How Much Do EKG Technicians Make? Electrocardiograph Tech Salary

EKG technicians are interchangeably known as EKG technologists or cardiovascular technicians. People who work as EKG technicians are a vital part of a cardiovascular healthcare team. EKG technicians focus on administering different tests to assess a patient’s cardiovascular system. Such assessment may be completed for diagnostic, therapeutic, and research purposes.

The need for EKG technicians is forecast to be robust through the end of this decade/ The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2021) predicts a 14 percent increase in job openings nationally between 2020 and 2030, which is faster than the national average for all occupations (8 percent). The strong job market for EKG techs is driven in part by the aging demographic of the American population. Notably, this occupation is one of the highest-paying healthcare jobs that does not require a bachelor’s-level college degree. The most recent data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the median salary for EKG technicians is $75,380 (BLS 2021).

Those interested in becoming EKG technicians may choose from various training options. One-year certification programs and associate and bachelor’s degree programs in cardiovascular and vascular technology can provide the training necessary to become an EKG technician. Many training programs also feature a clinical portion in which students earn academic credit while working in a healthcare setting such as a hospital, imaging lab, or doctor’s office. Prospective employers tend to especially value graduates of programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

In addition to formal academic education and training, successful EKG technicians will apply several soft skills in their daily duties. Soft skills of particular value include physical stamina, technical skills, attention to detail, effective hand-eye coordination, and a capacity to work independently and with cardiovascular care team members.

This guide features salary data for EKG technicians, including regional and workplace statistics from the BLS and other sources in the sections below to provide the most specific salary information.

EKG Technician Salary Overall

EKG technicians earning the mean national salary for this occupation earn more than the national average for all occupations, which the BLS (May 2021) lists at $58,260 per year or $28.01 per hour. The EKG techs nationally earned an average of $60,570.

Levels of education and years of experience are influential factors to consider over a career’s lifetime. The BLS (May 2021) breaks down EKG technician salary percentiles as follows:

  • 10th percentile: $29,910 or $14.38 per hour
  • 25th percentile: $37,990 or $18.26 per hour
  • 50th percentile (median): $60,570 or $29.12 per hour
  • 75th percentile: $77,600 or $37.31 per hour
  • 90th percentile: $98,070 or $47.15 per hour

Compensation for EKG technicians typically depends on several factors, including an individual’s certification status, level of education, level of experience, geographic location, and the number of modalities a person is qualified to perform.

Though it is possible to work as a non-certified EKG technician many employers prefer or even require that EKG technicians be certified. Certified EKG technicians, also known as CETs, customarily need to regularly renew their credentials by completing continuing education credits (CEs) and paying a recertification fee.

As is true for many professions within the field of healthcare, salary data for EKG technicians varies and depends on several factors, including the local cost of living, education and experience, full-time and part-time work, and professional certification.

EKG Technician Salary by State

Cost of living by region is one of the most important factors to consider when looking for jobs and negotiating salary. Dollars earned in a state with a higher cost of living (such as the western and eastern coastal states) will effectively have less purchasing power than dollars earned in a state with a lower cost of living (such as the states located in the southern, central, and mid-western regions).

Prospective employees seeking to determine how much power their dollars will have can use the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2022) to calculate the cost of living and affordability of a particular state. MERIC compares expenses such as groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, and healthcare to determine the rankings of the most- and least-affordable places to live in the United States.

A review of compensation among the top five-paying states for EKG technicians compared against MERIC data for these same five states indicates that no state featuring a high rate of compensation has a low cost of living. In fact, all these states have high costs of living. Comparing such data as part of a review of a job offer can prove worthwhile in determining the relative value of the offer in terms of how much purchasing power a person would have if they accept the offer.

