Polysomnographer Assistant: Job Duties and Career Requirements

Mar 22, 2019

Learn what polysomnographer assistants do to help people with sleep disorders. See the education requirements for the job, and get details about career prospects and earning potential.

Career Definition for a Polysomnographic Assistant

A polysomnographic assistant - sometimes called 'trainee' - works with a team of polysomnographic professionals, including polysomnographic technologists and technicians, to prepare patients with sleep disorders for testing in a laboratory. A polysomnographic assistant may be responsible for explaining procedures to family members, recording data for others to interpret, and maintaining testing equipment. This is an entry-level job in the growing field of polysomnography.

Education High school diploma, professional experience
Job Skills Strong communication, basic math, professional demeanor, overnight shifts
Median Salary (2018)* $55,768 for a polysomnographic technician
Job Growth (2016-2026)** 20% (health technologists and technicians, all other)

Source: *Salary.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Currently, no education beyond a high school diploma is required for a job as a polysomnographic assistant; however, some employers may require experience working with patients in a professional setting or enrollment in short training courses provided by the employing company. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that the field of polysomnography is growing rapidly; therefore, requirements for employment are changing as competition for jobs increases.

Required Skills

Those wishing to be employed as a polysomnographic assistant must possess strong communication skills both oral and written, a basic understanding of mathematics, and the ability to greet patients and family members with a professional demeanor. The ability to work overnight shifts is also required.

Career and Economic Outlook

As is true in many fields, experience working in polysomnography greatly affects the earnings of a polysomnographic professional. According to Salary.com, the median annual salary for a polysomnographic technician was $55,768 in 2018; it stands to reason that assistants and trainees in the field would make less money than certified technicians. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected a 20% growth for health technologists and technicians not listed separately (including polysomnographic technicians) for 2016-2026.

Alternate Career Options

Listed in this section are some alternate options in the field of diagnostic imaging:

Cardiology Technologist

Cardiology technologists perform noninvasive tests (such as an echocardiogram or EKG) intended to measure the heart's performance and diagnose cardiac conditions such as illness or disease; they also assist doctors in performing invasive tests (such as cardiac catheterization) designed to achieve the same goals. Preparation for this career generally includes completion of a 2- or 4-year degree program; additional on-the-job training is also common. Voluntary certification is available. Cardiology technologists, counted by the BLS along with cardiovascular technologists and technicians and vascular technologists in general, can expect 10% job growth from 2016-2026. The agency also reports that cardiovascular technologists and technicians earned median pay of $55,270 in 2017.

Medical Laboratory Technician

Medical laboratory technicians collect samples and carry out lab tests under the supervision of medical lab technologists or lab managers. They may examine samples or slides, set up and maintain lab instruments, and analyze and report findings. An associate's degree with an emphasis on clinical science generally prepares aspiring medical laboratory technicians for employment; in some cases, state licensing is also required. Jobs are expected to increase by 14% from 2016-2026, according to BLS. The median salary for medical and clinical lab technicians and technologists was $51,770 in 2017, per the BLS.

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