Below is a list of the top schools offering accredited, online degree programs for EKG Tech. More schools can be found by using the search widget on the left or further down. You can get free info from each university by submitting the “Request Information” form with the links provided. It is encouraged that you fill out at least 3 request info forms for schools with similar degrees to better compare your options and other considerations.
1) What EKG Tech Degrees and Programs Exist and What are They Called?
EKG techs, or electrocardiogram technicians, are generally required to have a two year (associate’s) degree or higher along with a certification. We have listed some of the most common below.
- Associates in Allied Health (AAH)
This degree is designed to teach both health skills and training while completing the classes needed to be able to enter several technician programs upon graduation.
- Associate of Science in Allied Health (ASAH)
Similar to the degree above, the AS has more of a focus on the sciences for its core classes.
- Associate in Invasive Cardiology (AIC)
This degree prepares students to assist physicians in performing invasive procedures such as cardiac catheterization, angioplasty, stent replacement, and others.
- Associate in Noninvasive Cardiovascular Technology (ANCT)
Procedures including echocardiography and cardiac ultrasounds are taught in this degree.
- Associate in Vascular Technology (AVT)
Learning how to perform other complex tests such as the ultrasound as part of this degree.
- Bachelor of Science in Allied Health (BSAH)
Often designed to complement an associate’s degree, this program provides knowledge of health care issues, legal issues, health promotion and disease prevention, evidence based practice, and allied health care research.
- Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI)
Passing this voluntary exam is recognized across the nation as one of the leading certifications for EKG techs.
- Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS)
This is just one of the many certifications offered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography to electrocardiogram technicians.
While the above are the most common degrees involved in becoming an EKG tech, there are many other varieties and certifications.
2) Where Can I Find EKG Tech Rankings?
While there is no formal ranking body that rates EKG tech degrees, it is still important to research them. Because many potential employers can require certification, such as one from the CCI or the ARDMS, it is important to know if the degree being offered is accredited.
Luckily, there is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. They currently accredit health education programs in 22 areas from anesthesia to surgery and include degrees and programs for cardiovascular technology and diagnostic medical sonography, two categories that EKG techs can fall into. Simply select your profession to get a list of accredited programs. You can also narrow the search by state, online programs, and level of degree or credential.
Knowing the difference between program and institutional accreditation is also important. While a school, college, or institution may be accredited, not all degrees, programs, and credentials may meet accreditation requirements. Be sure that the program you are entering and not just the school are accredited. Other key items to look for are on the job experience, the option to take certification exams, and transfer credits.
3) Can I Transfer EKG Tech School Credits?
If you already have college credits, a degree in health, or other health related license, you may qualify for transfer credits. These are essential in cutting down both on time spent studying, classes having to be retaken, and costs. However, there are many obstacles that can interfere with transfer credits.
Because the main accrediting agency for EKG techs is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, there is usually no issue regarding nationally accredited EKG tech degrees versus regionally accredited. If your present or past college credits have been earned in a program that is CAAHEP accredited, they are likely to transfer to many schools that have also been accredited by the same agency. However, transfer credits are less likely to happen if these courses have been taken through a continuing education or CE course. Transfer credits are more likely to be allowable when collegiate level classes are taken and may still be limited to a maximum number at the new school and must have a satisfactory passing GPA to transfer.
If you already have a health related degree or a license, such as a registered nurse license, transfer credits are more likely to be less of an issue. For example, someone with an associate’s degree can take only two years to earn a bachelor’s instead of the standard four years. Those with a valid medical license can begin studies for an associate’s degree as an EKG at a far more advanced level. Students who already have a qualifying health degree can even qualify to take many exams or can just be a few specialty courses away.
4) What Sorts of Careers are Common With an EKG Tech Degree?
Although EKG tech is one specific career within medical imaging diagnostics, there are also many other related professions which we have listed below.
- Electrocardiogram Technician
Also known as an EKG tech, they take electrocardiograms of the heart and can also have knowledge in sonograms and other imaging tests.
- Electrocardiogram Monitor Technician
Similar to the above, this technician also has knowledge on how to operate monitoring equipment.
- Cardiovascular Technician
These techs have a wide range of knowledge of cardiovascular imaging procedures and often assist physicians in diagnosis and treatments.
- Cardiovascular Technologist
Similar to the above, they do many of the same procedures. However a cardiovascular technologist also specializes in catheters, pacemakers, echocardiography, or in vascular technology.