Here are the five top-paying states for EKG technicians (BLS May 2021):

  • Rhode Island: $85,240 (annual average) or $40.98 per hour
  • Alaska: $83,720 or $40.25
  • District of Columbia: $82,630 or $39.73
  • Oregon: $82,040 or $39.44
  • New Jersey: $80,690 or $38.79

Job availability is another critical factor to consider when looking for employment.

Here are the top five states with the highest employment levels for EKG technicians and their average annual and hourly earnings (BLS May 2021):

  • California: 4,950 employed; $77,330 per year or $37.18 per hour
  • Florida: 4,920 employed; $50,600 or $24.33
  • Texas: 4,000 employed; $56,890 or $27.35
  • Pennsylvania: 3,590 employed; $55,620 or $26.74
  • New York: 3,360 employed; $70,700 or $33.99

EKG Technician Salary by Region

Metropolitan areas are well-known for offering high convenience and services to their residents. In general, bigger cities and their surrounding regions pay higher salaries to match higher living costs in places with higher population density.

Here are the 10 top-paying metropolitan areas for EKG technicians (BLS May 2021):

  • Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA: $99,130 (annual average) or $47.66 per hour
  • Vallejo-Fairfield, CA: $94,400 or $45.39
  • Santa Rosa, CA: $92,140 or $44.30
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA: $89,600 or $43.08
  • Salinas, CA: $89,550 or $43.05
  • Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, CA: $89,090 or $42.83
  • Anchorage, AK: $86,990 or $41.82
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA: $86,860 or $41.76
  • Bakersfield, CA: $85,240 or $40.98
  • Salem, OR: $83,910 or $40.34

Here are 10 of the metropolitan areas with the highest levels of employment for EKG technicians and their average annual and hourly earnings (BLS May 2021):

  • New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA: 2,900 employed; $76,720 (annual average) or $36.89 per hour
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA: 2,420 employed; $72,860 or $35.03
  • Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI: 1,710 employed; $59,000 or $28.36
  • Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD: 1,680 employed; $57,440 or $27.62
  • Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX: 1,220 employed; $61,830 or $29.73
  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL: 1,220 employed; $50,960 or $24.50
  • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV: 1,030 employed; $73,330 or $35.26
  • Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA: 960 employed; $62,360 or $29.98
  • Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX: 950 employed; $56,860 or $27.34
  • Pittsburgh, PA: 940 employed; $53,030 or $25.50

EKG Technician Salary by Work Environment

When seeking employment as an EKG technician, one final factor is which industries and work environments hire and pay the most.

Here are five industries with the highest levels of employment for EKG technicians, as well as their average annual salaries and hourly rates (BLS May 2021):

  • General medical and surgical hospitals: 42,600 employed; $61,150 (annual average) or $29.40 per hour
  • Offices of physicians: 6,450 employed; $65,130 or $31.31
  • Outpatient care centers: 1,480 employed: $88,170 or $42.39
  • Other ambulatory health care services: 1,400 employed; $48,110 or $23.13
  • Specialty (except psychiatric and substance abuse) hospitals: 960 employed; $52,310 or $25.15

These figures show that while general medical and surgical hospitals are far and above the top employers in terms of numbers, the industries offering the highest pay to EKG technicians are outpatient care centers and physicians’ offices.

As for the highest salaries, here are the five top-paying industries for EKG technicians (BLS May 2021):

  • Outpatient care centers: $88,170 (annual average) or $42.39 per hour
  • Home health care services: $87,440 or $42.04
  • Scientific research and development services: $80,240 or $38.58
  • Offices of other health practitioners: $76.840 or $36.94
  • Medical and diagnostic laboratories: $72,420 or $34.82
Bernd Geels
Bernd Geels Writer

Bernd Geels is a Berlin, Germany-based freelance writer and artist. He holds an undergraduate degree in atmospheric science and two graduate degrees. He completed his most recent graduate degree in international environmental studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in 2011. He is interested in healthcare, climate change, marine conservation, indigenous science, and refugee issues. You can reach him directly at [email protected].