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Certified Polysomnographic Technician Career & Certification Facts

Many people's lives are affected by the frustrating reality of sleeping disorders, and certified polysomnographic technicians (CPSGT) help them find a good night's sleep. Read on to learn about job responsibilities, potential employers and certification.

What You Need to Know

Certified polysomnographic technicians (CPSGT) are also known as sleep technicians. In this career, you assist patients who have sleep disorders during the course of their treatment. You may work in a number of locations, including hospitals and specialized clinics. Certification is required for this career, and once attained you must complete a certain amount of continuing education ever year to keep your certification up-to-date.

Future Career Options Sleep technician at hospitals, schools or private clinics
Responsibilities Assessing patients with sleep disorders, recording your findings and caring for the patient before and while they are undergoing sleep testing.
Certifications Certified polysomnographic technician or registered polysomnographic technologist

What Is the Career of a Certified Polysomnographic Technician Like?

Certified polysomnographic technicians use polysomnography, a tool used to evaluate sleep disorders and problems, to assist sleep specialists with the diagnoses of patients. Working under the supervision of licensed physicians, CPSGTs observe patients in stages of sleep and wakefulness while using measurements, like respiratory effort and eye movements, to collect data. This data is then used to diagnose sleeping disorders and determine an after-care plan of action for the patient.

As a CPSGT, much of your work would be spent using specialized instruments, like sensors attached to the patient, to monitor the stages of sleep. You would also keep detailed logs of your findings and observations, which are compiled into a report for a sleep physician to analyze. Patient care would also be a significant aspect of your career, as you would be responsible for ensuring that your patients are comfortable and safe while undergoing testing. You would also frequently interact with patients in order to get a thorough understanding of the patient's symptoms and histories.

Where Would I Work?

While working as a CPSGT, you might be employed by a university, hospital or private sleep clinic. The majority of your work would take place in a sleep laboratory equipped with beds for patients to sleep in and polysomnographic equipment for you to operate. You would spend much of your time in an observation room separate from the patient's bed, allowing the patient to sleep undisturbed while you work. Some CPSGTs also work in home environments, traveling to patients' homes and bringing their equipment to the patients.

How Can I Become Certified?

The Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (BRPT) is the organization that oversees the CPSGT designation (www.brpt.org). According to the BRPT, the CPSGT is the entry-level certification for professionals who are entering the sleep profession. To qualify to take the CPSGT exam, you must have:

  • Three months of polysomnography experience
  • A high school diploma or GED
  • Proof of completion of designated Accredited Sleep Technologist Education Program (A-STEP) modules

Once you become a CPSGT, you have three years to earn the Registered Polysomnographic Technologist (RPSGT) credential or you will lose your CPSGT title. You will also need to maintain CPR or BLS certification. To renew your certification, you must complete a minimum of ten hours of continuing education credits each year.