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Schools for Aspiring Polysomnographic Technologists and Technicians

Polysomnography is the study and diagnosis of sleep disorders through observation and clinical testing. Polysomnographic technicians hold entry-level positions in the field, while technologists have greater responsibility and may supervise other workers. Aspiring polysomnographic technologists and technicians can enroll in accredited certificate and associate degree programs to become certified by the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (BRPT).

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How to Select a Polysomnographic Technologist and Technician School

Programs in polysomnography are typically found at community colleges and technical schools.

Summary of Important Considerations

  • Admission requirements
  • Program type and time commitments
  • Hands-on training opportunities

Admission Requirements

Some polysomnography certificate programs are designed for people who already hold associate or bachelor's degrees in health care but now want to switch fields and enter polysomnography. Students without prior health training may consider entry-level certificate or associate degree programs in polysomnographic technology in order to become certified by the BRPT. Additional requirements may apply to certain programs, such as CPR certification or polysomnographic observation prior to enrollment.

Program Type and Time Commitments

Certificate programs, which are shorter and more vocationally oriented than are associate programs, may appeal to students interested in entering the workforce quickly. A broader education is available through associate degree programs, which combine vocational preparation, general education coursework, and development of practical skills such as information interpretation and research methods. Distance education opportunities, such as online or hybrid programs, could appeal to students currently working as health professionals. Some programs may require overnight clinical experiences that could pose difficulties for full-time employees.

Hands-On Training Opportunities

Schools with extensive clinical facilities may offer students more observational and hands-on experience opportunities. Students may also consider the on-campus availability of monitoring devices which measure respiration, brain activity and eye movement. Some programs include training in such devices in their curricula, while others do not offer on-campus access to equipment.

Polysomnographic Technologist and Technician Program Overviews

Certificate in Polysomnographic Technology

Certificate programs for aspiring polysomnographic technologists and technicians are available for students with no prior health care experience. Clinical experiences are typically mandatory. Programs can usually be completed within a year. Coursework may include:

  • Pharmacology
  • Cardiology
  • Respiratory care
  • Sleep disorders
  • Patient care procedures

Certificate in Polysomnographic Technology for Health Care Professionals

Those who already work in other health care fields can pursue polysomnography certificate programs designed for credentialed professionals. Such programs do not cover basic medical terminology and patient care techniques, but include clinical training and courses in:

  • Neurophysiology
  • Sleep disorders
  • Polysomnographic techniques

Associate of Science in Polysomnographic Technology

Associate degree programs for aspiring polysomnographic technologists and technicians are 2-year programs that include general education requirements and clinical experiences. The curriculum may include more specialization in certain areas than certificate programs do, such as respiratory care or infant or pediatric polysomnography. Coursework can include:

  • Medical terminology
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Sleep disorders
  • Anatomy and physiology
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