4 Easy Ways to Get Your Continuing Education Credits
Sleep medicine is a fascinating and dynamic field of study. And as with any evolving field of study, it is important for professionals in the field to be aware of any new research, technologies, and procedures to remain relevant in their chosen discipline.
Continuing education is essential for sleep professionals, including registered polysomnographic technologists (RPSGTs), registered sleep technologists (RSTs), and for licensing. Continuing education for sleep technologists is also required for sleep center accreditation.
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How Often Do Sleep Techs Need Recertification?
Sleep technologists are required to get recertified every five years to maintain their credentials. To get recertified, one must either retake and pass the RPSGT or RST examination, or accrue 50 continued education credits (CECs) over the five years.
Most accrediting organizations agree that earning continued education credits is by far the best option for technologists. In this way, technologists can spread out their education over a period of time and accrue credits at their own pace, as well as stay current and knowledgeable as changes occur in their profession.
Having technologists in your sleep center that are constantly learning and developing new and useful skills instead of retraining after five years is not only best for the technologists themselves, but also best for the patients, who deserve nothing but the highest level of professional care.
Fortunately for sleep technologists, there is a large variety of convenient ways to earn CECs.
How to Obtain CECs to Maintain Certification
- Become a Member of an Organization. As an added benefit of the American Association of Sleep Technologists (AAST) membership, you can gain access to up to 32 CECs per year at no additional cost to you. Membership organizations strive to keep you current on all CEC potentials and afford discounted rates for certain offerings. These organizations can also help you keep track of your earned CECs so that you're never unsure of how many you have, or how many you still need.
Attend Meetings, Conferences, Workshops, and Events. Every year, there are a variety of these types of gatherings with the aim of promoting news and information in the world of sleep medicine and technology. Many organizations at the national, state, regional, or even local level host events that can be counted towards one's CECs. Most are pre-approved by an accrediting organizations and already have a set number of CECs that can be gained from attendance. To view a list of some of the currently scheduled CEC events, check out the AAST's CEC calendar. Events may need to be approved, and events that cover a wide range of topics may only count credits towards those portions that are sleep related. Check with your recertification board to determine which CEC accrediting organizations are approved, and make sure to do it well in advance of recertification.
- Subscribe to journals and articles. Some magazines, such as the AAST's quarterly publication A2Zzz, provide continuing education credits. AAST members can earn 2 continuing education credits per issue for reading A2Zzz magazine. That's an easy way for AAST members to earn free educational credits; reading outstanding materials and taking a short quiz to earn 8 CECs each year.
Complete Case Studies, Learning Modules, and Other Online Training. Many organizations, including the AAST, have excellent online learning modules and case studies for members that provide pre-approved CEC credits. Equipment manufacturers such as Resmed and Philips Respironics also offer training on new machines and devices as well, either in a sleep center or online. Many of these online training opportunities consist of watching videos or reading case studies and answering short tests based on the material afterward. An example of an online learning module is presented in the video below.
The above module is part of a series of learning modules from the AAST.
What You Should Consider About CECs
It's important for sleep technologists to keep current on their CECs to avoid the hassle of either having to retake their certification examination or have their credentials expire. Here are a few tips for staying on top of your CECs.
Know how many CECs you have and how many you still need. The AAST tracks CECs from all sources for their members.
The Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (BRPT) has an online tracking system that the individual needs to manually update.
Spread out your CECs. As with anything important, one shouldn't wait until the last minute to begin attempting to accrue CECs. A good rule of thumb is to try maintaining approximately 10 CECs per year to evenly spread out the workload and avoid being overwhelmed.
Keep your patients in mind. Remember, getting CECs isn't only necessary for you to keep your credentials, but a well-informed and highly trained technologist is one who will be capable of providing their patients with the best in quality care.
- Check this list for pre-approved continuing education credit providers.
Want to earn up to 16 CECs? Register for the AAST & KYSS 2017 Fall Course, where you'll learn all about the current technology trends in sleep medicine!