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By: Kevin Asp on July 5th, 2017

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5 Ways Sleep Technologists Can Earn Continuing Education Credits (CECs)

Sleep Technologist Advice

The sleep medicine field is constantly growing and evolving, introducing newer technology and treatments. Sleep disorders are being recognized more, and their health impacts are becoming better understood.

The public is beginning to understand the importance of diagnosing and treating sleep disorder conditions like Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), sleep deprivation, and sleep breathing disorders. With this growing public awareness, the demand for qualified and certified sleep technologists is more important than ever.


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Importance of the Sleep Technologist

When it comes to the sleep medicine field, few people play a more central role than the sleep technologist. As a trained sleep technologist, you work in a sleep lab and conduct various sleep studies. You then review and analyze the results and create a summary report that helps the doctor prescribe the proper treatment for the patient.

As a sleep technologist, Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (RPSGTs) and Registered Sleep Technologists (RSTs), you have a variety of roles and work with advanced sleep technology to help provide relief to your patients with sleep concerns; it's important that you’re continually learning and developing your skills.

There are various approaches, including CPAP and BiPAP, to treat patients with sleep related breathing disorders. Standardized recording methods and scoring rules are constantly changing. Sleep technologists are now using computers versus the older polygraphs. There’s so much new information and processes in sleep medicine that it has not only kept the industry fresh, but it also demands sleep technologists hone their skills and stay up-to-date with new changes as they appear.

Importance of Continuing Education Credits (CECs)

If you're already certified as a sleep technologist, continuing education credits (CECs) give you an incentive to continue your education and hone your skills so you can provide only the best possible care for your patients and help them develop and sharpen their sleep self-management skills.

Continuing education credits are provided by leading certification organizations to award sleep technologists with credits for completing various high standard of excellence educational activities.

Why Do You Need CECs?

Sleep professionals, including Registered Sleep Technologists (RSTs) and Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (RPSGTs) need continuing education for licensing and sleep center accreditation.

Your sleep technology certification lasts for five years. After that, you must get re-certified. You can either retake and pass the RST or RPSGT exam or earn and accumulate 50 continuing education credits over five years.

Just about every sleep technologist will agree that the most rewarding part of their job is directly working with patients. You have the ability to help a patient who's been suffering for years with a sleep disorder get a diagnosis and relief from their symptoms. You're contributing to them finally being able to sleep better at night. Not to mention, the sleep medicine industry is among the few careers where patients experience quick and tremendous improvement.

Just about all accrediting organizations will tell you that the best option for sleep technologists is to earn CECs. This allows you to accrue credits gradually as you learn and develop your skills over time and at your own pace. You’re also able to stay up-to-date with new changes and developments in your profession.

Sleep centers benefit by having sleep technologists who are continuously learning and developing new skills rather than having to retrain them after five years. Not only does it benefit sleep centers, but it also benefits you, the sleep technologist, as it enables your patients to get a high level of professional care.

Five Ways to Earn your CECs

It goes without saying, earning continuing education credits through organizations like the American Association of Sleep Technologists (AAST) is a great route to go since it promotes consistent learning and developing new and useful skills in a fast paced industry.

1. Online Learning Modules

Online learning modules usually come in the form of a video or reading on a specific topic. Sleep technologists are able to view streaming presentations on sleep technology topics that they can access anywhere, anytime.

These online learning modules are presented by professionals in the sleep technology and sleep medicine field. As a sleep technologist, through AAST online learning modules, you're able to earn AAST CECs after you complete a short test that follows the presentation.

Each module takes an hour or less to watch, and you'll complete a short quiz at the end and typically earn one CEC.

2. Trainings

Similar to the online learning modules, you can earn continuing education credits and learn valuable skills through different trainings. AAST has an online learning center where you get access to valuable online resources to help you learn new skills and knowledge and earn certifications in sleep technology. Professionals in the sleep technology industry developed these training sessions and modules so that you have access to them on demand either on your mobile device or desktop.

