When a physician needs to measure or monitor a patient’s heart activity, the most frequent method used is an electrocardiogram, also known as an electrocardiograph, EKG or ECG. EKG technicians operate this testing equipment, allowing the doctor to make a diagnosis.
With demand projected to increase faster than average for medical technicians in the next decade, now is a great time to learn more about this career and your earning potential.
Average Salary for EKG Technicians
According to Payscale data from August 2022, the average EKG technician salary is about $38,980, or $15.56 per hour. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports higher pay for cardiovascular technicians, with a median EKG technician salary of about $62,020, or $29.82 per hour.
Earning potential as an EKG technician is influenced by job location, education, and experience. Data shows that more experienced technicians earn the most, but the work setting may be a greater factor in overall income, as outpatient care centers pay more than hospitals.
Pay for EKG technicians is slightly less than similar specialties, such as medical sonography (ultrasound) technicians. For example, the BLS reports a median salary of $77,740 for all diagnostic sonographers.
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The Highest-Paying States for EKG Technician
The BLS reports data for all cardiovascular technologists and technicians, which includes many roles in addition to EKG technicians. Therefore, the average salary projections might be higher or lower than actual earnings. Keeping that in mind, the data shows that the highest EKG technician salaries are found in Rhode Island, Alaska, the District of Columbia, Oregon, and New Jersey.
These rankings closely align with the highest-paying states for other healthcare careers. Alaska, the District of Columbia, and Oregon are among the highest-paying states for nurses. In fact, Alaska is the highest-paying state for healthcare jobs overall. These states also rank among the most expensive places to live in the U.S., which significantly impacts earnings.
3 Ways to Increase Pay As as an EKG Technician
Many people begin their healthcare careers as EKG technicians and move into more advanced cardiovascular diagnostics roles. You can increase your pay and work toward your career goals by doing the following.
Becoming a certified EKG technician attests to your ability to perform the basic tasks associated with the position. Candidates need a high school diploma or GED certificate and either an EKG technician training program or work experience in the field for at least one year to be eligible for the certification exam. Maintaining certification requires ten continuing education credits every two years.
Earning certification demonstrates your commitment to excellence and may be required by employers. It can also help maximize your earning potential, since you have proven knowledge and skills in the field.
Although you can become an EKG technician with only a high school or GED diploma, additional education can help increase your income. Some employers provide on-the-job training, but completing an EKG training program can improve your prospects.
You can also advance your career prospects and increase your salary by seeking further training for more skilled roles in cardiac catheterization, cardiac rehabilitation, and cardiac monitoring. Cardiac catheterization lab jobs, for instance, usually require a minimum of an associate degree and certification, but they also pay more.
BLS data shows that while hospitals and physicians’ offices employ the most EKG technicians, the highest paid techs work for outpatient care centers, home health providers, and research centers. As you gain experience in administering EKGs, seeking a job outside the hospital setting could result in a significant pay increase.
Frequently Asked Questions About EKG Technician Salaries
What is the salary range for EKG technicians?
According to Payscale data from August 2022, EKG technician salary ranges reach $24,000-$55,000 annually, plus overtime, bonuses, and other cash earnings. These figures do not include benefits, such as health insurance.
How do EKG technician salaries change by experience level?
EKG technician salaries typically increase with experience, especially when you seek additional education and training. That said, remaining in an EKG technician position for the duration of your career does not always result in significantly higher pay. Payscale data shows the difference between an entry-level technician’s pay and that of an experienced (20+ years) professional at only about $5 per hour. For that reason, many EKG technicians seek additional education to move into more advanced, better-paying jobs.
What are the highest-earning cities for EKG technicians?
Eight of the top 10 highest-paying cities for EKG technicians are in California, including the top-paying metropolitan area of Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura. Other high-paying cities in the Golden State include Vallejo, Santa Rosa, San Francisco, Salinas, Sacramento, San Jose, and Bakersfield. Outside of California, the highest-paying cities include Anchorage, Alaska, and Salem, Oregon. Keep in mind that BLS data encompasses earnings for all cardiovascular technologist and technician roles.
Are EKG technicians in demand?
Aging populations require cardiac care. Combined with a trend toward diagnostic imaging that does not use radiation, the job outlook for EKG technicians remains strong. The BLS projects a 14% increase in overall employment in this field from 2020-2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.
In addition to changes in patient needs, high turnover due to people leaving the field or moving into higher-level positions should drive this increase.