Polysomnographic Technician Education Requirements and Career Info

Polysomnographic technicians require little formal education. Learn about the related education, job duties and credentialing opportunities to see if this is the right career for you.

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Polysomnography involves recording physical characteristics such as brain waves and breathing during sleep. Because of the quantity and complexity of machinery required for this test, physicians need the assistance of a polysomnographic technician. Technician positions may require an associate's degree or certificate, or training may be provided upon employment.

Essential Information

Polysomnographic technicians aid physicians in diagnosing and treating sleep disorders. Only a high school diploma may be required to enter into this field; however, those who acquire certificates or associate's degrees will have the best opportunities. In addition, many employers prefer to hire certified polysomnographic technicians.

Required Education A high school diploma; employers may prefer a certificate or associate's degree in polysomnography technology
Other Requirements Voluntary certification can lead to better job prospects
Projected Job Growth 16% from 2014-2024 (health technologists and technicians)*
Median Annual Salary (2016) $43,746 (polysomnographic technicians)**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

Polysomnographic Technician Overview

Polysomnographic technicians assist physicians in performing sleep studies to diagnose and find treatment options for disorders such as interrupted sleep, insomnia and sleep apnea. Their job duties include creating polysomnograms, measuring electrical brain waves and other variables, collecting and delivering specimens for analysis and conducting routine patient evaluations. They're also responsible for calibrating and adjusting equipment, scoring sleep tests and documenting test results.

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Educational Requirements

In some facilities, the only credential required to become a polysomnographic technician is a high school diploma or equivalent (GED certificate). Individuals who acquire a Certificate of Polysomnographic Technology or an Associate of Applied Science in Polysomnography may have better opportunities available to them in the polysomnographic workforce. The course topics covered in a polysomnography education program may include cardiovascular diagnosis and treatment, patient evaluations, pharmacology, respiratory care techniques, cardiopulmonary physiology and polysomnography instrumentation.

Individuals who enter into the field of polysomnography might choose to become registered polysomnographic technologists (RPSGTs). After becoming fully trained in sleep technology, a prospective RPSGT must pass an exam conducted by the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (www.brpt.org). The exam covers a variety of topics in sleep medicine, testing and therapies.

Career Information

Polysomnographic technicians and technologists typically find employment at sleep facilities, hospitals and private clinics. If polysomnographic technicians choose to further their education in the field, they may advance to higher ranking positions within a sleep lab or facility, such as polysomnographic trainer or team leader.

Becoming a technician may not require much education, but some of these professionals may want to increase their career prospects by earning a certificate or associate's degree. Graduates of these programs may consider voluntary certification, which requires completion of an exam.

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