Sleep Therapy Technician: Career Info and Education Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a sleep therapy technician. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about possible degrees, job duties, certification and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

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Sleep therapy technicians work under the supervision of a doctor, diagnosing and treating patients with sleep disorders. Although some employers prefer applicants with a certificate or associate's degree in polysomnography, it may be possible to begin a career as a sleep therapy technician with a high school diploma. Education requirements vary, and some states require sleep therapy technicians to be licensed.

Essential Information

Sleep therapy technicians help patients with sleeping problems in hospitals and other medical settings. Although they work under the supervision of a doctor, sleep therapy technicians assume the main duties of treating and diagnosing problems interfering with sleep. The educational requirements for this career can vary from a high school diploma to an associate's degree. Some states require licensure, and employers may prefer those certified by the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists.

Required Education High school diploma or a certificate or associate's degree in polysomnography
Other Requirements Some states require licensure
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 18% (medical and clinical lab technicians)
Median Salary (May 2015)* $38,970 annually (medical and clinical lab technicians)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Information

Sleep therapy technicians meet with patients and discuss the problems they have with sleeping. After an assessment is completed, the sleep therapy technician performs a brief examination on the patient and begins the testing process. Tests can involve taking blood samples, examining lung capacity, checking a patient's family medical history and keeping a patient overnight and observing their sleep patterns. Depending on the problem, a sleep therapy technician can begin rehabilitation or treatment that involves breathing exercises, medications or use of a special device while sleeping. The work schedules of sleep therapy technicians can vary greatly. Working nights and weekends may be necessary, since these businesses often operate around the clock.

Education Requirements

The exact education requirements for a sleep therapy technician can vary. Most employers require at least a high school diploma, though completion of a postsecondary polysomnography program may be necessary. These programs are available at medical schools, community colleges and universities, and the curricula typically cover anatomy and physiology, sleep disorders, technical instruments and therapeutic techniques. Clinical experiences are often required as well.

Some employers prefer job applicants who are certified through the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (BRPT), and licensure is required in some states. To qualify for BRPT certification as either a polysomnographic technician or technologist, individuals must have a certain amount of clinical experience and CPR certification. Successful completion of an exam is also required.

Sleep therapy technicians work under the supervision of a doctor to help patients with sleep disorders, and they typically work in hospitals or medical centers. Since the education requirements vary widely, it is important to check state and employer requirements. Education requirements can range from a high school diploma to an associate's degree, and licensure and certification may also be needed.

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