Many health science instructors teach courses relating to electrocardiography, leading to student certification as EKG technicians. When you are preparing students for a certification exam, you want to be sure you are using your curriculum effectively. Teachers often ask AES how to use our digital curriculum HealthCenter21 to equip students for the EKG technician certification.
Health science teachers know the value of interacting with their students, and many approach AES wanting to find ways to move beyond textbooks when teaching subjects like medical terminology.
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Are you looking for ways to more effectively prepare your students for NHA certification success? You’re not alone! Many teachers like you are looking to do more than use the NHA test prep materials to help their students review for exam day. But where can you start?
As a CTE health science teacher, your curriculum ranges from health science foundations to certification-focused topics.
The NHA CET exam is a certification test developed by the National Healthcareer Association to measure a student’s knowledge and skills of EKGs. When students pass the exam, they earn a certification acknowledging that they can work in a healthcare facility as an EKG technician. In addition to administering and reading EKGs, students who take the NHA CET exam will be able to do tasks related to Holter monitoring and stress testing. But how do you prepare your learners for the exam? On this page, we’ll share how the exam is structured and give you some tips on helping your students succeed. We’ll start with some background about the National Healthcareer Association since they provide the exam. How to Prepare Your Students for the NHA CET Exam What Is the National Healthcareer Association? The National Healthcareer Association (NHA)is a nationally-accredited provider of health science certifications. NHA’s mission is “empowering people to access a better future.” This includes both improving the quality of patient care and providing opportunities for people to become healthcare professionals. Overall, the NHA works towards this mission by providing eight industry certifications: Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) Electronic Health Record Specialist (CEHRS) EKG Technician (CET) Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) Patient Care Technician/Assistant (CPCT/A) Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) Phlebotomy Technician (CPT) Since 1989, the NHA has awarded more than 750,000 healthcare certifications across the US! Now that you know a bit about the NHA, let’s get to the details of the CET exam. How Is the NHA CET Exam Structured? The NHA CET exam is comprised of 100 scored questions, which fall into three healthcare “domains:” Safety, Compliance, & Coordinated Patient Care (32%) EKG Acquisition (44%) EKG Analysis & Interpretation (24%) Each domain has a different number of subtopics and supporting statements that further evaluate the knowledge and skills students need to know to start their careers. Domain 1 - Safety, Compliance, & Coordinated Patient Care The Safety, Compliance, & Coordinated Patient Care domain is made up of nine subtopics with related supporting statements: Adhere to HIPAA regulations Adhere to infection control practices Adhere to scope of practice and comply with ethical standards Communicate appropriately with patients and members of the multidisciplinary healthcare team Obtain and interpret patient vital signs Instruct patients about preparation for and expectations during stress testing Instruct patients on the use of ambulatory monitoring and verify their understanding Utilize electronic medical records / electronic health records to input patient information Recognize signs and symptoms of cardiopulmonary compromise Overall, it’s crucial for EKG technicians to be constantly aware of the safety, privacy, and comfort of the patients they treat. Domain 2 - EKG Acquisition The EKG Acquisition domain includes 10 subtopics with supporting statements: Maintain EKG equipment Verify EKG machine settings Prepare skin for electrode placement Position patient for cardiac testing Apply electrodes and attach leads for five types of testing Verify that all leads were recorded Identify and resolve artifacts from the tracing Mount a completed EKG tracing strip for a patient’s chart Assist in monitoring patient condition during stress testing Provide support in responding to complications during stress testing As an EKG technician, preparing for and carrying out testing is one of the most crucial aspects of your daily work. Domain 3 - EKG Analysis & Interpretation The EKG Analysis & Interpretation domain is made of eight subtopics and supporting statements: Calculate patient’s heart rate from the EKG tracing Determine the regularity of the patient’s heart rhythm from the EKG tracing Measure EKG intervals and waveforms Inspect the waveform characteristics for symmetry, direction, and amplitude Identify arrhythmias from the EKG tracing Recognize pacemaker spikes on an EKG tracing Identify ischemia, injury, and infarction on the EKG tracing Take appropriate action when life-threatening arrhythmias are identified An EKG technician needs to be able to quickly identify important information from the readings, especially when it could save a patient’s life. Core Knowledge In addition to the three main domains, the NHA lists “Core Knowledge” that may be used in the context of questions on the exam. The core knowledge falls into three areas: Basic anatomy and physiology of the heart Emergencies related to cardiac testing Cardiopulmonary resuscitation and basic life support Overall, the NHA’s CET test plan includes all of the details on what your students need to know to pass the exam. On test day, students have two hours to complete the exam either at your school or a designated testing center. In most cases, the exam is taken via an online portal, but on occasion, a paper-based test is given. After testing is complete, the NHA posts the results on the student’s online account within two days. So now that you know the details of the NHA CET exam, there’s one question left: How do you prepare your students for the test? How Do You Prepare Your Students for the NHA CET Exam? There are many options out there for preparing students for certification exams, so finding the best one isn’t easy. Many instructors use test prep materials to prepare their students. The study guides and practice exams from the NHA are excellent tools to measure your students’ knowledge, but they don’t actually help you teach the information. That’s why we recommend a two-step approach when preparing your students for the NHA CET exam. First, you need to teach the foundational healthcare concepts and hands-on skills in your day-to-day lessons. Once your students know the information, it’s time to break out the test prep materials to help them review. The key to success is to seamlessly tie these two strategies together. Some teachers build their own curriculum by creating lessons, activities, and assessments from scratch. This is a great way to provide a tailor-made curriculum for your students, but it takes a lot of time to complete. That’s why health science instructors across the US have switched to a digital curriculum system that does the heavy lifting when it comes to teaching and test prep.
As a health science curriculum developer, we work with thousands of teachers who need to prepare their students for industry certifications every year. Many of these teachers are looking for ways to expand their offerings beyond medical assisting and CNA certifications. One of the most popular options teachers consider when expanding their programs is the NHA Billing and Coding Specialist Certification (CBCS). But did you know the NHA updated the CBCS exam in 2021? If you’re starting a new medical billing and coding program or are planning your courses for next school year, you need to know the latest certification details!