Pathways to a Career as an EKG Technician in Tennessee: Training and Certification Guide

Looking to build a career as an EKG technician in Tennessee? Get started with this comprehensive guide, outlining the key stages from required education and hands-on training programs to the certification process. Stay informed on what to expect in terms of job opportunities and salaries in this dynamic healthcare profession within the state.

Key Takeaways

  • To become an EKG Technician in Tennessee, one must obtain a high school diploma or GED, complete a certified training program, gain practical experience, and pass essential background and drug tests.
  • EKG technicians must get certified through recognized agencies such as the National Healthcareer Association or Cardiovascular Credentialing International and maintain the certification through continued education and renewal every two years.
  • The demand for EKG technicians in Tennessee is growing due to an aging population and the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases, with job growth projected at 17% from 2016 to 2026 and salaries ranging from $27,000 to $49,000 annually.
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Becoming an EKG Technician in Tennessee: A Comprehensive Overview

EKG machine with technician performing test

EKG technicians play a pivotal role in healthcare, spearheading the battle against cardiovascular disease, a major global cause of mortality. To step into the shoes of an EKG technician in Tennessee, several key milestones must be accomplished. This includes obtaining a high school diploma or GED, completing a certificate program, and passing essential background and drug tests.

These general requirements form the stepping stone to the world of electrocardiography. They equip aspiring EKG technicians with fundamental knowledge and skills, setting the stage for specialized EKG technician training. The journey to becoming a certified EKG technician in Tennessee is a blend of academic learning, practical experience, and professional certification, each component equally vital in shaping competent EKG technicians.

EKG Technicians’ Role and Responsibilities

EKG technicians, or EKG techs as they’re often called, serve a critical function by providing indispensable diagnostic information to physicians treating heart conditions. From evaluating patients and explaining procedures to performing EKGs, they are the heartbeat of cardiovascular diagnostics.

Thanks to their comprehensive training, EKG technicians can:

  • Monitor heart function using EKG tests
  • Work across a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, and physician’s offices
  • Synergize with advanced medical technology and other healthcare professionals like doctors and nurses, significantly enhancing patient care.

Skills and Qualities of Successful EKG Technicians

In addition to technical skills, successful EKG technicians harbor a suite of interpersonal skills and personal attributes. They are often the comforting presence providing reassurance to patients who might feel anxious about the procedure. Compassion, therefore, becomes a cornerstone of their profession, as they offer support and understanding during testing.

It’s paramount that EKG technicians possess the following skills and qualities:

  • Precision in using the EKG machine to guarantee accurate results, which aids in diagnostics
  • A grasp of medical terminology to communicate effectively with healthcare professionals and patients, providing a clear understanding of the procedures they perform
  • Excellent vision and physical stamina, given the need to read electronic monitors accurately and assist patients during long periods of standing

These skills and qualities, including good interpersonal skills, are crucial for EKG technicians, also known as ekg tech, to excel in their role.

EKG Technician Training Programs in Tennessee

Classroom with EKG training equipment

The path to becoming an EKG technician in Tennessee involves the following steps:

  1. Complete a rigorous training program, which can be concluded in less than a year.
  2. Meet the prerequisites, which include a high school diploma or equivalent.
  3. Participate in a program that provides a robust blend of classroom hours and clinical hours.
  4. Receive a Certificate of Completion upon successful completion of the program.
  5. Take national or industry certification exams to further enhance your credentials.

By following these steps, you can become a qualified EKG technician in Tennessee.

The range of programs available in Tennessee is comprehensive. For example:

  • The Tennessee Professional Training Institute offers a 60-hour course
  • NGH School of Health Sciences has a three-month Cardiographic Certificate program
  • The Compassionate Care Technical Center in Knoxville covers a wide range of topics from cardiac anatomy to medical ethics.

Online EKG Technician Training

Among the range of EKG technician programs in Tennessee, many find the online training option to be a flexible and efficient alternative. Institutions like the University of Tennessee at Martin and the U.S. Career Institute offer online Certified EKG Technician courses that are accredited and designed to prepare students for the NHA CET exam.

