How to Become an EKG Technician in California

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How to Become an EKG Technician in California

An EKG (electrocardiogram) is a critical piece of equipment used by certified technicians in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other healthcare facilities.

The purpose of an EKG technician course is to give graduates the knowledge and skills required so they can qualify as telemetry technicians or EKG technicians within a rehabilitation center, clinic, physician’s office, or another medical facility.

Students are also prepared to complete national certification exams once the comprehensive EKG technician program completes.

Some of the best traits of an EKG technician include effective communication with different types of people, patience with the equipment and patient, and critical thinking skills if the machinery fails.

If this sounds like an intriguing career choice and you possess these common characteristics, then keep reading to learn more about becoming an EKG technician in California!

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Licensing to Become an EKG Technician in California

California does not require any EKG technician certification or education.

This means that becoming an EKG technician requires less education than most medical professions and is an excellent opportunity for those who want to jump right into the medical field.

Although the state does not require certification, most employers prefer potential hires to have completed a certification program, which takes between three and six months to complete.

The steps to becoming licensed in California include:

Step One: Earn a High School Diploma

The first step is to earn a high school diploma or equivalent.

Step Two: Complete an EKG Technician Training Program

Although the second step is not required, most employers want applicants to complete a training program so they can hit the ground running.

Step Three: Apply for a Job

Once you have completed a training program; you can start applying for jobs.

Many schools offer job placement services to help link you with interested employers.

Step Four: Become Certified

Once you have earned one year of experience in this field, you can take the certified EKG technician (CET) test offered by the National Healthcare Association.

The process to take this exam is you must apply online, choose a date and location to take the exam, study the materials, two the exam, and get passing results within two days.

EKG technicians can also earn a certificate as a Certified Cardiographic Technician (CCT), which is for those who work with stress testing and Holter monitors and wish to validate their knowledge for their employers.

To take this exam, you must provide proof of a high school diploma or equivalent and enrollment as a current student or graduate of an EKG training program, employment in the cardiovascular technology or related field, or complete an undergraduate or graduate degree in a physical health or science field.

5 EKG Technician Schools in California

Due to the size and population of California, there are countless schools across the state that offer an EKG technician training program.

Most community colleges and trade schools offer this type of training, especially around major cities. Several of these schools include:

Cal State East Bay

Cal State East Bay Logo

The EKG Technician certificate program offered by Cal State East Bay gives students the skills required to be successful in the healthcare industry.

Course topics include physiology and anatomy of the heart, echocardiography, electrocardiography, and medical disease terminology and processes.

Other areas of study include the legal and medical ethics of patient contact and preparation to take the national certification exam.

California Medical College

California Medical College Logo

California Medical College’s EKG technician course covers the roles and responsibilities required by an EKG.

The entry-level course discusses what an EKG is and how their job functions within a clinical setting then proceed to the heart, its functionality, and how an EKG machine diagnoses different issues.

Other areas of study include terminology, basic physiology, and anatomy, how the EKG equipment works, and the readings offered by the machine.

This 64 credit course is broken down into 12 hours of lab work and 52 hours of lecture.

Contra Costa Medical Career College

Contra Costa Medical Career College Logo

Located in Antioch, California, Contra Costa Medical Career College focuses only on students looking to enter the healthcare industry.

The price of their EKG training program is under $15,000 and the full course takes up to 10 months to complete.

The end of the course prepares students to take the certification exam.

Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts

Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts Logo

Another institution focused solely on the medical field is the Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts, which offers an EKG certification program that can take up to two years, depending on the chosen coursework.

This is an excellent option for those who wish to go deeper into the field while still learning the basic requirements.

This program offers lectures and clinical rotations, so the student learns hands-on and textual information.

Regan Career Institute

Regan Career Institute Logo

With a price range from $1,000-$3,000, the EKG certification program offered by the Regan Career Institute takes up to three months to complete.

Students report that this program is an excellent combination of lab and classroom training, with helpful and responsive instructors.

Also, this program is incredibly affordable for those looking to get into the field.

EKG Technician Schools in California – Summary Table

School Name Address
Cal State East Bay 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd, Hayward, CA 94542
California Medical College 7851 Mission Center Ct UNIT 326, San Diego, CA 92108
Contra Costa Medical Career College 4041 Lone Tree Wy #101, Antioch, CA 94531
Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts 2121 South El Camino Real Build C-200, San Mateo, CA 94403
Regan Career Institute 11350 Valley Blvd, El Monte, CA 91731
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The median national EKG technician salary is around $40,000.

In California, the median income is slightly higher at almost $44,000 per year.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Los Angeles $45,600
San Diego $43,500
San Jose $50,600
San Francisco $50,400
Long Beach $45,000
Fresno $40,100
Sacramento $43,600
Oakland $48,000
Santa Ana $45,000
Anaheim $45,100

Regional Salary in California

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Bakersfield, CA90$80,060$38.49$107,430$43,910
Fresno, CA110$79,150$38.05$121,250$46,080
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA1,960$81,920$39.39$131,910$46,300
Modesto, CA70$85,350$41.04$167,940$47,920
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA40$102,080$49.08$129,850$48,820
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA470$72,500$34.86$112,470$39,760
Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA310$95,870$46.09$136,860$51,130
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA510$79,500$38.22$131,460$45,750
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA480$96,130$46.22$159,460$58,970
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA250$97,810$47.02$156,570$59,340
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA60$71,780$34.51$107,060$44,980
Santa Rosa, CA40$91,910$44.19$128,770$47,760
Stockton-Lodi, CA30$75,140$36.13$123,440$42,620
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA40$96,120$46.21$150,320$48,700
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, OCC Code 29-2031, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the job duties of an EKG technician in California?

The job duties of an EKG technician are typically defined as monitoring the patient before, during, and following testing.

This includes:

  • Attaching leads and electrodes to major areas of arterial blood flow like the arms, chest, and legs.
  • Explaining the testing procedure to the patient.
  • Monitoring the equipment and patient during testing.
  • Note sections of the test printout that must be reviewed by a physician.
  • Noting the cardiograph report throughout the test and the patient’s heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Setting up the test to the specifications of the physician or the standard protocol.

What are the Continuing Education Obligations for an EKG Technician in California?

No legally mandatory continuing education requirement exists for non-certified EKG technicians.

However, since most employers require certification, EKG technicians must renew credentials every two years by completing 10 continuing education units and paying the recertification fee.

Also, on every three-year renewal, techs must complete 16 continuing education credits and submit a signature of CCI Code of Ethics compliance.

Is being an EKG technician in California stressful?

Generally, the job duties fulfilled by EKG techs are not stressful.

However, they must utilize analytical skills when reporting findings and analyzing results.

When there are many patients in a single day, some techs can become stressed due to the nonstop flow of tests.

USA EKG Technician Schools by City

USA EKG Technician Schools by State

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