Becoming a Monitor Technician: Job Description & Salary Info

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What are the pros and cons of a monitor technician career? Get the advantages, disadvantages, real job descriptions and salary information to see if this career is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of Becoming a Monitor Technician

Monitor technicians keep an eye on the status of patients who are hooked up to heart monitors. You can learn the pros and cons that come with pursuing this career by reading below.

PROS of Becoming a Monitor Technician
Minimal education requirements*
Opportunity to help keep patients alive and healthy*
Team-friendly environment*
Varied day-to-day tasks (may work with machines, patients, data, paperwork)**

CONS of Becoming a Monitor Technician
Evening or overnight shifts can be required*
Training program and/or course completion needed for employment*
Some employers look for applicants with computer skills**
Employers may require CPR or similar basic care certifications**

Sources: *Mayo Clinic, **Various job sites from Nov. to Dec. 2012

Essential Career Information

Job Description

As a monitor technician, you'll monitor several patients at once by studying their heart rhythms. You may monitor as many as 32 patients at a time. If there are any changes in a patient's heart rhythm, you'll immediately report it to nurses, who will respond and attempt to address any issues or problems. In a normal shift, the monitor technician handles the preparation of a patient, the monitoring of the patient and the maintenance of the equipment involved.

Salary Info

In 2015, Salary.com noted that the median salary for monitor technicians was about $32,000 nationwide. Toward the lower end, these technicians made about $26,000. However, the top ten percent were earning incomes of about $38,000 at that time.

Occupational Requirements

Education and Training

Most monitor technicians have at least a GED certificate or a high school diploma. While you're in school, you'll want to take classes in computer science, anatomy, math and physiology. Many monitor technicians also complete a training program of some sort. Training programs might take 8 to 12 weeks. This training is a mixture of classroom instruction and on-the-job training in a clinical environment. Sometimes an employer might offer a class to a new employee. These programs can also be found at vocational schools or community colleges.

Who Gets Hired?

Multi-tasking is a necessary component employers look for in monitor technicians since you might be required to observe many patients at once. Additionally, attentiveness is important since the patients are counting on you if something goes wrong. Finally, employers want to see good communication skills in monitor technicians since these individuals work in teams with nurses and other healthcare professionals. As you continue to read below, you can learn what some real employers were looking for from information taken from November-December 2012 job postings.

  • In Missouri, a monitor technician opening requires someone with CPR certification and knowledge of medical terminology.
  • A Texas hospital is seeking a daytime monitor technician that reports to the head nurse and works full-time. Age-specific patient knowledge is required; completion of basic dysrhythmia course mandatory.
  • One Tennessee employer is seeking a monitor technician who is EMT-certified and can work nights, full-time, under a professional nurse. Strength and emotional durability required.
  • A hospital in California is seeking a part-time monitor technician who is CPR-certified. This role must be filled by someone who is comfortable compiling, recording and printing data while performing some light clerical work.

How to Stand Out As a Monitor Technician

Certification is not a necessary requirement for employment as a monitor technician, but many employers prefer it. For example, EKG (electrocardiography) or EMT (emergency medical technician) certification can demonstrate an additional level of proficiency and commitment to your profession that some of your peers don't have - and some employers have been specifically requiring one or both as of December 2012 job-board postings. Certification training for both is available at some technical and vocational schools; a few options are available online. An examination is typically required to earn your EKG or EMT certification.

Other Vocational Choices

An occupation that is very similar to monitor technician that you might consider pursuing is cardiovascular technologist. Technologists help treat problems related to the heart by monitoring patients and acting with an invasive or noninvasive procedure if necessary. Technicians work alongside cardiovascular technologists and tend to focus on a specific area of the field, such as tests involving electrocardiograms. As of May 2014, the BLS reported that cardiovascular technicians and technologists made an average of around $55,210. It projected that these careers would see a 39% growth in employment from 2012 to 2022.

Another career you may want to look into is diagnostic medical sonographer. In this occupation, you use sound waves with special imaging equipment to help diagnose and assess medical conditions in a patient. This procedure is referred to as a sonogram, echocardiogram or ultrasound, depending on what equipment is involved. From 2012 to 2022, the BLS expected employment growth of 39% for diagnostic medical sonographers and average annual earnings of $68,390, as of May 2014.

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American University

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Grand Canyon University

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  • MBA: Health Systems Management
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University of Delaware

  • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Concentration

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The University of Scranton

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Keiser University

  • RN to BSN
  • Associate of Sciences - Medical Assistant

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Herzing University

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  • Associate of Science - Medical Assisting Services
  • Diploma: Medical Assisting

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Northcentral University

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