4 Ways You Can Advance Your Career as a Sleep Technologist
Sleep medicine is an advancing field and continues to grow rapidly. Because there's a greater awareness of sleep disorders these days, there are more job openings, including as a sleep technologist, for sleep medicine professionals. There are also ongoing advancements in medicine and innovative sleep technologies appearing.
Many people who are already in the profession of sleep medicine boast about how rewarding their careers are, because they get to make a difference in their patients' lives as they work closely with them and help them with their sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). They take pride in knowing their patients are getting relief from their sleep disorder symptoms because of effective treatments. As a sleep technologist, you get to finally help patients get the sleep they deserve after years of struggling with their sleep disorder.
There are opportunities in all aspects of sleep medicine, including sleep technology. You could be helping to evaluate and providing follow up care to sleep disorder patients. You also could be assisting sleep specialists in a variety of tasks, such as physiological testing and monitoring and clinical assessment, and educating patients about and assisting with managing their sleep disorders.
Sleep technologists use a wide-scope of therapeutic and diagnostic tools that provide patients of any age with the proper diagnosis and treatment of their sleep disorder. Some of these tools may include:
- PAP devices (positive airway pressure)
- HSAT devices (home sleep apnea testing)
- Screening devices
- Nocturnal oxygen
Join over 4,500 of your peers, and gain access to discounted CECs, premier education, and networking when you become an AAST member.
Get Certified and Advance in Your Career
As a sleep technologist, you'll need basic and continuing professional education. You'll be required to engage in numerous educational efforts. Under a sleep medicine physician's supervision, you'll complete training and a competency assessment in order to work independently. Ideally, you'll complete an accredited training program and receive a degree or certificate.
Some states require you to have a license or maintain a professional certification. You are strongly encouraged to continue your education every year so you can advance in your sleep medicine career. To ensure you remain competent , you're also encouraged to participate in the sleep center's quality assurance and quality improvement initiatives. To maintain your certification and in some states to obtain a license, you will need to participate in continuing education. Continuing education is also required to meet sleep center accreditation requirements.
Education and Care of the Patient
You'll be responsible for keeping your patients comfortable and safe while providing the best care possible. You need to fully understand your patients' sleep disorder and other health issues, which includes their medications. Throughout the evaluation, you'll interact with your patient to maintain their safety and comfort and ensure they understand all treatments and procedures and assist them to remain adherent with them.
When you're performing polysomnography, you'll need to interact with various people including the sleep medicine physician, patient and their family, and other physicians and technologists. You'll have to have proficient written and verbal communication skills.
You may have other duties you will be responsible for, such as managing a sleep medicine practice or sleep center where you might be in charge of:
- Supervision of staff, ancillary personnel, or students
- Patient scheduling
- Supply and material management
- Educating patients
- Training staff
- Professional development
- Data management
- Billing management
- Administrative report generation
- Employee reviews
And, of course, you will always be responsible for your patients' care, safety, and comfort.
There are four ways you can advance in your career. These include:
1. Access Educational Resources
You need CECs to keep your certification, however, the education you get and what you learn to get your CECs is extremely valuable to your career.
There are a great number of resources online that are downloadable, like quizzes, eBooks, infographics, and more. They all provide you with helpful, relevant information on subjects you would be interested in as a sleep technologist.
Subscribe to forums or blogs that consistently produce content you'll benefit from reading, and you can read them at your own pace.
2. Attend Industry-Relevant Events
The field of sleep medicine is evolving and changing constantly, therefore, you need to stay updated on the latest trends. In order for you to do this, you will want to attend conferences that will keep you current and allow you to learn from professionals in the industry as well as network with peers.
Benefits of these events include:
- Staying updated on the latest sleep technology profession trends
- Getting the chance to learn from the leaders in the industry and network with peers
- Earning CECs for participating
3. Engage with Other Sleep Technologists & Industry Experts
Social media provides you with a huge opportunity to engage with industry experts and other sleep technologists. Be sure your social media profiles are professional and complete. A great way to meet and engage with like-minded people is through Facebook and LinkedIn groups.
Ensure your profiles include a professional looking headshot and keep your profile information up-to-date. If you're seeking an interview, a non-professional headshot could ruin your chances. You want to show potential employers what your strengths are and what you've accomplished.
If you’re looking for a sleep technologist job on social media, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to connect with potential employers. For instance, just by doing a simple search on Twitter for the keyword “sleep technologist,” you’ll see an endless amount of potential job opening tweets come up and continue by the hour.
4. Become a Member of an Association Dedicated to Sleep Technology
Becoming a member of a professional association such as the AAST can provide you with:
- Education to help you solve your current role challenges
- CEC offerings to help you advance in your profession and stay at the top
- Events to help you meet others and build lifelong connections
As a professional, you'll want to be a part of your professional society so you can stay updated on changes. When you're a part of your society, others hear your voice and you do what's right for your community, your patients, and your profession. Membership associations like the AAST are much more than a society for regulations, rules, and information — they are a fellowship of individuals who all are working towards the same goals.
- Sleep medicine is a growing field.
- Sleep technologists have plenty of opportunities to advance their career.
- You'll have opportunities in all aspects of sleep medicine as a sleep technologist.
- Access to online resources like eBooks, quizzes and infographics can be helpful in furthering your knowledge.
- Meet like-minded people and build connections that last for life at industry events, while also engaging with industry experts.
- Four ways to advance your career include: gaining access to educational resources, attending industry-relevant events, engaging with other sleep technologists and industry experts, and becoming a member of an association dedicated to sleep professionals.
An AAST membership is your gateway to advancing your career in sleep medicine as a sleep technologist. AAST is dedicated to ensuring you receive top quality education, CEC offerings to fully develop your career as a sleep professional, and opportunities to build connections with others who are doing the same. Become an AAST Member by clicking here. Not only does AAST provide you with a world-class education, but you will connect with over 4,500 of your peers who are members.