How do I get Polysomnography Training?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 24 November 2019
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Polysomnography is a clinical diagnostic test that measures neurological and physiological changes during sleep. Professionals who administer tests, make observations, and analyze results are called polysomnography technicians and technologists. In order to ensure that workers are fully prepared to conduct studies, detailed polysomnography training and education are required by most employers. A person who is interested in pursuing polysomnography training can look into accredited two-year programs at universities, community colleges, and allied health schools. With a degree and several weeks of on-the-job training, a new professional can enjoy a fulfilling, interesting career in the field.

Some private and hospital labs will hire high school graduates with no formal polysomnography training. The majority of employers, however, require applicants to hold degrees in a closely-related specialty. Associate's degree programs in polysomnography, biomedical technology, and clinical lab technology can usually be completed in about two years. Shorter online programs are also available, but a prospective student should be careful to make sure online schools have the appropriate accreditation. Information about different classes and programs can be found by visiting a school's website and speaking with academic advisers in person.


Once enrolled in a polysomnography training program, a person can expect to split his or her time between classroom instruction and hands-on lab work. In the classroom, a student learns about human anatomy and physiology, biological processes, math, and computer science. Lab training courses provide essential skills working directly with diagnostic testing equipment. An individual is tested on his or her understanding of clinical lab work protocol, research design, ethics, and scientific paper writing.

With a degree, a graduate can begin applying at hospitals, private research institutions, and university research centers. A new technician generally acts as an assistant for several weeks or months while still taking part in formal polysomnography training classes. After gaining some experience, many technicians decide to take certification tests offered by organizations such as the Association of Polysomnographic Technologists in the United States to improve their credentials. In addition, some countries have governing boards that provide official licensure to experienced polysomnography experts.

New technologies and research techniques are constantly emerging in sleep science. A technologist can expect to spend a lot of time reading up on recent studies and participating in continuing education courses throughout his or her career. With ongoing training and experience, a technologist may eventually be given the freedom to design and lead groundbreaking independent studies.


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Post 5

@KaBoom - I think it's great when you can take a program like this at the community college. It's generally a lot cheaper to take classes at a community college than anywhere else. I also usually advise people I know to steer clear of the career training schools. Usually they charge about three times as much as a community college for the same training.

As the article stated, it is important to check the accreditation of online programs. I would take it a step further and say you should check out the accreditation of any program! Especially make sure the credentials you are receiving are what local employers are asking for in regards to that kind of job.

Post 4

I think a lot of community colleges offer this type of training. I know my local community college has a polysomnography program. I was actually enrolled in a medical assistant program for awhile (I didn't finish, long story) and I noticed a lot of the general classes were the same for both programs.

The general classes included things like medical terminology, CPR, HIPPA training, and introduction to healthcare. I think someone interested in a career in polysomnography or another allied health field might consider taking some of the intro classes. Since they apply to several programs you could take them and then decide which program to go into.

Post 3

@tigers88 - In general a radiology tech will make more money but this is not always the case. There are a few very prestigious sleep labs that pay techs more than a lot of radiology techs make. It all really depends on where you work, what kind of responsibilities you have and how long you have been doing them. Both career paths have significant earnings potential.

But if I could throw in a personal word of advice, don't pick the field that pays the most, pick the field that you are most interested in. Money is not everything and you working life lasts a long time. If you dedicate yourself to something that you have no interest in you are just setting yourself up for a life of misery, no matter how much money you make. Follow your instincts and your wallet will catch up.

Post 2

Does anyone know how much I would make as a polysomnography technician rather than a radiology technician. I am inclined to think that a radiology tech salary would be higher just because these kinds of test are done so frequently and they are so important. But a polysomnography technician has a very specialized set of skills and might be paid more money. Can anyone give me information about this?

Post 1

I participated in a few sleep studies when I was in college and all the people I worked with were kind, friendly and professionals of the highest order. The biggest thing with sleep technicians is keeping the patient calm and relaxed. They have to hook them up to whatever diagnostic equipment is involved without getting them excited or nervous. This is a real skill and I could tell that the people I worked with had had training and practice. Surely this is part of the course work that technicians take when going to training schools.

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