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Health Professions: Polysomnography

Frequently Asked Questions
yawning child

 

 

Know the Facts - Frequently Asked Questions

 

WHAT IS POLYSOMNOGRAPHY?

Polysomnography is defined as a diagnostic test during which a number of physiologic variables are measured and recorded during sleep. Specifically, this diagnostic test captures the simultaneous recording of the electrical activity of the brain (EEG), eye movements (EOG), skeletal muscle activation (EMG), and heart rhythm (ECG/EKG). This profession is used to diagnose many types of sleep disorders including narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, REM behavior disorder, parasomnias, and sleep apnea. In summary, it is a sleep study that involves recording brain waves for assessing the quality of sleep, and airflow at the nose and mouth. The registered sleep technologist sets up the equipment on the patient, monitors, and scores the sleep test results, which is then interpreted by the physician.

WHAT DOES A REGISTERED SLEEP TECHNOLOGIST DO?

  • sets up the equipment on the patient,
  • monitors, and scores the sleep test results, which is then interpreted by the physician.

 

 

WHAT CREDENTIAL CAN I RECEIVE UPON GRADUATION?

 

Tidewater Community College is a Sleep Technology Approved Resource (STAR) Program through the Board for Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (BRPT).  Below is listed the different pathways available to be eligible to take the BRPT registry exam for Polysomnography. The BRPT eligibility requirements are as follows:

Pathway #1 Clinical Experience

1.   Candidates must complete a minimum of 18 months of paid clinical experience where at least 21     hours include on-the-job polysomnography duties performed as direct patient recording and/or scoring.

2.   Complete clinical experience within a three (3)-year period prior to the exam.

3.   Complete a STAR-designated Self-Study education program within a three (3)-year period prior to the exam.

4.   Provide proof of completion of the required STAR education.

5.   Submit documentation of secondary education.

Pathway #2 Healthcare Credential

1.   Have a minimum of six (6) months of paid clinical work experience where at least 21 hours per week include on-the-job polysomnography duties performed as direct patient recording and/or scoring.

2.   Complete clinical experience within a three (3) year period prior to the exam.

3.   Submit proff of a current and accepted healthcare credential.

  • Candidates must hold one of the following credentials:

    i.  Nursing - (RN, LPN)

    ii.  Respiratory Care - (RRT, CRT)

    iii. Electroneurodiagnostic - (R.EEG T., R.EP T., CNIM)

    iv. Physician's Assistant - (PA)

    v.  PhD. in a health-related field

    vi.  Medical Doctor - (MD)

    vii. Doctor of Osteopathy - (DO)

    viii. Doctor of Chiropractic - (DC)

    ix.   Paramedic - (EMT-P)

    x.   Doctor of Dental Surgery - (DDS)

    xi.  Radiology - (RT, RT R, RT (CT), RT (BD), RT (N)

    xii. Certified Hyperbaric Technologist - (CHT)

    xiii. Certified Nuclear Medicine Technologist - (CNMT)

    xiv. Certified Cardiographic Technician - (CCT)

  • For a complete listing, please see the BRPT.org website.

Pathway #3 CAAHEP/CoARC Graduate

1.   Graduate from an education program in polysomnography accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).  CAAHEP and CoARC - accredited programs include stand-alone programs for polysomnography, and add-on programs attached to an electroneurodiagnostic or respiratory care program.

2.   Complete education program within a three (3)-year period prior to the exam.

3.   Submit proof of graduation from the CAAHEP or CoARC program.

Pathway #4 Focused Training

1.   Have a minimum of nine (9) months of paid clinical work experience where at least 21 hours per week includes on-the-job polysomnography duties performed as direct patient recording and/or scoring.

2.   Complete clinical experience within a three (3) year period prior to the exam.

3.   Complete a STAR-designated Focused education program, OR both a STAR-designated Self-Study education program AND a STAR-designated Focused 2 program, within a three (3) year period prior to the exam.

4.   Provide proof of completion of the required STAR program(s).

5.   Submit documentation of secondary education.

PATHWAY #1, #2, #3, or #4 Candidates must ALL:

Hold certification in Basic Cardiac Life Support (BCLS) or the equivalent (international only) that remains current at the time of testing.  These programs must include a hands-on practical training evaluation segment and you must provide documentation that shows demonstration of skills.  A copy of the current BCLS card or the equivalent must be included with the application or separately mailed if applying on line.  Note:  Online CPR courses DO NOT fulfill this requirement.

