Electrophysiology technician
Allied Health

What Is an Electrophysiology Technician?

If you’re looking for a rewarding career that doesn’t necessarily require a 4-year degree, pull up a chair and learn about becoming an electrophysiology (EP) technician. EP technicians assist during ablations and other cardiac procedures, making them essential healthcare team members. This guide explains what EP technician jobs entail and provides in-depth salary data to help you plan your career.

What Does an Electrophysiology Technician Do?

An electrophysiology technician, also known as a cardiac electrophysiology technician, assists other members of the healthcare team during cardiology procedures. These procedures may be used to diagnose heart and blood vessel problems or to treat previously diagnosed conditions. For example, electrophysiology technicians often assist staff members during cardiac ablations to treat arrhythmias.

Some of the most common duties assigned to electrophysiology technicians include:

  • Equipment operation and troubleshooting: Electrophysiology technicians operate EKG equipment, amplifiers and other machines for monitoring patients and performing procedures. You may also have to troubleshoot if a machine isn’t working correctly.
  • EKG interpretation: EP technicians typically monitor EKG machines and alert the electrophysiologist if abnormalities occur. Common abnormalities include heart block, chamber enlargement, myocardial infarction and abnormal heart rhythms.
  • Sheath removal: In some facilities, the electrophysiology tech assists nurses with sheath removal. A sheath is a protective sleeve used to insert catheters and guidewires into the blood vessels.
  • Catheter insertion: Before a procedure begins, the EP technician typically inserts a catheter into one of the patient’s blood vessels. Electrophysiologists use these hollow tubes to introduce the wire electrodes to measure the heart’s electrical activity.
  • Patient care: EP technicians put patients at ease and ensure they understand what to expect during each procedure.
  • Circulating and scrubbing duties: Some EP technicians take on circulating duties, which involve leaving the procedure area and updating patients’ family members. Other technicians focus on maintaining a sterile environment and performing other scrub duties.

You may see job listings for electrophysiology technicians and electrophysiology technologists. Although both jobs share some of the same duties, the EP technologist job is a little more specialized, requiring more education and training than the EP technician role.

Required Skills

Success in this field requires a broad range of skills. Some of the most important skills to have as an electrophysiology technician include:

  • Communication: You must communicate with physicians, nurses, technologists and other team members, both orally and in writing. EP technicians also regularly interact with patients and family members.
  • Computer skills: You may need to use an automated tracking system or other computer software to perform some of your duties.
  • Troubleshooting skills: Electrophysiology technicians must be able to troubleshoot equipment problems and determine why machines aren’t working as intended. If a problem is too severe to fix on your own, you must be able to explain the issue to equipment manufacturers, biomedical engineers and other professionals.
  • Critical thinking: You must be able to think logically about your job duties and use critical thinking to solve problems.
  • Operations monitoring: Electrophysiology technicians use complex equipment, so you must be able to read dials, gauges and other tools to determine if everything is working as intended.

Work Environment

Electrophysiology techs typically work in hospitals, outpatient surgery centers and other medical facilities. People with this job spend most of the day on their feet. Depending on your employer’s requirements, you may stand next to the patient during procedures or walk back and forth between the procedure room and the supply room throughout the day.

Your hours and schedule depend on where you work and your employer’s requirements. For example, if you work in a hospital that does emergency procedures, you may have to work on weekends or stay late on weekdays. You may have a more predictable schedule if you work in a doctor’s office or outpatient surgery center with limited hours of operation.

Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes electrophysiology technicians in its occupational outlook data for cardiovascular technologists and technicians. The BLS expects employment in this field to grow by 5% between 2021 and 2031, per its data posted in May 2021.

However, the demand for electrophysiology technicians varies by state, with heavily populated states having stronger employment outlooks. Projected growth data from the following six states demonstrate how much location impacts the number of available EP technician job opportunities.

  • Texas: 17%
  • Florida: 16%
  • New York: 15%
  • Oklahoma: 12%
  • California: 10%
  • Iowa: 8%

How to Become an Electrophysiology Technician

electrophysiology technician, cardiac cath lab technician

At a minimum, you must have an associate’s degree in health sciences to work as an EP technician. Some employers require a bachelor’s degree, so check job listings in your area to determine if you should enroll in a 2-year or 4-year program. A degree in health sciences provides a strong foundation for this career, as the curriculum usually includes coursework in biology, chemistry, anatomy, physiology and genetics. 

