EEG Technician: Career Summary, Job Outlook, and Educational Requirements

As an EEG technician, you'd perform technological duties associated with electroencephalographic (EEG) scans, providing doctors with information regarding neurological and nervous system activity. Check out the education and certification requirements for this career, and learn more about the job duties and earning potential. Schools offering Electroneurodiagnostic Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an EEG Technician?

An EEG technician is a neurodiagnostic technologist who specializes in running electroencephalogram (EEG) tests, which are used to monitor brain activity and detect abnormalities. Prior to a test, technicians review the patient's medical history and meet with them to explain the procedure and answer questions. Then, they prepare the patient for the test, which includes attaching the electrodes and checking the impedance. During the test, they operate the machinery and make adjustments when necessary. Afterward, they clean and disinfect the instrument for future use. They may also contribute to the processing of the data collected.

Take a look at the following table for more information about becoming an EEG technician:

Degree Required Postsecondary certificate or associate's degree
Education Field of Study Neurodiagnostic technology (including neuroanatomy, physiology, psychology, instrumentation)
Key Responsibilities Prepare patients for EEG examination; operate EEG machine during tests; ensure patient safety at all times; process data and results; clean and maintain machine between tests
Licensure Requirements Voluntary certification offered by the American Board of Registration of Electroencephalographic and Evoked Potential Technologists (ABRET)
Job Growth (2014-2024)23% (for health technologists and technicians, all other)*
Median Salary (2017) $50,989**

*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Salary.com

What Does an EEG Technician Do?

As an EEG technician, you'll provide doctors with information about the brain activity of patients. Your primary duty is the administration of the EEG test (electroencephalogram), where you'll place electrodes on the patient's scalp and then provide stimuli (typically lights or breathing exercises) and measure the brain's responses. You'll also monitor patients during surgeries through evoked potential instruments and use equipment to view the nervous system. Doctors use these reports to aid in the diagnosis of brain damage or medical conditions such as epilepsy. You may also run tests to diagnose the possibility of recovery in coma patients.

What Can I Expect from this Career?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that the job market for several categories of health technologists and technicians, including EEG technicians, would rise by 23% between 2014 and 2024. You'll likely work in hospitals or outpatient medical centers. As of 2017, Salary.com reported that the median salary for EEG technicians is $50,989.

What Should I Study?

According to the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), most neurodiagnostic technologists, including EEG technicians, have at least an associate's degree. However, some community colleges also offer postsecondary training programs that last for only 12 months and result in a certificate rather than a degree.

You should choose an EEG technician program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). The courses in these programs teach you the basics to working with EEG equipment, electricity, computers, medical terminology and performing electroneurodiagnostic tests. You'll also learn how to work with human anatomy, physiology and in healthcare systems. A clinical should also be completed.

How Do I Become Certified?

The American Board of Registration of Electroencephalographic and Evoked Potential Technologists (ABRET) offers certification for EEG technicians. However, in order to sit for the certification examination you must have at least an associate degree, one year of clinical training and a current CPR certification. To obtain current CPR certification you can take a course offered by the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross. You must then complete the EEG written and oral exams.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Some careers related to EEG technology include those of cardiovascular technicians, diagnostic medical sonographers and medical assistants. Cardiovascular technicians use EKG, stress testing and other cardiovascular tests to create reports that help physicians assess a patient's cardiovascular health. Diagnostic medical sonographers use ultrasound equipment to create diagnostic images that are also used by physicians. Both of these careers require either a certificate or an associate's degree for entry, and most employers look for certified job applicants as well.

Medical assistants often work in physicians' offices or other medical facilities where they complete both clerical and clinical tasks, such as taking patients' blood pressure, weight and pulse. While many medical assistants earn at least a college certificate, some can gain employment with only a high school diploma.

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