Become a Sleep Technologist: Step-by-Step Career Guide
Learn how to become a sleep technologist. Research the education and career requirements, licensure and experience required for starting a career as a sleep technologist.
Do I Want to Be a Sleep Technologist?
Sleep technologists, often referred to as 'polysomnography technologists', perform sleep studies on patients suffering from sleeping disorders. These technologists' duties may include preparing rooms and patients for studies, monitoring patients as they sleep and recording results. Employment opportunities are available in sleep study centers and hospitals. Technologists may need to stand for long periods of time and might be required to perform heavy lifting.
Individuals interested in becoming a polysomnography technologist must either earn an associate's degree or complete a polysomnography training program. Certification through the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists is also required. The table below includes information from the American Association of Sleep Technologists about the requirements to become a sleep technologist.
|Degree Level||Associate's degree|
|Degree Field||Polysomnography technology|
|Certification||Certification from the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists required|
|Key Skills||Detail oriented and able to communicate with patients|
|Additional Skills||Ability to stand for long periods of time, crouch and lift 50 pounds|
Step 1: Complete a Training Program
Completing a Sleep Technology Approved Resource (STAR) Program prepares individuals for sleep technologist certification through an organized, self-study program. In addition to computer-based work, individuals complete 80 hours of lecture and clinical training. The program covers topics involving polysomnographic instrumentation and procedures, patient interaction and monitoring, sleep disorders, data analysis and reporting and equipment preparation.
Step 2: Earn an Associate's Degree
Although completing a STAR program is all that's required to work as a sleep technologist, employers might look for candidates with a college degree. An associate's degree in polysomnography combines academic coursework with a clinical component that prepare graduates to work as sleep technologists. In addition to general education requirements, students take courses in polysomnography instrumentation theory, clinical fundamentals of polysomnography, sleep disorders, therapeutic interventions and clinical patient management. Students complete the clinical portion of the program at a sleep center, where they work under the supervision of experienced sleep technologists.
- Learn how to communicate with patients. While completing the clinical portion of the program, pay close attention to how technologists instruct patients. Learn how to explain pre-test, testing and post-test procedures to ensure that patients understand laboratory protocols.
Step 3: Obtain Certification
Certification as a Registered Polysomnographic Technologist is available through the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (BRPT). Applicants must pass an examination to become certified. There are four pathways to become eligible for the exam, most of which require graduation from an accredited college degree program or approved STAR program and completion of a clinical work experience. This certification is necessary, and study guides and practice exams are available from the organization.
- Begin studying well in advance. The BRPT recommends that applicants begin studying for the exam at least six months prior to their testing date. Establishing a set time each week and studying with a partner may also be beneficial.
Related to Become a Sleep Technologist: Step-by-Step Career Guide
- Recently Updated
It's National Sleep Awareness week. With the impending switch to Daylight Saving Time, when most of the country loses an hour...
For many students, college life means piles of stress unlike any faced before. Classes, dorms, social obligations: to say it's...
Sleep technicians, better known as polysomnographic technologists, monitor sleep disorders such as narcolepsy, insomnia and...
Most people have a perception of med school that includes countless hours of lectures, lab work and studying without much sleep...
- Cardiopulmonary Careers: Job Options and Requirements
- How to Become a Sleep Technician in the U.S.
- Registered Polysomnographic Technologist: Training & Career Info
- Management Information Systems (MIS) Certificate: Program Overview
- Administrative Office Technology Certificate: Program Overview
- Fashion Merchandising Certificate: Program Overview
- Bachelor of Science (BS): Programming Degree Overview