An electroencephalograph (EEG) is a recording of the electrical activity of the brain and nervous system. An EEG technician is an individual with knowledge of the equipment that is used to measure and record that activity. The title of EEG technician has largely been replaced today by the title electroneurodiagnostic (END) technologist. Those interested in this field often pursue a certificate, diploma, or associate's degree.
END technologists typically hold an associate's degree in the field of electroneurodiagnostic technology. Students need only a high school diploma or GED, CPR certification, and good written and oral communication skills in order to enroll. In these training programs, students complete one year of study that leads to either a diploma or Certificate of Completion, depending on the institution. A second year of study results in an associate's degree.
In addition to general education courses in English composition, mathematics, and science, these programs combine classroom courses in topics such as anatomy, human disease, and neuroscience with hands-on clinical experience. Students are trained to perform electroencephalograms (tests for evoked potentials from the central nervous system), nerve conduction velocity tests (checks for nerve damage), and transcranial Doppler testing (measures the velocity of blood flow through the brain). Some END technologists choose to specialize in polysomnography, or the monitoring of brain activity in sleeping patients. They summarize the data and present it to sleep physicians, who diagnose and prescribe treatments.
EEG Technician Degree Programs
Although a certificate or diploma can qualify an individual for employment and entrance into a hospital's END training program, an associate's degree is generally preferred. Both 1-year certificate programs and 2-year degree programs in END include technical courses. However, additional field-specific courses and general education courses are required for an associate degree. Class work and clinicals are a part of both types of programs. Classes include:
- Biomedical terminology
- Basic instrument methodology
- Anatomy and physiology
- Intercultural communication
Popular Career Options
Graduates are qualified for a number of employment roles, including:
- Registered Electroencephalographic Technologist
- Registered Evoked Potential Technologist
- Registered Nerve Conduction Studies Technologist
- Registered Polysomnographic Technologist
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities for medical and clinical laboratory technologists, a category which includes END technologists, are projected to increase 14% over 2014-2024, which is faster than the national average for all occupations. Although private practices and companies provide some employment in the field, the largest demand for END technologists exists in hospitals.
The BLS states that the median annual salary for health technologists and technicians was $41,260, as of May 2015.
Continuing Education Information
After working 2-3 years as an END technologist, individuals are eligible to sit for an appropriate credentialing examination, which is required by most employers. Examinations are administered by the American Board of Registration of Electroencephalographic and Evoked Potential Technologists, the American Association of Electrodiagnostic Technologists and the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists. Once they have received one of these certifications, individuals may then sit for the certification examination to become a registered neurophysiologic intraoperative monitoring technologist.
EEG technician training can be earned as either a certificate program or associate's degree, teaching students how to record brain activity using a variety of medical equipment. There are many jobs a graduate could pursue, as well as certification after gaining enough experience.