ER Tech Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

An ER Tech, or Emergency Room Technician, is responsible for working closely with Doctors and Nurses to help patients receive immediate medical treatment. Their duties include monitoring a patient’s vital signs, including blood pressure and heart rate, updating loved ones’ on the patient’s condition and assisting Doctors and Nurses during procedures (e.g. removing objects from the skin, or wrapping and stitching wounds).

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ER Tech Duties and Responsibilities

An ER Tech’s responsibilities may vary slightly, but they generally include the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Work with doctors and nurses and provide technical support for patient care.
  • Clean and stock rooms and carts with appropriate medical supplies and equipment. Change linen as necessary.
  • Transport patients to other departments in the hospital.
  • Help with resuscitation/CPR and emergency airway procedures.
  • Obtain and document a patient’s vital signs, as well as assist with placement of oxygen saturation, blood pressure monitoring and cardiac monitoring.
  • Collect blood samples, tissue or other laboratory specimens, preparing them for testing.
  • Assist with positioning patients, applying orthopedic dressing and splints.
  • Measuring and fitting canes and crutches and teaching patients how to use them.
  • Assisting with administrative duties such as patient transfers and discharges.
  • Making sure that the correct documentation is filled out.

What Does an ER Tech Do?

ER Techs typically work in the emergency room department of a hospital to provide support to medical teams and their patients. They use their medical knowledge to start IV lines and make patients feel comfortable and reassured. Their job is to talk with patients to record their medical history and current symptoms. They help the medical team gather supplies and other items needed to treat a particular patient. They may also need to get samples from patients to assist in diagnosing their ailments.

ER Tech Skills and Qualifications

A good ER Tech must have a blend of hard and soft-skills including the following:

  • Excellent communication skills. Communication skills are vital in the emergency room. An ER Tech needs to be able to speak to and understand directions from doctors and nurses. They also need to be able to talk to scared patients and their worried family members in an empathic way. 
  • Ability to work under pressure. An emergency room is a highly pressurized place, a good ER Tech has to be able to work under pressure in this fast-paced environment and, at the same time, stay focused, organized and keep their cool.  
  • Be a team player. Saving a patient’s life is a team effort and ER Techs need to work with surgeons, doctors and nurses to make it happen. 
  • Exhibit compassion. Before and after procedures, an ER Tech needs to show compassion for patients and communicate with them in a kind manner.
  • Flexibility. An ER Tech must be flexible and available to work shifts on weekends, public holidays and after regular hours. 

ER Tech Salary Expectations

On average, an ER Techs salary expectation is $29.46 per hour. This salary estimate is from 1,080 data points collected from employees, users and Indeed job posts over the past 36 months. It is based on an ER Tech having 1 to 3 years of experience. 

ER Tech Education and Training Requirements

To start a career as an ER Tech, a candidate needs some sort of medical training, often achieved by completing an EMT or certified nursing assistant course. Hospitals will often provide on the job training to candidates with EMT or CNA designation. These courses cover topics such as anatomy, phlebotomy, physiology, medical terminology, reading EKGs and inserting IVs and catheters. There are also other occupational training programs available through community colleges or vocational-technical institutes to help prepare a candidate for this position. In addition, an ER Tech must have a current cardiopulmonary resuscitation certificate. 

ER Tech Experience Requirements

Depending on the specific position, experience requirements may vary. But, generally, an ER Tech will need to have at least 1 year or more of relevant experience. 

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Frequently asked questions about ER Techs

 

What is the difference between an ER Tech and an ER Nurse?

The difference between an ER Tech and an ER Nurse lies in their scope of responsibility and qualifications. For example, ER Techs typically need at least a high school diploma and certification or an associate degree to work as a CNA or EMT. In contrast, ER Nurses need to complete either an associate degree in nursing or a bachelor’s degree in nursing before completing the national licensing exam to become a Registered Nurse. ER Nurses have more seniority than ER Techs because of their additional education and licensure. 

Further, ER Techs and ER Nurses can both perform a lot of the same tasks to care for patients, but ER Nurses are the ones who have the authority to identify which methods to use when treating a patient. ER Techs then perform tasks based on the recommendations of ER Nurses.

 

What are the daily duties of an ER Tech?

On a typical day, ER Techs encounter a variety of situations, including broken bones, allergic reactions, trauma wounds and illnesses. They visit with each patient in the ER to record their symptoms, medical histories and contact information. They also check and monitor their vital signs to ensure their stability. They receive instructions from ER Nurses and Doctors. ER Techs also meet with families in the waiting room to talk to them about their loved one’s progress.

 

What qualities make a good ER Tech?

A good ER Tech is someone who thrives in a team environment. This quality enables them to provide a supportive role to medical professionals and their patients. An ER Tech should have a personable nature that makes patients feel comforted and well-taken-care-of. Further, a good ER Tech has a desire to learn which contributes to their continued education initiatives. By participating in relevant courses and certification programs, ER Techs can maximize their skill sets to best treat their patients. They should also be physically fit, which enables them to help lift patients and stand for extended periods.

 

Who does an ER Tech report to?

ER Techs typically report directly to ER Nurses for questions and instructions, but they may also report to an ER Doctor if a Nurse isn’t present. They usually report to them to receive approval to complete specific tasks like administering medication. They also report to ER Doctors or Nurses when a patient begins experiencing new or troubling symptoms.

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