How to Become a Sleep Technician in the U.S.

Learn how to become a sleep technician. Research the job duties and the education and licensing requirements and find out how to start a career in polysomnography.

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Do I Want to Be a Sleep Technician?

Sleep technicians are trained to use special equipment that monitors patients' sleep patterns. Technicians work under the supervision of a licensed sleep technologist to study sleep patterns and disorders. The need to work night shifts is very common in this profession.

Job Requirements

They complete a year-long training program or complete a minimum of six months as a sleep trainee. These positions may require a state-issued license. The following table contains the core requirements listed by the American Association of Sleep Technologists for this career:

Common Requirements
Degree Level Certificate
Degree Field Polysomnography
Experience Six months training in lieu of certificate
Key Skills Communication skills, social skills
Technical Skills Positive airway pressure (PAP) mask
Licensure and Certification Some states require a license; CPR or BCLS certification required

Step 1 - Complete a Training Program

The training program for sleep technicians lasts for a year or more and students learn how to use equipment commonly used during sleep studies including the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and electroencephalogram (EEG). Students learn how to monitor patients' breathing and brain patterns while the patients sleep. Students may also be required to complete an internship at a sleep lab. Some schools offer the Accredited Sleep Technologist Education Program (A-STEP) program developed by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), an acceptable program for licensing. Some individuals can be employed as sleep trainees while participating in an A-STEP training program.

Success Tip

  • Become certified in life-saving techniques. Sleep technicians are required to be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or basic cardiac life support (BCLS). The training program may not include lifesaving certification and students will have to pursue additional coursework for CPR or BCLS training.

Step 2 - Obtain a License

Licensing laws regarding sleep technicians vary from state to state. Some states require that technicians have a license. To become licensed, individuals may be required to submit proof of education and pass an exam. In some cases, temporary licenses may be issued for technicians. Licenses have to be renewed on a regular basis, depending on the state and type of license.

Step 3 - Become Certified

Upon completion of an accredited polysomnography program, sleep technicians become eligible to be certified by the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists as a Certified Polysomnographic Technician (CPSGT). Eligible candidates must be able to successfully pass an exam. The certification lasts for three years. Alternatively, individuals that have completed a minimum number of clinical hours in conjunction with didactic training may also become eligible to take the exam. Certification is not mandatory for employment.

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