You also have access to in-person conferences where an an experienced presenter provides the latest topics of interest to sleep technologists.

3. Subscribe to Sleep Medicine Journals

You can subscribe to magazines and sleep medicine journals. One, in particular, is the AAST's quarterly publication, A2Zzz, and you're awarded two credits when you subscribe. It's a simple way to read valuable materials, take short quizzes, and earn eight continuing education credits each year.

Only AAST members, however, can earn CECs for reading these magazines which is why it's important that you join your professional organization and reap the CEC benefits.

4. Join an Organization

Membership organizations like AAST, typically offer annual CECs just for being a member. Through membership, you're updated on all current CEC opportunities and different discounted rates. Organizations may also provide you with help in keeping track of your earned continuing education credits so you will always know how many you have and how many you need.

When you become a member of AAST, you will be able to earn up to 32 CECs every year with no money out of your pocket. You also have access to reduced online learning modules.

The American Association of Sleep Technologists is the most effective and strongest advocate for sleep technologists. It's a huge comprehensive resource for members to network and receive an education. Through AAST membership, you are provided with a number of benefits including:

  • Exclusive Educational Resources
  • Ability to Earn Free Member CECs
  • Earn CECs by reading AAST's official publication - A2Zzz
  • Discounts on Educational Products and Events
  • Networking Opportunities
  • Advocacy
  • Career Resources
  • Volunteer Opportunities
  • Standardized Education
  • CEC Transcripts
  • Award Recognition

AAST is an invaluable way to develop your sleep management skills and build strong personal and professional relationships in the industry.

5. Attend Conferences, Workshops, or Other Events

Many sleep medicine conferences give you the ability to earn continuing education credits because they're accredited by organizations. Each year, you have a number of these types of events at your disposal. Their objective is to promote news and information pertaining to the sleep medicine and technology industry.

Many organizations at the national, state, regional, or local level provide educational programs that include CECs. In many cases, accrediting organizations have pre-approved certain events and therefore have established a set number of CECs that you can earn just by attending.

AAST & KYSS Fall Course

You can earn up to 14.5 CECs for attending the 2017 AAST & KYSS Fall Course. This is a two-day course that's presented by an expert faculty providing you with updated sleep technology developments which include information on new technology designed to help diagnose sleep disorders and monitor treatment adherence.

You'll learn about complicated patients and how to attend to their special needs. You'll learn methods for leveraging collected data from individual patients as well as large cohorts all focusing on patient-centered care.

The 2017 Fall Course is being held in Louisville, KY, at the Louisville Marriott East, October 13-14. The course will be hosted by both the AAST and the Kentucky Sleep Society and is titled: Current Technology Trends in Sleep Medicine.

It's essential that you stay current on your CECs so you don't have to scramble to earn them as recertification approaches or have to retake your certification exam. Always keep your patients in mind. Getting your continuing education credits isn't only necessary for you to maintain your credentials. It's also necessary to keep you in the position of being a highly trained and well-informed sleep technologist who's capable of giving their patients only the best care possible.

Key Takeaways

  • The sleep medicine field is constantly evolving, and sleep technologists need to stay up-to-date.
  • Sleep technologists must accumulate 50 CECs over 5 years or re-take and pass the exam.
  • CECs are a good option for technologists, allowing them to spread their education out and earn CECs
  • Continuing Education allows sleep technologists to develop new skills in a fast-paced, growing industry.
  • By becoming an AAST member, you can earn up to 32 free CECs each year.

Earn up to 14.5 CECs and learn about current trends by attending the AAST & KYSS Fall Course. You play an important role in the sleep medicine industry, and it’s important that you keep on learning and educating yourself to enhance your career as a sleep technologist and help your patients the best you can.

2017 Fall Course

About Kevin Asp

Because of the implementation of his best practices of Implementing Inbound Marketing in its Medical Practice, he turned the once stagnant online presence of Alaska Sleep Clinic to that of "The Most Trafficked Sleep Center Website in the World" in just 18 months time.

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