If you have previous healthcare experience, you may be able to secure an EP technician job with a degree in surgical technology, medical technology or another closely related field. Technicians who go this route may need to take extra courses, such as EKG interpretation, to ensure they have the skills necessary to succeed. Check with your local community college or adult education center to determine if these courses are available at a reasonable cost.

Employers typically require their EP technicians to have the Basic Life Support credential offered by the American Heart Association. You may also benefit from earning Pediatric Advanced Life Support or Advanced Cardiac Life Support certification. 

Electrophysiology Technician Salaries

According to salary data on Vivian Health on March 29, 2023, the average electrophysiology technician salary was $28.66 per hour. This salary was 34% lower than the national average for all allied health jobs combined during the same period, which was $37.85. However, EP techs are usually among the highest-paid allied health professionals, with previous average earnings running $56 hourly.

Salaries for staff roles vary significantly based on location. Salary data on Vivian didn’t include state breakdowns for EP techs, so we turned to Zippia to gather these details. Per its data updated on February 6, 2023, California’s average yearly salary was $104,113. Although it listed Florida as having the most EP technician jobs, it had the lowest average salary nationwide at $44,768. 

The table below shows salary data for a selection of five additional states across the U.S.

State Average Annual Salary
Oregon $88,470
New York $79,986
Maryland $73,417
Texas $65,667
Oklahoma $62,834

Source: Zippia

Based on a review of Vivian Health’s salary data on March 28, 2023, travel electrophysiology technician salaries averaged $2,716 per week. Your annual salary depends on how many travel contracts you accept each year. For example, if you complete three contracts lasting 13 weeks each, you potentially earn $105,924 annually. Travel salaries also vary based on location. 

The following table offers a sampling of states to help you better understand how location can impact your earning potential.

State Average Weekly Salary
Washington $3,340
California $3,307
New York $2,716
Texas $2,484
Florida $2,477

Source: Vivian Health (March 27, 2023)

How to Increase Your Earnings as an Electrophysiology Technician

Make the most money as a travel nurse

With the costs of housing, utilities, food and other necessities on the rise, it’s never too early to think about how to increase your earnings as an EP technician. The good news is you don’t have to wait for your employer to offer a cost-of-living adjustment or a merit-based wage increase. Use these tips to maximize your salary, no matter how much experience you have.

Complete Additional Education

In May 2022, the BLS released a report showing that American workers across all professions with bachelor’s degrees had median weekly earnings of $1,334 in 2021. The median for workers with associate degrees was only $963 per week, a difference of $369 weekly. Over 52 weeks, that’s a yearly difference of $19,188.

Generally, in most healthcare fields, you can earn more by obtaining an advanced degree. Therefore, if you want to increase your EP technician earnings, consider returning to school for a bachelor’s degree in health sciences, biology or another related discipline.

Get Certified

To advance your career, consider sitting for the Registered Cardiac Electrophysiology Specialist (RCES) exam offered by Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI).

Some employers pay higher salaries to EP technicians who have the RCES credential. CCI offers several qualification pathways, including:

  • RCES1: Allows you to sit for the exam if you have 2 years of full-time experience as an EP technician. Generally, you should have 300 device implantations and 200 diagnostic and/or interventional procedures under your belt before you apply, but it’s not a strict requirement.
  • RCES235: You may qualify with 1 year of full-time EP technician experience and a certificate or degree in the health sciences.
  • RCES5: For those with at least 1 year of specialty training and a minimum of 800 hours of clinical experience.
  • RCES4: You may qualify if you graduated from a program accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, the Canadian Medical Association or the United States Department of Education.

As you gain experience, you may benefit from obtaining the Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist credential. The International Board of Heart Rhythm Examiners also offers the Certified Electrophysiology Specialist certification.

Accept Travel Positions

As you saw above, travel roles tend to pay a lot more than staff jobs, making it possible to increase your earnings while working fewer hours. Travel EP tech jobs sometimes pay more than double the rate of staff techs in the same roles. Consider hitting the road for a year or two if you want to earn more money to meet your financial goals.

Browse current job openings to find your next travel, staff, per diem or local contract job on Vivian today.

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