What Is the Career Outlook for Neurodiagnostic Technologists? Employment opportunities are abundant. Particularly strong growth areas are polysomnography and the specialty areas of long term monitoring for epilepsy and intraoperative monitoring. There is a continuous need for well-educated electroneurodiagnostic technologists, and the demand grows as new labs open and existing labs expand.
How Much Do Neurodiagnostic Technologists Earn? Salaries depend on education, experience, level of responsibility, type of employment, and area of the country. Consequently, salaries range from $31,100 for a neurodiagnostic program graduate just entering the field to over $70,000 per year for lab managers or independent contractors. The mean (average) salary for all neurodiagnostic technologists across the country was $48,173, based on data collected from neurodiagnostic laboratories in 2006. Technologists who hold professional credentials, college degrees, and who own their own business command the highest salaries.
What Basic Qualifications Do Neurodiagnostic Students Need? They must have actively inquiring minds, above average intelligence, and a willingness to engage in life-long learning. They must have tact, patience, and compassion. Manual dexterity and a capacity to deal with visual, electrical, and computer concepts are important.
What Type of Education/Training is Required? Persons interested in pursuing a career in neurodiagnostic technology are strongly encouraged to attend a school specializing in the field. Currently, most of the schools are associated with two-year colleges, with a few located within hospitals or vocational schools. Some schools offer distance-learning programs. It is anticipated that in the near future colleges and universities will begin offering Bachelor’s degree programs for the END profession.
According to the American Society of Electroneurodiagnostic Technologists (ASET) minimum educational requirements for performing electroneurodiagnostic procedures, an individual entering the profession must have earned an associate degree or higher and have successfully completed a program reviewed by the Commission on Accreditation for Educational Programs in Electroneurodiagnostic Technology (CoA-END) and accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Within two years of graduation, individuals are strongly encouraged to take and pass a recognized, national examination for professional credentials in an area of neurodiagnostic specialty. Both education and clinical experience are necessary to attain sufficient knowledge base and clinical expertise. Click here
for a list of schools offering programs of study in neurodiagnostic technology and polysomnography.
What are the skills I will need to be successful in this profession? The knowledge base and clinical proficiencies required for performing EEG, evoked potentials, nerve conduction studies, intraoperative neuromonitoring, long term monitoring and polysomnography have evolved tremendously. The level of independent judgment and personal responsibility involved in neurodiagnostic procedures mandate the need for individuals who possess a consistent knowledge and performance that is expected by patients, physicians and employers. Consequently, formal education with a minimum of an associate degree or higher, is critical for long-term success.
How do I prepare to enter the profession? High school students can prepare for the profession by taking math, science, computer and language courses. ASET then recommends attending a CAAHEP accredited END program that grants an associate degree or higher.
What if I have a college degree and want to learn neurodiagnostic technology? There are accredited neurodiagnostic schools that offer neurodiagnostic certificate programs for individuals who have already obtained an associate or higher degree. This certificate program allows a person to complete an accredited neurodiagnostic program without requiring the student to obtain another full degree.
What if I am already working in health care or want to make a career change? Individuals interested in making career transition into the END profession should visit with a supervisor at a local hospital electroneurodiagnostic lab to consider job shadowing and acclimate yourself with the profession; contact an accredited school for advice; or consider enrolling in an on-line END program. In all cases, it’s important to verify that the school is a CAAHEP accredited institution.
Do I need a license to work as an END technologist? A license is a term relating to legislation that regulates the profession within a specific state. Just like a state driver’s licenses, a license is issued by a state regulatory body. Licensure is different than professional credentials/registration.
Currently, neurodiagnostic technologists performing EEGs, EPs, IONM and NCS procedures are not required to have a license. However, there are efforts taking place to require licensure in some states. Technologists performing polysomnography studies should be aware that many states do require a RPSGT credential in the performance of duties and may be licensed/controlled under the auspices of a respiratory board. Louisiana and New Jersey now require licensure for technologists performing polysomnography studies. Visit the Governmental Advocacy section of this Website for regular updates.
Do Neurodiagnostic Technologists Need Credentials? Occupational regulation is a necessity in many allied health fields to protect the health, safety and welfare of patients. Regulation gives clearly defined scopes of practice for each occupation and defines who is qualified to be a professional in each field. The public benefits as a result of the professionals being able to concentrate on clearly established guidelines and requirements within their scope of practice.
The competency standard for neurodiagnostics is successful completion of national board examinations for professional credentials. Professional credentials are available in EEG, evoked potentials, intraoperative monitoring, polysomnography, nerve conduction studies, and long-term monitoring. The certificates and registrations for the neurodiagnostic profession are voluntary. To assure the public that each neurodiagnostic procedure performed is conducted by only qualified personnel, it is necessary to have in place a regulation that is enforceable by law. ASET believes that occupational regulation in the form of state licensure is the most effective means to establish legal authority for the scope of practice for electroneurodiagnostic professionals. Many states currently require technologists to be licensed in order to conduct nerve conduction studies and polysomnograms. It is anticipated that similar licensure requirements for conducting EEGs and other neurodiagnostic tests will be enacted in states as well.
For Further Information about the profession, please explore our website, where you will find information on minimum standards and competencies for practice, distance and on-line education and training opportunities, publications and instructional materials, and links to the credentialing bodies.