Schools for Aspiring Polysomnographic Technologists and Technicians
Polysomnography is the study and diagnosis of sleep disorders through observation and clinical testing. Polysomnographic technicians hold entry-level positions in the field, while technologists have greater responsibility and may supervise other workers. Aspiring polysomnography technologists and technicians can enroll in accredited certificate and associate degree programs to become certified by the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (BRPT).
How to Select a Polysomnographic Technologist and Technician School
Some polysomnography certificate programs are designed for people who already hold associate or bachelor's degrees in health care but now want to switch fields and enter polysomnography. Students without prior health training may consider entry-level certificate or associate degree programs in polysomnographic technology in order to become certified by the BRPT. Additional requirements may apply to certain programs, such as CPR certification or polysomnographic observation prior to enrollment.
Certificate programs, which are shorter and more vocationally oriented than associate programs, may be appealing to students interested in entering the workforce quickly. A broader education is available through associate degree programs, which combine vocational preparation, general education coursework, and development of practical skills such as information interpretation and research methods. Distance education opportunities, such as online or hybrid programs, could appeal to students currently working as health professionals. Some programs may require overnight clinical experiences that could pose difficulties for full-time employees.
Schools with extensive clinical facilities may offer students more observational and hands-on opportunities. Students may also consider the on-campus availability of monitoring devices which measure respiration, brain activity and eye movement. Some programs include training in such devices in their curricula, while others do not offer on-campus access to equipment.
Polysomnographic Technologist and Technician Program Overviews
Certificate in Polysomnographic Technology
Certificate programs for aspiring polysomnographic technologists and technicians are available for students with no prior health care experience. Coursework may include pharmacology, cardiology, respiratory care and sleep disorder study as well as general patient care procedures. Clinical experiences are typically mandatory. Programs can usually be completed within a year.
Certificate in Polysomnographic Technology for Health Care Professionals
Those who already work in other health care fields can pursue polysomnography certificate programs designed for credentialed professionals. Such programs include courses on neurophysiology, sleep disorders and polysomnographic techniques, but do not cover basic medical terminology and patient care techniques.
Associate of Science in Polysomnographic Technology
Associate degree programs for aspiring polysomnographic technologists and technicians are 2-year programs including general education requirements and clinical experiences. Curriculum may include more specialization in certain areas than certificate programs, such as respiratory care or experience with infant or pediatric polysomnography. Coursework can include medical terminology, neuroanatomy, sleep disorders, anatomy and physiology.
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