We all have a bad nights sleep once in a while.
But, there are many people that struggle to sleep much more frequently which can cause long-term health effects. These people need specialized help to not only find out the issue, but to find a resolve to help them sleep again.
That is where a sleep technologist (also called a polysomnography technologist) comes in.
This article will guide you through each step of the process to become a sleep technologist and offer some insight into what to expect if you decide to pursue this career.
– Sleep technologists assist in the diagnosing and treating sleep disorders by monitoring sleeping patterns and collecting data to identify underlying health issues.
– An accredited polysomnography program and participation in clinical rotations or internships is required .
– The job outlook and salaries are very strong.
What Is A Sleep Technologist (Polysomnography Technologist)
Sleep technologists are healthcare professionals who specialize in diagnosing and treating sleep disorders. They work with patients to develop a treatment plan that helps them get better sleep, so they can live healthier lives.
The role involves evaluating patient’s medical history and using various diagnostic techniques to determine what type of sleep disorder they’re dealing with.
Some of responsibilities might include:
- Score the polysomnogram and generate report summarizing sleep/wake periods, REM episodes, arousal analysis, EEG phenomena, cardiac or respiratory events, and other physiological events according to current guidelines.
- Perform overnight diagnostics for things like CPAP and BiPAP titrations, sleep latency tests, ASV, and more.
- Clean and sterilize equipment.
- Hook patients up to various monitoring equipment like electrodes.
- Review sleep studies performed with doctors and staff.
How To Become A Sterile Processing Technician
The path to becoming a technician is fairly easy. Below are the recommended steps to get started.
High School Diploma or GED
A high school diploma or GED is required.
Attending an accredited program that in Polysommographic technology.
Once you complete a training program you can then take the exam to get your Registered Polysomnographic Technologist (RPSGT) certification.
Start Your Career
Once you have completed your education and receive your certification you can start looking for employment.
You will need to take a program that will prepare them to sit for the board certification exam to become a registered polysomographic technologist.
The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs offers a list of accredited polysomnographic programs here.
Programs can be in-person or online self-study program depending on the school you choose to attend.
- Some of the types of courses you can expect to take include:
- Medical Terminology
- Anatomy and Physioligy
- Introduction to Polysomnography
- Sleep Patient Intake
- Clinical Observation
- Basic EKG
- Sleep Staging and Scoring
- Airway Pressure Techniques
Clinical rotations are often part of the program as well so you can learn hands-on skills. These can be held on overnight shifts or during the day.
Most programs are approximately 1-2 years in length and can cost up to $5,000 to attend. Costs vary greatly based on program specifics and location, but this is a more affordable career option for those with limited funds.
Once you complete the program, you can then apply to take the certification exam.
Clinical Rotations and Internships
During clinical rotations and internships, you’ll have the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience with patients under the supervision of experienced professionals. To make the most out of this experience, make sure to find opportunities that align with your interests and career goals.
Here are three common responsibilities that you can expect during your clinical rotations and internships:
1. Conducting patient assessments: You’ll be trained to conduct initial patient assessments by taking their medical history, evaluating their symptoms, and discussing potential treatment options.
2. Performing diagnostic tests: You’ll also learn how to conduct various diagnostic tests such as polysomnography (PSG), multiple sleep latency test (MSLT), and maintenance of wakefulness test (MWT).
3. Analyzing test results: After conducting these tests, you’ll be responsible for analyzing the results and presenting them to supervising physicians or other healthcare professionals involved in the patient’s care plan.
By completing clinical rotations and internships, you’ll not only improve your technical skills but also develop effective communication techniques when dealing with patients.
Continuing Education and Professional Development
Continuing education is crucial for to stay up-to-date with the latest techniques and technologies. This field is constantly evolving, and keeping up with the latest advancements can help you provide better care for your patients.
Online courses are a great way to further your education without disrupting your work schedule.
In addition to taking online courses, certification options are also available for to further their professional development. Certification demonstrates your commitment to excellence and can increase your credibility among colleagues and employers.
The Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (BRPT) offers two certification options: the Registered Polysomnographic Technologist (RPSGT) credential and the Sleep Disorders Specialist (SDS) credential. To be eligible for these certifications, candidates must meet certain educational requirements and pass an exam that covers various aspects of sleep technology practice.
Not all states have licensing requirements, but those that do will typically require you earn your Registered Polysomnographic Technologist (RPSGT) certification.
You can check with the school you plan on attending to see if they can help you understand what you need to get started. You can also view this list of state boards that govern licensing and reach out to them for more information.
Find And Prepare For A Job
So, you got your certificate of completion, congratulations.
Some schools might offer job-placement opportunities, so definitely check their first. If they do not, then below are some other resources for you to land your dream job.
- Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists Career Center
- Visit local hospital websites and look for the career section
- Research local sleep centers and send in your resume
- Google offers a lot of aggregated sleep technician jobs and you can even setup an alert.
- Networking events
Also be sure to add yourself to LinkedIn if you are not already there and keep your profile updated! Add in your credentials, skills, and experience so recruiters in the healthcare industry can find you.
Joining professional organizations such as the American Association of Sleep Technologists (AAST) provides access to resources and contacts that could help lead to employment.
As a beginner you may make considerably less than more experienced workers, but generally speaking, wages for this job are very good. With most jobs you will also receive a very good benefits package which is very valuable to have these days.
AAST shows sleep technology professionals earning just over $50,000 annually in the Unites States.
To maximize your earning potential you can do some of the following:
- Obtaining as many professional certifications you can
- Gain more experience
- Consider jobs in metropolitan areas compared to rural locations
- Working in a hospital may pay more than a doctors office or clinic
- Consider becoming a traveling technician
There does not seem to be any official statistics from reputable sources on future demand for this career.
Sleep technologists can find work in private clinics or hospitals, as well as research facilities or laboratories. They may also have the opportunity to teach courses on how to improve one’s quality of sleep at universities or medical schools.
Those who specialize in certain areas such as pediatric sleep medicine could even open up their own practice if they so choose. No matter what path you take, having certification from a recognized organization such as the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technicians (BRPT) can provide added credibility when it comes time to apply for positions.
With the current need for trained specialists rising each year, becoming a sleep technologist provides many exciting career prospects and potential rewards both professionally and financially. It’s a unique role with lots of room for personal growth and development that anyone interested in helping individuals get better rest should consider exploring further.