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Polysomnographic Technologist - Healthcare Career
The importance of sleep has been studied many years, but it was not until the 1970s that clinics and laboratories began to study sleep disorders. Sleep medicine is now a recognized specialty, and the increase in the number of sleep study centers has created a need for polysomnographic technologists.  


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Polysomnographic Technologist Job Description
  Polysomnography (PSG) is a type of sleep study used in sleep medicine, and those who monitor these tests are called polysomnographic technologists. Results of the tests are then interpreted by sleep specialists and used to diagnose and treat sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome and other sleep interruptions that negatively affect health.

A person who is taking part in a sleep study will have a private bedroom in a sleep clinic. The technician is responsible for evaluating the patient, collecting any specimens ordered by the doctor and preparing the patient for the tests. Next to the bedroom is an area where the technician will monitor the sleeping patient.

Typical tests are:

• Electroencephalograms (EEGs) to measure and record brain waves.
• Electromyograms (EMGs) to measure muscle activity such as face twitches, leg movement and teeth grinding.
• Electro-oculograms (EOGs) to record rapid eye movements (REMs).
• Electrocardiograms (EKGs) to measure and record heart rate and rhythm.
• Nasal airflow sensors to measure airflow.
• Snore microphone to record snoring.

Belts will also be placed around the chest and abdomen to measure breathing and an oximeter placed on the finger to monitor blood oxygen. With all this equipment, it would seem that the patients would not be able to sleep, but most patients do quite well.

Most of these tests are done at night, but in the case of patients with suspected narcolepsy or extreme daytime fatigue, they are sometimes done in the daytime.

After the tests are completed, it is the responsibility of the technologists to score the tests and document the results. They also need to calibrate and adjust equipment as needed. It is crucial that they provide accurate results to the sleep specialist so a correct diagnosis can be made.
How Can I Become a Polysomnographic Technologist?
  Many sleep centers will hire high school graduates as polysomnographic technicians and provide on-the-job training. However, if one would like to advance in the field, it is best to have an associate degree in polysomnography. Coursework should include patient evaluations, cardiovascular diagnosis and treatment, respiratory care, physiology, pharmacology and poysomnographic techniques. Qualified applicants can become registered by taking an examination given by the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists.

Technologists usually work in hospitals or private sleep clinics. With experience and additional education, they can advance to supervisory or teaching positions.
What is the Salary of a Polysomnographic Technologist?
  The median annual salary for a polysomnographic technologist is about $47,000. Most of the work is during overnight hours, so often extra compensation is paid for that. Many facilities offer health, disability and retirement benefits. Even without a healthcare degree, job prospects are good, but further education increases the chances for advancement and increased salary. It is an excellent healthcare career choice for those who want to enter the healthcare field quickly and have a positive impact on patients’ lives while working in clinical settings.  
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