The online courses cover a spectrum of vital skills, from understanding and applying EKG test procedures to learning about cardiac anatomy and physiology. However, to meet certification eligibility, graduates must complete hands-on experience, including performing a minimum of 10 EKGs on live individuals within 90 days after passing the CET exam.

In-Person EKG Technician Training

While online training brings flexibility, in-person EKG technician training offers a hands-on approach to learning. These training programs in Tennessee deliver a blend of classroom learning and practical training, typically completed in under a year.

The hands-on component is a significant part of the training, equipping students with the necessary experience for certification registration. The curriculum includes teaching critical thinking and EKG recording techniques, ensuring students are well-versed in all aspects of EKG testing.

Hybrid EKG Technician Training

Hybrid EKG technician training programs provide the perfect mix for those seeking a balance between the convenience of online learning and hands-on training. Solomon’s Healthcare Academy and Necole’s Learning Academy offer such programs, merging online coursework with hands-on in-person training to provide a comprehensive educational experience.

While online components offer flexibility in scheduling and location, in-person components allow students to gain practical experience, ensuring they are comfortable and proficient in performing EKG procedures. Necole’s Learning Academy, for instance, offers a 6-week intensive curriculum focusing on heart performance.

Certification Process for EKG Technicians in Tennessee

EKG certification exam preparation

Upon completion of the required training, aspiring EKG technicians in Tennessee must proceed with the certification process. This includes choosing a certification agency, such as the National Healthcareer Association or Cardiovascular Credentialing International, and taking the Certified EKG Technician (CET) or the Certified Cardiographic Technician (CCT) exam.

While not mandated by the state, over 80% of employers in Tennessee prefer or require EKG technicians to have national certification, underlining its importance for employment opportunities. The certification fee also covers a range of materials to aid in exam preparation, including a study guide and practice exams.

Eligibility Requirements

Candidates must meet certain eligibility requirements before embarking on the certification journey. This includes:

  • Possessing a high school diploma or GED
  • Being over 18 years old
  • Completing an accredited EKG training program or equivalent on-the-job experience within the past 3 years.

In addition, candidates must pass a background check without felonies, have negative tests for hepatitis and TB, and possess updated immunization records. Moreover, candidates should have completed 10 successful EKGs before taking the certification exam, which could be part of the training program or accumulated through practical experience.

Exam Preparation

Preparing for the certification exam is an essential part of obtaining certification. For example, ASET offers examination materials and unlimited practice exams, as well as up to three attempts to pass the national certification exam. This helps candidates prepare thoroughly for their certification. Review courses may cover topics such as EKG interpretation, patient care, and technical aspects of EKG testing, all crucial for passing the certification exam. After completing the exam, candidates experience verification successfully waiting for their results and the next steps in the certification process.

Candidates can make use of study guides, practice tests, and review courses offered by certification agencies to prepare for the EKG exam. Consistent review of study materials and taking practice exams as the exam approaches are recommended study techniques for the EKG certification exam.

Certification Agencies

Several certification agencies offer EKG technician certification. The National Healthcareer Association (NHA) and Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) are two prominent bodies offering the Certified EKG Technician (CET) and Certified Cardiographic Technician (CCT) credentials, respectively.

The American Society of EKG Technicians (ASET) is another recognized agency offering certification for EKG technicians. Becoming ASET certified requires a $150 fee, which includes a study guide, unlimited practice exams, three final exam attempts, and professional resume revision.

Job Prospects and Salary Expectations for EKG Technicians in Tennessee

EKG technician discussing test results with a doctor

The path to becoming a certified EKG technician in Tennessee unfolds into a thriving career landscape. The job prospects for EKG technicians in Tennessee are promising, boasting a projected growth rate higher than the average of other occupations. This increasing demand is largely due to an aging population and a growing emphasis on preventive care.

