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How Do I Become a Sleep Technician?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2016
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The requirements to become a sleep technician can depend on standards set by accrediting agencies but usually include training or clinical experience and an examination. Sleep technicians and technologists participate in the evaluation of patients with suspected sleep disorders. They can set up sleep studies, monitor equipment, and work with a care team to diagnose a patient and determine the best interventions for the patient’s case. Working in this field requires an understanding of anatomy, physiology, and sleep medicine.

One option is to get a degree or certificate in sleep medicine. Some colleges and technical schools have a degree program specifically for students interested in this field. In other cases, a student can pursue a health degree and then obtain a certificate to become a sleep technician. Certificates require the completion of a set number of hours of training in different aspects of sleep medicine, including how to operate equipment and common sleep disorders.

Clinical experience is also typically required for people who go to school to become a sleep technician. They need to work in a qualified facility to develop skills and participate in sleep studies under monitoring from trained personnel. Once students complete their education and have enough clinical hours, they can apply to take an examination. The examination includes written and practical demonstrations of skills to show that the applicant can work safely and effectively.

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Another way to become a sleep technician, permitted by some regulatory authorities, is to acquire several years of direct clinical experience under supervision and then apply to take the test. In this case, applicants may need high school diplomas to apply to facilities that provide evaluation and treatment for sleep disorders. They work in these facilities to develop professional skills under supervision. After meeting the experience requirement, they can request permission to sit for the examination. This option can allow people to start working immediately instead of having to go to school first.

Regardless of how someone chooses to become a sleep technician, continuing education requirements may be part of the process. These involve a set number of hours of education per year to demonstrate that certified sleep technicians are keeping up with their field. They may attend workshops and classes, conferences, and other events which offer fulfillment of such requirements. Some employers may sponsor these to keep their staff certified, fully trained, and aware of the latest developments in sleep technology. Staff can ask for information about what kinds of continuing education their employers may pay for or assist with.

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