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.

The field of medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists and technicians, which includes EKG technicians, is a growing field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2021), there will be an estimated 14 percent increase in jobs in this field from 2020 to 2030. EKG technologists earn an average salary of $62,020 per year (BLS May 2021).

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

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
  • Tuition: $500

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
  • Tuition: $595

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
  • Tuition: $1,952

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)
  • Tuition: $2450

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
  • Tuition: $299.12 per credit

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List of Electrocardiogram (EKG) Technician Schools

Filter by state :
School City State Website grads (2018)
Manhattan Institute New York New York www.manhattaninstitute.edu 115
Sinclair Community College Dayton Ohio www.sinclair.edu 64
City College of San Francisco San Francisco California www.ccsf.edu 51
Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis Indiana www.ivytech.edu 43
Columbus State Community College Columbus Ohio www.cscc.edu 27
Delgado Community College New Orleans Louisiana www.dcc.edu 27
Parkland College Champaign Illinois www.parkland.edu 27
Allan Hancock College Santa Maria California www.hancockcollege.edu 24
Polaris Career Center Middleburg Heights Ohio www.polaris.edu 23
Fortis Institute-Forty Fort Forty Fort Pennsylvania www.fortisinstitute.edu 21
Orange Coast College Costa Mesa California www.orangecoastcollege.edu 19
Baker College Flint Michigan www.baker.edu 18
American Institute of Medical Sciences & Education Piscataway New Jersey www.aimseducation.edu 17
Atlantic Technical College Coconut Creek Florida www.atlantictechnicalcollege.edu 17
Bossier Parish Community College Bossier City Louisiana www.bpcc.edu 17
Washington State Community College Marietta Ohio www.wscc.edu 16
Lansing Community College Lansing Michigan www.lcc.edu 15
Milwaukee Area Technical College Milwaukee Wisconsin matc.edu 14
Joliet Junior College Joliet Illinois www.jjc.edu 12
Mingo Extended Learning Center Delbarton West Virginia mingoadultlearningcenter.com 12
William T McFatter Technical College Davie Florida www.mcfattertechnicalcollege.edu 12
College of DuPage Glen Ellyn Illinois www.cod.edu 10
Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester New York www.rit.edu 10
Bristol Community College Fall River Massachusetts www.bristolcc.edu 9
Pickaway Ross Joint Vocational School District Chillicothe Ohio www.pickawayross.com 9
Southern Crescent Technical College Griffin Georgia www.sctech.edu 9
U S Grant Joint Vocational School Bethel Ohio www.grantcareer.com 9
Carnegie Institute Troy Michigan www.carnegie-institute.edu 7
Hudson Valley Community College Troy New York www.hvcc.edu 7
Healthcare Training Institute Kenner Louisiana healthcaretraininginstitutenola.net 6
Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences Lancaster Pennsylvania www.pacollege.edu 6
Daymar College-Bowling Green Bowling Green Kentucky www.daymarcollege.edu 4
Nunez Community College Chalmette Louisiana www.nunez.edu 4
Pensacola State College Pensacola Florida www.pensacolastate.edu 4
Fletcher Technical Community College Schriever Louisiana www.fletcher.edu 3
Central Georgia Technical College Warner Robins Georgia www.centralgatech.edu 3
Edmonds Community College Lynnwood Washington www.edcc.edu 3
Anne Arundel Community College Arnold Maryland www.aacc.edu 2
Florence-Darlington Technical College Florence South Carolina www.fdtc.edu 1
Jackson College Jackson Michigan www.jccmi.edu 1
2017-2018 School Data from IPEDS (Sourced in November, 2019)

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
  • Tuition: $2,973 per semester

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
  • Tuition: $1,199

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
  • Tuition: $2,089

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
  • Tuition: $1199

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
  • Tuition: $1,995
School City State Website grads (2018)
Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences Lancaster Pennsylvania www.pacollege.edu 6
2017-2018 School Data from IPEDS (Sourced in November, 2019)

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 Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)

Career Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies EKG technicians as medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists and technicians. Between 2020 and 2030, the BLS estimates that there will be a 14 percent increase in jobs in this field, which is well above the national average of eight percent for all other jobs. In total, this will translate into more than 19,000 new jobs.

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 $62,020 per year, according to the BLS (May 2021). The percentiles for wages are:

  • 10th percentile: $29,910
  • 25th percentile: $37,9950
  • 50th percentile (median): $60,570
  • 75th percentile: $77,600
  • 90th percentile: $98,070

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 $117.

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 between $90 and $135 and consists of 150 questions that must be answered in three hours.

Kimmy Gustafson
Kimmy Gustafson Writer

Kimmy Gustafson is a freelance writer with a passion for sharing stories of bravery. Her love for world-traveling began when her family moved to Spain when she was six and since then, she has lived overseas extensively, visited six continents, and traveled to over 25 countries. She is fluent in Spanish and conversational in French. When not writing or parenting she can be found kiteboarding, hiking, or cooking.