These technicians specialize in a test called the echocardiogram, which is a type of ultrasound test for the heart and is done in several areas.
- Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer
This position is similar to an ultrasound tech who specializes in the cardiac area.
- Vascular Technologist
Whether invasive, noninvasive, or both, these techs use a wide variety of equipment to obtain vascular data on a patient.
And these are just some of the areas of medicine an EKG tech can go into. There are also specialties in patients from fetal, pediatric, adult, and geriatric.
5) How do I Become an EKG Tech?
The first step to becoming an EKG tech is a degree from an accredited school, college, or institution. Although an associate’s degree is the most common, there are many accredited bachelor’s degrees offered in EKG, as well as many other areas of health. With a high school diploma or equivalent, it takes two years average to get an associate’s degree and four for a bachelor’s degree. Those who already have qualifying college credits or degrees can earn either degree in far less time.
There is no licensing nor certifications required by the government, either state or national, to become an EKG. Upon graduation, some EKG techs can be hired right away and begin on the job training. However, there are many employers, such as hospitals and doctor’s offices, that can require a certification.
One of the best known certifications for EKG techs is the one offered by Cardiovascular Credentialing International. To qualify to take the exam, candidates must have graduated from a CAAHEP accredited cardiovascular technology or diagnostic medical Sonography education program. Candidates can also qualify if they have a current CCI credential or one of the following credentials: RN, RRT, MD, RT(R), DO, PA, BTEC, RDCS, or RVT. There is a fee for taking the 100 multiple choice question exam, and it must be renewed every year.
6) What is the Average Salary of Someone With an EKG Tech Degree?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary of cardiovascular technologists and technicians were $47,010 in May 2008. For those entering the field of diagnostic medical sonography, the median yearly pay was $61,980 for the same time period. However, the average pay for EKG techs varies greatly by the site visited.
For example, Payscale.com has a detailed chart featuring the average hourly pay for electrocardiogram technicians. According to the chart, EKG techs earn an average of $10.89 to $15.44 per hour. Factoring the bottom and top pay, along with overtime, average annual salary for EKG techs was $29,270.
However, EKG techs with enough training to move on into other areas of the field enjoyed significantly increased pay. Another look at Payscale.com shows the average annual salaries of both cardiovascular technologists and echocardiographers. With just a little more training than the average EKG tech, average yearly pay increases to $50,163 and $57,710 for each respectively.
The same holds true for many other careers that involve electrocardiogram technologies. A quick look at Indeed.com shows that the national average in annual salary for vascular technologists is currently $62,000. There are also many related positions that pay far higher than the average salary for an EKG tech. The three best paying vascular technology related jobs according to Indeed.com are Ultrasound Technician Allied Health at $94,000, Imaging Technologist Angiography at $80,000, and Ultrasound Technologist at $78,000.
7) Where Can I Find EKG Tech Scholarships and Grants?
Because paying for any education can be expensive, we have included just some of the scholarship, grant, and other funding opportunities below.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a must for students seeking any kind of financial aid. Although it can be difficult to fill out, it is worth doing so to know which and how much in federal aid you qualify for.
- Anne Jones Scholarship
The Society for Vascular Ultrasound offers this scholarship to vascular students in an amount up to $2,500.
The American Society of Echocardiography offers several awards and scholarships to those who qualify.
Although the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs does not offer scholarships, it reports on them in their News & Announcements section.
What three ideas can you share to make studying for allied health more effective? The best answer to this question can win a $1,000 scholarship from Pearson.
- Scholarship of Excellence Award
Another allied health scholarship, it is awarded by The Association of Schools of Allied Health Professionals to a student enrolled in a member school.
- SDMS Foundation
The foundation of The Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography recently began its first scholarship program. The award is granted in the amount of $2,500 for an applicable education.
And these are just some of the scholarships and grants available to EKG techs. While many students apply for scholarships and only a few receive them, everyone who qualifies for a grant from the government gets one. A common characteristic of scholarships and grants is that neither has to be repaid as long as certain conditions are met such as graduation, an acceptable GPA, etc.
Another form of paying for any education, including for an EKG tech, is the Lifetime Learning and Hope credits offered by the IRS. Simply apply for whichever suits you best during tax time to write off expenses paid towards an education including tuition, books, and other related items. Only one can be claimed per year so research both to find which can get you a maximum refund.
The best resource for paying for an EKG tech education is the financial aid office of your current, future, or prospective school. It is their job to help students find funding opportunities, fill out forms, and even tell them how much an education will cost out of pocket before enrolling.