In terms of remuneration, the average annual salary for EKG technicians in Tennessee varies based on experience but generally ranges from $27,000 to $49,000. Factors such as the type of healthcare facility, location within Tennessee, and the individual’s level of experience and education can influence these figures.

Job Outlook

Becoming an EKG technician in Tennessee opens doors to a career marked by growth and stability. The projected job growth rate for EKG technicians in Tennessee is 17 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is higher than the national average predicted increase of 10% from 2020 to 2030.

The rising prevalence of heart conditions and an aging population are key factors contributing to the increased need for EKG technicians in Tennessee. A career as an EKG technician offers job stability and prospects for growth, attributed to the consistently high demand within the healthcare industry.

Average Annual Salary

EKG technicians in Tennessee can expect to earn a competitive salary in return for their specialized skills. The mean annual wage for cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including EKG technicians, was $65,490 in May 2022 in the United States. Certified EKG Technicians in Tennessee can expect to have an average national salary of around $59,000.

EKG technicians in Tennessee have the potential to earn hourly rates ranging from $16.32 to $49.04. However, it’s important to note that salary variations can depend on factors like experience, the specific location within Tennessee, and the needs of the employer.

Employment Opportunities

With a positive job outlook and competitive salaries, EKG technicians in Tennessee can find ample employment opportunities. Some common places that hire EKG technicians include:

  • Hospitals
  • Doctors’ offices
  • Medical laboratories
  • Outpatient centers providing diagnostic services

Geographically, Nashville, Memphis, and Knoxville emerge as key cities in Tennessee where EKG technicians can find ample employment opportunities. As the demand for skilled EKG technicians continues to rise, so do the opportunities for a rewarding career in this field.

Maintaining and Renewing EKG Technician Certification in Tennessee

After certification, EKG technicians in Tennessee must ensure their certification stays current. EKG Technicians must renew their CET Certification every two years to keep their skills and knowledge current. This process helps to maintain the high standards of patient care and safety in the healthcare industry. This renewal process should ideally begin at least 30 days before the certification’s expiration date to avoid any hiccups.

Continuing education forms an essential part of this renewal process. Certified EKG Technicians are required to complete continuing education either through on-the-job workshops or online education units. The fee to renew the EKG Technician certification for another two years is $150.00, and the entire renewal process, including continuing education and the renewal assessment, can be completed online through the ASET learning management system.


The journey to becoming a certified EKG technician in Tennessee is a rewarding one. It involves obtaining the necessary education, hands-on training, and certification, ultimately leading to promising job prospects and a competitive salary. With an aging population and an increased focus on preventive healthcare, the demand for EKG technicians in Tennessee is poised to grow. As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, the role of EKG technicians remains pivotal, making it a fulfilling and impactful career choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top 3 job requirements for an EKG technician?

The top 3 job requirements for an EKG technician include proficiency in electrocardiography, heart monitors, and patient care. Additionally, a background in cardiovascular technology or allied health fields is highly beneficial. These skills and qualifications are essential for securing a position as an EKG technician.

Where do EKG techs get paid the most?

EKG Techs are usually paid the highest when employed in outpatient care centers, with cities like San Mateo County, CA, Santa Clara, CA, and South San Francisco, CA offering some of the top salaries in the field. Medical and diagnostic laboratories are another high-paying employment option.

How much do EKG techs make in TN?

The average EKG Technician salary in Tennessee is $39,400, with a range typically falling between $34,900 and $45,600. Experienced workers can make up to $103,428 per year.

How do I become an EKG tech in Tennessee?

To become an EKG tech in Tennessee, you should attend a state-accredited EKG training program in Nashville, which typically includes 40-80 in-class hours and 20-40 clinical hours. This will prepare you for a career as a Certified EKG Technician (CET).

What is the role of an EKG technician in the healthcare field?

The role of an EKG technician in the healthcare field is critical as they provide diagnostic information for physicians treating heart conditions, evaluate patients, perform EKGs, and maintain equipment. This helps in the proper diagnosis and treatment of heart-related issues.