Telemetry is an innovative medical service that is used to monitor the heart's electrical activity from a distance. The adoption of telemetry as a means for observing patients in a healthcare setting has been an important step forward in the diagnosis and evaluation of cardiac conditions because it improves the efficiency of the cardiovascular department and provides real-time information about the health of the heart under a variety of conditions. As the prevalence of cardiac disease has risen in the United States, the need for qualified telemetry technicians has increased. This trend has resulted in excellent career advancement opportunities for those who want to work as an entry-level provider without needing to acquire a college degree or extensive training. Those who plan to pursue this field should be aware that most facilities require national certification as a condition of employment.
Although a few allied health positions in the medical industry do not have certification requirements, a majority of those available within specialized areas of practice such as cardiology have adopted formal expectations because of the many benefits that credentials provide. While it is true that certification can make it more difficult to enter the profession, those who invest the time and effort will discover that the patients are more receptive towards them, employers are willing to pay them more, and the number of advancement options are more numerous. In addition, several insurance companies develop their own reimbursement policies based on whether or not a provider has been credentialed. For this reason, an employer will often encourage technicians to voluntary seek certification so that the medical facility can charge more for the services they provide.
There are a number of certification options available to telemetry technicians in the United States and it is important for individuals to have an understanding of which organizations offer exams so that they are better prepared for the job search process. The National Healthcareer Association (NHA) administers a variety of allied health certification examinations and is recognized within the cardiac specialty due to its EKG technician (CET) exam. Although this option is more of a generalized exam for electrocardiogram technicians, it does include questions on the use of telemetry within a medical setting. Another option is offered by the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) organization and has been given the title Certified Cardiographic Technician (CCT) examination. Like the CET exam, the CCT is a generalized form of credentialing for individuals who intend to work as a technician within cardiac care.
Most technicians who work in telemetry begin their career as a general EKG technician before they are able to focus solely on telemetry. For those who work in progressive care, an intensive care unit, tele-ICU, or critical care, a specialized telemetry certification exam may be completed through the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN). Two of the most popular options include the Progressive Care Nurse Certification (PCCN) exam and the Adult Tele-ICU Acute / Critical Care Nurse Certification (CCRN-E) exam. Because these options are designed for nurses, the technician may need to complete a nursing degree program before becoming eligible to take the exams.
The exact exam that is required in order to work for a specific establishment tends to vary and it is important for individuals to communicate with potential employers to learn about their expectations before scheduling a test date. In general, certification exams require that applicants have some experience within the profession before becoming eligible to sit for the exam. Most facilities will have new technicians complete a training program that is offered in-house or through a local vocational school prior to offering patient care of taking a certification exam. Those who work for organizations that do not require credentialing are encouraged to consider voluntary certification at some point during their first couple years of employment.
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