A polysomnographic technologist helps doctors assess and diagnose disorders and conditions involving sleep. The requirements for a person who wants to become a polysomnographic technologist may vary, depending on the jurisdiction in which he plans to work. In some places, an individual may secure a job in this field after earning a high school diploma or a jurisdiction-approved equivalent. In other places, however, a person interested in this career may need to earn a certificate in polysomnographic technology or an associate’s degree in polysomnography. Additionally, a person who wishes to pursue this field as a technologist may have to pass an examination given by an authority in the field. Passing this test may result in registration or certification.
A person in this field may help in diagnosing and evaluating patients with insomnia, for example, or sleep apnea. He may perform polysomnograms, which are diagnostic sleep studies, and use special equipment to measure a person’s brain waves. He may also help with scoring tests, recording results, and collecting specimens in relation to diagnosing sleep issues. An individual in this field may also help adjust related equipment as necessary.
An individual interested in pursuing this career may be able to prepare for it in just a couple of years. After completing high school or its equivalent, a person who wants to become a polysomnographic technologist may pursue a certificate program or associate's degree in polysomnography. Even in places that do not require a specific type of training or education, pursuing one of these educational paths may provide a person with more job opportunities. Among the topics a person will usually study while pursuing polysomnography education are instrumentation, cardiovascular diagnosis, patient evaluation, sleep medicine, and sleep therapies.
In most cases, there is a hands-on component for a person who wants to become a polysomnographic technologist. In addition to classroom work, a person pursuing this career typically gets hands-on training with patients, learning how to use equipment, evaluate patients, and monitor subjects. Such training is usually supervised by a qualified health professional.
After completing a training program to become a polysomnographic technologist, a person may have to take an exam to become registered or certified in this field. Typically, there is a fee required to take such tests. Once all of his jurisdiction’s requirements are met, a person may apply for a job with a sleep center or other type of health care facility.