How to Prep Students for the CET Certification (Certified EKG Technician)

Last year I had 100% pass rate on the CET test.

Lynne Clarke
A. R. Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet, GA

EKG technicians have some of the most important jobs in a hospital.

By reading and recording heart data on patients, they help doctors understand what’s happening with a patient.

By extension, they also help that patient get an accurate diagnosis.

A keen eye combined with a CET certification lets an EKG technician save lives on a daily basis.

One of the hardest parts is getting certified to do that kind of work.

That’s why it’s so important to prep your students for EKG certifications — like the CET exam from NHA.

It may only be one test, but it could be the most important test your students take in their lives.

With that in mind, here are the five best ways you can prepare your students to pass the CET exam:

  1. Cover major EKG technician responsibilites
  2. Coordinate hands-on practice
  3. Teach notetaking
  4. Walk students through prep steps
  5. Help students learn long-term with digital curriculum

Now let's get into the details of each of these ideas!

1. Cover Major EKG Tech Responsibilities

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CETs are responsible for monitoring and recording information relayed by an electrocardiogram (EKG).

They have multiple minor responsibilities outside of that, but their main focus is that one machine.

The NHA mentions these EKG tech responsibilities specifically:

  • Set up and administer EKGs
  • Prep patients for Holter and ambulatory monitoring
  • Edit and deliver final test results for analysis
  • Transcribe physician notes
  • Schedule appointments

While the specifics of their job may differ depending on the employer, an EKG technician can expect a lot of consistency in their career since it’s so focused.

Students only have to worry about major technology changes to EKG machines or techniques in recording the information.

But both the equipment and tasks associated with EKGs are more or less set in stone.

Barring any significant breakthroughs in medical technology, an EKG technician won’t see their career change all that much — at least the core principles of it.

This makes CET certification perfect for students who like consistency in their lives. They’ll focus their careers on one major task, and that major task will be similar each day.

EKG technicians still have to know how to think on their feet and improvise.

But the core of their careers is solidly consistent.

2. Coordinate Hands-On Practice

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Because CET certification recipients mainly work with one piece of equipment, it’s crucial that they get as much experience on that equipment as possible.

You have a couple ways to get an EKG for hands-on practice.

First, you can get a machine with your classroom funding.

This could be a little difficult because health science funding isn’t always readily available (even though it should be).

Still, if you have the room in your budget, this is the easiest option.

If you don’t have the cash, you can try contacting medical businesses in your area.

Doctor’s offices, educational hospitals, and other companies are often willing to help students get their feet wet.

After all, everyone who works there was also a student of health science at some point. If anyone’s going to empathize with your students, it’ll be them!

Last, you could resort to crowdfunding to raise money for an EKG machine for your class.

Crowdfunding has really taken off in recent years, and there’s even a service fully dedicated to educators called PledgeCents.

With that, you can raise the funds you need from friends, colleagues, and other sympathizers throughout your area — even worldwide!

3. Teach Notetaking

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Notetaking is an essential part of working in the medical field, regardless of a student’s career trajectory.

Students need to learn how to take notes anyway — it plays a big role in education in general.

But once students get into health careers, those notes can save lives.

This may happen more often for nurses and responders, but EKG technicians are just as responsible for saving someone’s life, if the situation calls for it.

In that regard, students need to know how they can take down quick, concise notes that’ll make sense to medical professionals.

More importantly, they need to have notes that are legible so they can be transcribed into official charts and paperwork.

Sometimes, students push back against the idea of learning notetaking techniques. After all, why do you need to know how to freehand notes when you’ll almost always have charts and paperwork with you?

But the key word there is “almost.”

Teaching notetaking strategies means students will always be prepared to write down important patient information. They won’t miss a detail, and they won’t forget something important.

As long as they have a pen, they’ll always be ready to record information.

4. Walk Students Through Prep Steps

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Prepping students for the CET exam doesn’t just mean “studying.”

It means setting your students up for success in a clear, precise way that helps them retain information not only for the exam, but also for their entire careers.

Fortunately, you have a lot of ways you can do this.

You can always get actual test prep materials, like practice exams and study guides. But they don’t often last more than one use, and then you have to buy them again.

You can also learn about the exam itself and create your own test prep materials.

Third, you could turn EKG materials into review games, which are excellent reflection activities for all ages.

You’ll always be able to find practice and reinforcement opportunities online as well. Sometimes, they may come in the form of pre-made flashcards or student-made resources that are stored on educational websites with open communities.

(That may include social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest as well.)

Finally, you always have the option to ditch formalized test prep altogether. This requires you to spend more time on important areas of the CET certification, especially for practical EKG skills and relevant knowledge.

It also requires you to provide review, remediation, and reinforcement opportunities to your students so they have the best shot of passing their certification.

Still, there’s one final element you can add to your class to completely revamp how it works — even when it comes to CET test prep.

5. Help Students Learn Long-Term with Digital Curriculum

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A digital curriculum is designed to level the playing field in your classroom so students get the best opportunities to succeed.

It accomplishes this goal by giving you the versatility you need to try new teacher strategies, offer students help, automatically track student progress, and save you time all in one package.

Because you can do so much in one place, it also gives you the best chance of getting as many students as possible through the CET exam.

That’s not to say digital curriculum conflicts with other test prep strategies.

But once it’s used in a classroom, a digital curriculum makes learning more accessible for your students.

Do some of your students learn better by reading? Digital curriculum can do that.

Do some students learn better by doing activities? It can do that, too!

The list goes on and on.

In a nutshell, if you want to help your students achieve more, digital curriculum is the answer. 

Download the National Health Science Assessment Guide