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Polysomnographic Technician Job Description, Career as a Polysomnographic Technician, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training State board certification

Average Salary $51,000 per year

Job Outlook Very good

Basic Job Description

A polysomnographic technician works under the supervision of a polysomnographic technologist. They perform tests and procedures that test the brain waves and functions on sleep patients to perform studies and determine why they are having trouble sleeping through the night. They will review patient medical history and document their sleep issues, and keep records of patient progress. They will also explain to patients the nature of procedures that will be performed on them and prepare them for the procedures. They will attach equipment to their bodies and make sure the patient is comfortable before sleeping. Technicians will also keep a regular eye on the effectiveness of the equipment during a study to make sure everything is working properly.

Education and Training Requirements

In order to become a polysomnographic technician, students will have to complete at least a one year program at an accredited school for education in polysomnography. Once the program is completed, students must test to become certified through a state administered examination. Once the certification is obtained, students are qualified to practice as a polysomnographic technician.

In most states, students studying to become a polysomnographic technician are required to work under an already certified technician for a certain number of hours before being qualified to take the exam. Due to this hands-on experience, most technicians are ready to get right into the field after becoming certified.

Getting the Job

Polysomnographic technicians first must be licensed to work in the field of polysomnography in the state they are applying for jobs. They must have completed some hands-on training under the supervision of a licensed polysomnographic technician and understand how the office as a whole operates.

Polysomnographic technicians need strong communication skills so they can properly observe patients symptoms and communicate with them about their progress. Technicians must demonstrate that they have good physical strength, as they may have to assist in lifting patients from one bed to another or operate and set up heavy machinery.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

Most technicians start off working for a private sleep clinic and assisting the technologist or doctor in observing a patient’s progress and setting them up for observation. After awhile, a technician can advance in a clinic by becoming head technician and leading the department by scheduling shifts and duties and training new technicians who are working as interns to become licensed.

Employment outlook for polysomnographic technicians is continually on the rise as more and more technology is coming out to help determine what causes sleep disorders. Some cities have statistically shown a higher demand for workers in the polysomnography field, as they have a higher number of residents with sleep disorders due to environment or living conditions.

Working Conditions and Environment

Polysomnographic technicians spend most of their time working in a sleep clinic under the supervision of a polysomnographic technologist or doctor. They spend a lot of time communicating with patients and observing results of tests being performed as they sleep. When they are not observing patients, they are usually filling out patient paperwork, scheduling treatment programs and plans for patients, recording their progress into medical charts, and reporting the developments of a study to the head doctor in charge of the clinic. They will also perform other duties at the command of the doctor in charge.

Technicians will also be working with patients who are suffering disabilities or mental illnesses, and must be comfortable assisting them in and out of bed and with equipment procedures. Some patients may suffer pain while sleeping, so technicians must know how to properly handle and assist a patient who is experiencing difficulties.

Salary and Benefits

The average starting salary for a polysomnographic technician is about $51,000 per year. The location and size of the clinic a technician works for are big factors in determination of their salary. If a technician is promoted to the head of the department where they are in charge of other technicians duties as well and training new employees, there is opportunity for a larger salary. Most technicians who work for a clinic or hospital will also receive a benefits package that includes full health insurance, vacation time and sick leave. The more experience a technician gains, the more benefits they will get with their job as well as more opportunity for salary growth.

Where to Go for More Information

American Association of Sleep Technologists
One Westbrook Corporate Center, Suite 920
Westchester, IL 60154
(708) 492-0796

Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists
8400 Westpark Drive
McLean, VA
(703) 610-9020

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