The process of becoming nationally certified in a healthcare profession has become an integral part of showing that an individual is competent to perform specific medical tasks and is able to provide safe and effective care to those who are in need of professional medical evaluation and treatment. Enhanced state and federal competency standards have created a practice environment within healthcare that embraces certification as a worthwhile pursuit that may improve earnings, result in expanded benefits, and lead to additional job opportunities.
The Benefits of Telemetry Certification
Telemetry is a noninvasive medical service that allows providers to monitor important health indicators such as blood pressure, heart rate, and heart rhythm from a remote location. This service is used in medical establishments across the US where patients are evaluated and treated for complex heart conditions. Some facilities have contracted with virtual intensive care units (ICUs) that are equipped with technological resources that allow them to monitor patients anywhere around the World. In the event that a patient experiences an abnormal or concerning cardiac event, the staff at the virtual ICU is able to alert staff who are employed in the facility where the patient is being managed.
The responsibility for monitoring patients is shared by many different providers including EKG technicians, cardiac nurses, and physicians. Although technicians typically assume the least amount of liability when it comes to patient care, they are almost always expected to obtain telemetry certification prior to assisting with the monitoring process. This allows individuals to demonstrate that they have the basic knowledge and skills needed in order to provide high quality care. In addition, credentials often result in greater levels of responsibility, higher pay, better benefits, and more career advancement opportunities. In cases where a technician is not required to become certified, it is recommended that an individual choose to voluntarily pursue the credential in order to take advantage of the many benefits that it brings.
Telemetry Certification Options
The process of becoming certified as an EKG technician typically requires individuals to have a basic appreciation for the administration of telemetry in a healthcare setting. The need for telemetry certification is dependent on the employer’s expectations and the responsibilities that an individual has been assigned in the facility where they work. Individuals who plan to work as an unlicensed technician in a cardiovascular department are encouraged to consider completing one or more of the following exams…
1) EKG Technician Certification (CET) – Administered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA), this test is intended to evaluate an individual’s ability to operate equipment that is designed to record the activity of the heart. Competencies covered on the exam included topics like administering electrocardiograms and stress tests, preparing patients for Holter monitoring, ambulatory monitoring, evaluating and editing test results prior to delivering them to advanced medical personnel, scheduling appointments, and transcription. Although this exam covers a broad range of important competencies for EKG technicians, it includes questions on telemetry that can affect the overall outcome of the exam results.
Exam Fee: $105
2) The Certified Cardiographic Technician (CCT) – The examination is proctored by an organization known as Cardiovascular Credentialing International. To qualify, an applicant must have a high school diploma or GED and meet 1 of 3 criteria. Questions cover topics like cardiovascular anatomy and physiology, cardiac electrophysiology, and stress testing. Details about the CCT Exam Matrix are found here. CCI does not administer a telemetry certification exam, but does offer other specialty exams.
Exam Fee: $160
3) Progressive Care Nurse Certification (PCCN) – This is a specialty exam offered by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). Progressive care involves the management of acutely ill patients in settings that include intermediate care units, direct observation units, step-down, telemetry, transitional care, and emergency departments. In order to become eligible to take this exam, applicants must have nurse credentials and; therefore, it is not one that unlicensed personnel would take unless they plan on pursuing their nursing degree. The PCCN may be a good option for those who are entertaining the thought of becoming a nurse and who think that telemetry certification would be a valuable credential to acquire. There are 125 questions on the examination that must be completed in a 2.5 hour time frame.
Exam Fee: AACN Members ($175) / Nonmembers ($275)
4) Adult Tele-ICU Acute / Critical Care Nurse Certification (CCRN-E) – This is a specialty exam offered by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). This telemetry certification option is reserved for individuals who have nursing credentials and who plan to sub-specialize in cardiac care. The exam is meant for nurses who work primarily in a tele-ICU observing patients from a remote location. A tele-ICU is designed to provide remote intensive care services. The technology is beneficial for situations where distance barriers exist such as in rural communities. Individuals who work in these units are able to provide remote consultation and coaching.
Exam Fee: AACN Members ($225) / Nonmembers ($330)
A career in cardiac care is a very rewarding experience that provides unique opportunities for technicians and nurses to have a dramatic impact on the well-being of patients. Although telemetry certification may not be required, it can often serve to strengthen one’s credentials and expand the employment options that are available. Individuals who plan to remain in an unlicensed assistive position are encouraged to complete either the CET or CCT examination as a means of demonstrating their competence and advancing their career.