Should I Become an EEG Technician?
An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a specialized medical device that records the electrical activity of brainwaves onto a graph or a computer. Doctors use this information to diagnose and treat conditions such as seizure disorders, brain tumors, and strokes. An EEG test is one of six neurodiagnostic procedures that are administered by an electroneurodiagnostic (END) technician or technologist. Others tests include nerve conduction studies and polysomnograms.
Diagnostic medical technicians, such as EEG technicians, work in medical care settings such as private doctors' offices and hospitals. Most work full-time and those that are employed by 24-hour care centers, like hospitals, may need to work nights or weekends. Technicians must be physically able to assist and position patients and the job requires long hours, the majority of which are spent standing or walking. Technicians may be exposed to infectious diseases with direct patient contact.
|Degree Level||Associate's degree|
|Degree Field||Electroneurodiagnostic (END) technology|
|Licensure and/or Certification||Certification needed from ABRET to become a registered EEG technician, CPR certification|
|Experience||Two years of experience needed to become a registered EEG technician|
|Key Skills||Critical thinking, manual dexterity, desire to work with patients, good communication skills, patient monitoring training in case of medical emergency, ability to operate and maintain EEG equipment, apply electrodes to a patient's head|
|Salary (2015)||$39,034 yearly (median for all EEG technicians)|
Sources: American Association of Electrodiagnostic Technologists (AAET), American Board of Registration of Electroencephalographic and Evoked Potential Technologists (ABRET), Florida Area Health Education Centers Network, PayScale.com
Step 1: Obtain an Associate's Degree in Electroneurodiagnostic Technology
Individuals interested in becoming a registered EEG technician need to complete an associate's degree program in END Technology, which includes specialized courses in EEG technology. General courses in an associate's degree program include physiology, anatomy, medical terminology and patient care skills. Core courses focus on the various neurodiagnostic procedures and on clinical work obtained through an internship, laboratory session or other training activity.
Additionally, advanced certificate programs are available for individuals who have already earned an associate's degree in another area. These programs allow for specialization and training in the clinical process and in EEG fundamentals. Both programs may be primarily found at community colleges and at trade and technical schools.
Step 2: Gain Experience
Jobs for electroneurodiagnostic technicians and technologists are available in hospitals, diagnostic centers and healthcare provider services. Along with an associate's degree, some employers in October 2012 sought applicants with strong leadership skills, experience with certain types of EEG equipment and the ability to work independently.
Employers also sought applicants trained in seizure monitoring and CPR. Applicants may be required to obtain professional registration within a year of hire. Applicants without two years of college-level neurodiagnostic training may need to complete about 1,000 EEG procedures to be eligible for hire.
Step 3: Gain Professional Credentials
The American Board of Registration for Electrocephalographic and Evoked Potential Technologists (ABRET) offers a credentialing process to become a Registered EEG Technologist. Certification requires having at least one year of experience and passing an exam. The American Association of Electrodiagnostic Technologists and the American Association of Electroneurodiagnostic Technicians also offer certification exams for EEG technicians.
Becoming a registered EEG technician demonstrates an individual's competency and knowledge in this specialty. It also may improve employment opportunities.
- Seek continuing education opportunities. Professional industry organizations provide opportunities to continue your education in this field. With continuing education and experience, individuals may pursue supervisory or management positions or seek opportunities with other employers.