Careers in the dual health care fields of phlebotomy technician and electrocardiogram administration have exhibited steady growth over the years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although they are two different careers, some job training institutions and community colleges offer phlebotomy and EKG training as a joint program. After certification, a graduate may choose to be a phlebotomist or an EKG technician, among others.
Duties Of A Phelebotomy/EKG Technician
Phlebotomy/EKG technicians perform clinical tests and other duties on behalf of physicians or other health care providers.They draw blood, perform venipunctures, transport blood specimens, keep venipuncture trays clean, and do basic urinalysis tests. They also work closely with patients who suffer from heart disease, as they perform diagnostic tests to determine their heart rhythm and rate and test patients over age 40, patients undergoing physicals and operations, and others experiencing chest pains, according to the BLS.
Phlebotomy/EKG Diploma Advantage
The combined program allows students to become trained in multiple skills and is especially beneficial to phlebotomists as many institutions require them to perform EKG tests. Once students are equipped with the knowledge and skills in phlebotomy and EKG, and have been trained in medical terminology, anatomy and physiology of the heart, medical record keeping and entering medical data, students with a diploma can look forward to job opportunities in the field. They can begin their careers in entry-level positions as phlebotomists, EKG technicians, lab assistants, lab aides and hospital donor unit assistants, according to Kaplan College.
Entering The Fields
A student can enter both fields of phlebotomy and EKG technology with a high school diploma after completing the certificate program. For example, once a student meets all prerequisites, he can finish the course and participate in a lab clinical externship in one quarter, which could help prepare him for employment, according to Envisonary.com. A candidate without experience may take the introductory course, while a student with experience can begin at the intermediate level.
Most programs offer technical and clinical courses that provide phlebotomy technician students with the knowledge and skills to fulfill the practical applications of their classroom instruction. They receive training in: venipuncture sites, venipuncture methods, blood components, blood collecting, electrocardiography techniques, laboratory testing, anticoagulants, transportation of blood samples, infection control, medical records documentation, and data entry. Upon completion of the program, a student has the opportunity to take the Registered Phlebotomy Technician exam, through the National Allied Health Test Registry.
According to the BLS, prospective EKG technicians with a background in health care such as working as a nursing aide can enter the field through a four- to six-week on-the-job training program from a supervisor or cardiologist.They can also combine part-time work with a two -year certificate program. Courses include: operating the EKG machine, analyzing the EKG strips, understanding and distinguishing different types of arrhythmias, and recognizing myocardial infraction changes. On-the-job training for advanced EKG technicians may take 18 to 24 months.
Program fees may vary by institution. However, an 18-week Phlebotomy/EKG joint program as shown by Wallingford Adult Education, may cost about $675; the national certification exam/application fee costs about $35, and the textbook about $40 (as of 2010).
According to the Health Care Training Institute, a combined phlebotomy/EKG program may consists of the following three sections and hours: Medical terminlogy, and anatomy/physiology 20 hours, phlebotomy 59 hours, EKG, 41 hours.
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