AND

Follow the BRPT Standards of Conduct and Policies and Procedures.

The BRPT randomly audits candidate eligibility and may request additional documentation or validation of clinical experience.  The signatory of the experience verification section on the application is responsible for verifying any experience the candidate may have had with a previous employer.

WHAT IS REQUIRED FOR ENTRY INTO THE PROGRAM?

The minimum prerequisite educational requirements include: high school graduation or GED, and English placement. Students may require developmental studies, which must be completed before they are considered for admission to the program. It is recommended that these tests be taken as early as possible in case developmental course work is required prior to start of program. Students should call the Counseling Center at (757) 822-7212 for testing dates. Previous college transcripts must be sent to Tidewater Community College, Central Records/Office of the Registrar,P.O. Box 9000, Norfolk, VA 23509-9000 to be evaluated for credit. Students must attend an information session/interview with program faculty.

Applicants for Polysomnography may come from individuals already credentialed in a health care profession such as

  • respiratory therapy,
  • licensed practical nurse,
  • registered nurse,
  • registered EEG technologist,
  • EMT-P, or
  • physician
  • other

 

ARE THERE JOBS AVAILABLE?

The field of sleep continues to expand.  Salaries are comparable with other health care professions such as respiratory therapy and nursing. Salaries vary from a technician to a Registered Polysomnographer. Employment opportunities include freestanding sleep labs, physician offices, and Polysomnography labs within hospitals.  Most Polysomnography jobs are night shift positions.
Occupational outlook - Department of Labor
More information on the profession of Polysomnography may be found at www.aastweb.org.

ARE ALL CLASSES OFFERED ONLY DURING THE DAY?

The student can expect to have a mixture of days and nights for classroom learning and clinical. Cclinical sites will be located at various labs across the Tidewater area. All non-Polysomnography classes may be taken at any campus where the class is offered. For example: BIO 141 may be taken at any of the TCC campuses or may be transferred from another institution.

MUST COURSES BE TAKEN IN THE ORDER THEY APPEAR IN THE CURRICULUM?

Yes, you must take all Polysomnography courses in the order in which they appear in the curriculum. Each course prepares you for the next course, and each is offered only once a year. You may take any non-Polysomnography course during the semester it appears in the curriculum or before that semester. In order to remain in the Polysomnography program you must pass all classes with a “C” or better.

HOW MANY HOURS A WEEK WILL I BE IN CLASS?

You will attend class an average of 11 hours a week during the program.Clinical will be an additional 21 hours per week. Of course, if you have already completed any required course work you will attend class fewer hours.

 

 

 

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO COMPLETE THE POLYSOMNOGRAPHY PROGRAM?

The program is structured to be three semesters in length. The first semester is non-Polysomnography courses that prepare the student for the Polysomnography classes and entry into the health professions field. For those students who currently are licensed as a RRT, CRT, RN, R- EEG technician, EMT-Paramedic or M.D. may not be required to take the non-Polysomnography classes.

WHERE ARE THE CLINICAL ASSIGNMENTS IN THE PROGRAM?

Clinicals are scheduled at many of the sleep labs in the Tidewater area. The student will be responsible for commuting to the scheduled clinical site.

ARE THERE ANY COSTS INVOLVED IN THE POLYSOMNOGRAPHY PROGRAM?

In addition to tuition, textbook(s), clinical uniform and membership in The Association of Polysomnographic Technologists (APT) professional organization costs, the total cost exceeding tuition is approximately $300.00. Students are also responsible for transportation and parking fees involved in commuting to clinical sites.

ARE THERE SCHOLARSHIPS AND LOANS AVAILABLE TO SELECTED APPLICANTS?

Information on grants, loans and scholarships is available from the Financial Aid Office and can be reached by calling (757) 822-7292. The Veterans Affairs Office will assist you with your application if you are eligible for educational benefits and can be reached by calling (757) 822-7235.

Contact: jferguson@tcc.edu

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Comments: Web Services @ TCC
Last revision: July 16, 2012