March 1, 2023

EKG Technician Program: Seven Weeks to a Rewarding Career

By B&SC Blog Team

EKG Technician Program: Seven Weeks to a Rewarding Career

EKG. Three simple letters could save a life. An EKG or electrocardiogram measures the electrical activity of the heartbeat. The person who performs the test is called an EKG technician. EKG technicians are trained to identify potential problems with the heart’s electrical activity and then alert physicians.

Bryant & Stratton College offers an EKG Technician Certification Program. The seven-week online program ends with a final week of hands-on training followed by the national certification exam. 

In demand profession 

Sherry Pearsall, RN, MSN, CCMA, Bryant & Stratton College Curriculum Manager for Allied Health Programs, created the EKG Technician Certification Program several years ago when she recognized an increasing demand. 

“There is really a huge need for it right now because unfortunately, the rate of heart disease is really increasing in the United States,” said Pearsall. “Every forty seconds in the United States someone has a heart attack. Every forty seconds. It costs the government $200 billion a year to treat something but what’s so frustrating to me as a registered nurse, is it is preventable.”

This is where an EKG technician can come in. An EKG technician can not only perform an EKG but can give advice to patients about how to improve their cardiac health. 

The program also teaches these students about the theory behind heart disease. “People think as an EKG tech you are running in and you are running out, “ said Pearsall. “A good portion of the course has to do with understanding anatomy and physiology and the theory behind the disease processes and being able to interpret all the arrhythmias you see on the screen. Patients don’t know who you are, so they will ask anybody in the room with them about things and you have to be knowledgeable about it. So, I like that EKG techs can learn not only how to do the test, but they can learn how to answer those questions for patients.”

How the program works

According to Pearsall, the duration of the EKG Technician Program, its flexibility, and the chance for career growth made the program very popular. “It is very interesting to our students to do it while they are in school because it allows them to work and to get experience in the field while they are trying to finish their medical assisting program or their nursing program,” she said. “In addition to class work, we set up webinars for them and we review content which leads to a huge success rate in terms of them passing the certification exam.”

There is no prerequisite to the EKG Technician Program. It can be taken by itself or taken to enhance a current career. 

“When I taught in the medical assisting program, one of the classes was about doing an EKG, but it was not intense and didn’t go into how to evaluate the findings,” said Pearsall. “If you are a medical assistant and have that certification, for example, the doctor you are working with will know you are going to be much more accurate and it’s going to be much more comprehensive,” said Pearsall. “So, to me, the certifications are more like the security blanket for them to be able to not only function in their field, but do the extra stuff that means more job security, more job opportunities, and honestly more money.” 

EKG saves lives 

As an EKG technician, you monitor how the cardiac cycle is working. One cardiac cycle involves blood moving through the heart unoxygenated, then moving to the lungs to get oxygen, then going back into the heart and the heart pushes all of that oxygenated blood throughout your body. One of those cycles happens about 60 times a minute. 

“EKGs can save lives,” said Pearsall. “It’s cool because there have been so many cases where patients are on the table having an EKG and it’s the EKG tech taking a look at that saying there’s an immediate problem. You can identify significant arrhythmias or precursors to life threatening issues. Having the tech in the office look at that strip and inform the doctor is critical. The patient may be sent directly to the hospital from the office. This can save lives. “

Pearsall says as an instructor and a nurse, teaching students how to be EKG technicians is rewarding for her because she knows they can single-handedly change the course of someone’s life.
“EKG techs are kind of like the right-hand aid for practitioners working with cardiac patients and even non-cardiac patients. I’ve had students that have completed the course, got their certification, called me back, and said, ‘oh my God you wouldn’t believe what happened today.’ They found or identified a problem on the EKG before they even showed it to the doctor. Or they counseled somebody about the issue and the importance of having the test. Every time you can interact with a patient on that level, show them what it takes to be healthy, what they might be doing wrong, and how they can make the improvement to prevent a big problem, that’s a great feeling -the feeling of making a difference.”

If you would like more information about the EKG Technician Program, visit

Related News