The EKG technician training and certification requirements in Louisiana are created by the employers themselves. State agencies do not have rules or regulations that directly affect technicians working in the cardiac field and do not require individuals to become licensed. In general, a technician is considered to be an unlicensed member of the medical staff who works under the supervision of a physician or nurse. It is the sole responsibility of a licensed medical provider to determine the tasks that are appropriate for a technician to perform.
The Louisiana Nurse Practice Act establishes guidelines for nurses to follow when assigning tasks to unlicensed medical assistants. According to state law, delegation carries with it the responsibility to ascertain the competence of persons to whom delegation is made. Nurses are allowed to delegate non-complex tasks to unlicensed personnel contingent upon the registered nurse’s evaluation of each patient’s condition and also upon the registered nurse’s evaluation of the competency of each unlicensed nursing personnel.
A non-complex task is one that can safely be performed according to exact directions, with no need to alter the standard procedure, and the results are predictable. A complex task is one that requires judgment to safely alter the standard procedure in accordance with the needs of the patient; or requires the consideration of a number of factors in order to perform the procedure; or requires judgment to determine how to proceed from one step to the next. The administration of medication is considered a complex task that requires the professional knowledge, judgment, and skill of a registered nurse.
Education and Training Requirements
An EKG technician may or may not be required to have formal education, training, and prior experience depending on the unique expectations of the establishment where the individual intends to work. Entry-level allied health professions such as medical assistant, nurse aide, dialysis technician, dental assistant, and pharmacy technician often require that applicants complete a high school diploma or GED, in-house training, and a state or national certification exam. While most healthcare facilities will require an EKG technician to complete an industry specific certification exam regardless of background, they differ in terms of the amount of formal education and experience that they expect from applicants.
Because it can be difficult to compete for a position in the cardiovascular department without prior direct patient care experience, many technicians elect to work as an assistant or aide for a few years before applying to a specialized area of practice. These career paths benefit from high demand and they provide the kind of generalized patient care experience that many employers prefer. Once an individual has mastered the basic principles of high quality care they can use their knowledge, skills, and credentials to strengthen their application for an EKG technician job opening. The cardiac care unit will usually provide in-house training for new technicians to help orient them to the unique demands of caring for heart disease.
An alternative strategy for entering the field is through a career in radiologic technology. The Louisiana State Radiologic Technology Board of Examiners is responsible for licensing those who expose patients to ionizing radiation. This may include job titles such as nuclear medicine technologist, general radiographer, and that of radiation therapist, but not that of ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The individual who chooses this path might need to complete a two-year college degree, training, and an industry specific certification exam.
State Contact Information
Phone: (225) 342-9500
Fax: (225) 342-5568
628 N. 4th St. Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Phone: (225) 755-7500
Fax: (225) 755-7584
17373 Perkins Rd. Baton Rouge, LA 70810