If you are looking for a career in a growing field, consider becoming a telemetry technician. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for cardiovascular and vascular technologists and technicians, including telemetry technicians, will increase by 29 percent through 2020. As baby boomers remain more active in their later years, telemetry technicians will be needed to use imaging technology to help diagnose medical conditions such as heart ailments.
Telemetry technicians perform cardiac tests on patients using an electrocardiogram, or EKG, to discover health problems such as tumors and blood clots. They also prepare patients for exams by taking their medical history, maintain imaging equipment, and discuss results with doctors and other medical staff. Telemetry technicians also perform stress tests by attaching an EKG to patients and monitoring their heart rates while patients walk on a treadmill. Depending on the size of the health care center or hospital, they may also supervise and train other technicians and support staff.
Although most telemetry technicians receive on-the-job training, they also complete an associate or bachelor's program in radiologic technology or nursing from a college or technical school. Courses include anatomy and medical terminology. They also learn how to record electrocardiograms, which is an ultrasound machine used to examine the heart's valves, vessels and chambers. Technicians receive hands-on experience by working under the supervision of a professional technologist in a hospital or medical office. Many technicians become certified in the field to stand out from the crowd and attract more employers. For certification, technicians must complete an accredited program, pass an exam and take continuing education classes in the field.
Since telemetry technicians handle a variety of medical equipment such as cardiac monitoring units, pacemakers and implants, they must be tech savvy. Good communication skills are important especially interacting with patients and medical staff. Since some patients visiting the health care facility are in pain, technicians must have good interpersonal skills to get patients to cooperate with medical procedures.They must also be detail-oriented to follow directions from doctors and record test results in patients' files.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 74 percent of cardiovascular and vascular technologists and technicians worked for hospitals in 2012. However, they can also be found working for clinics, doctor's offices, medical labs and outpatient care centers. Telemetry technicians tend to work long hours including overnight, evenings and on weekends. They also have to stand on their feet for long periods of time and may have to lift disabled patients before conducting tests.
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