education with her understanding of the critical role that healthcare professionals play in promoting physical and mental well-being.

Rachel is a writer, educator, and coach from Oregon. She has a master’s degree in education (MEd) and has over 15 years of experience teaching English, public speaking, and mindfulness to international audiences in the United States, Japan, and Spain. She writes about the mind-body benefits of contemplative movement practices like yoga on her blog, inviting people to prioritize their unique version of well-being and empowering everyone to live healthier and more balanced lives.

Kimmy Gustafson
Kimmy Gustafson Writer

With her passion for uncovering the latest innovations and trends, Kimmy Gustafson has provided valuable insights and has interviewed experts to provide readers with the latest information in the rapidly evolving field of medical technology since 2019. Kimmy has been a freelance writer for more than a decade, writing hundreds of articles on a wide variety of topics such as startups, nonprofits, healthcare, kiteboarding, the outdoors, and higher education. She is passionate about seeing the world and has traveled to over 27 countries. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon. When not working she can be found outdoors, parenting, kiteboarding, or cooking.