How to Become a Registered Sleep Technologist: Credentials & Licensing
The sleep medicine industry is rapidly expanding due to new advances in technology and medicine, and a growth in public awareness of the effects of sleep disorders.
Therefore, more and more qualified people with a keen interest in this field are studying to attain the credentials and requirements they need to become a registered sleep technologist. Below, you'll find the certification and education requirements you need to become an able candidate for the sleep medicine field.
What You Should Know About Becoming a Registered Sleep Technologist
There are many pathways to becoming a registered sleep technologist. Certification and education requirements for sleep technologists vary from state to state and provider to provider. You need to be aware of regulations outlined by licensure/practice acts, state governing boards, and local Medicare and insurance providers.
Discover the benefits of becoming an AAST member. Engage in lifelong learning, and connect with likeminded professionals within the industry.
The AAST has compiled a directory of legislation information for each state. Using this directory, you can review the statutory language for sleep technologists and coverage policies for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Therapy for Obstructive Sleep Apnea and find information about state sleep societies to review their issues and updates.
The American Board of Sleep Medicine (ABSM) offers the Registered Sleep Technologist (RST) credential which assesses the practice of sleep technology relevant to the day-to-day professional responsibilities of the technologist in the sleep center setting. The RST is a curriculum based credential that evaluates learning achieved through CAAHEP and CoARC education programs. In addition, stakeholder surveys are utilized to determine the appropriate content for the examination.
How to Become a Registered Sleep Technologist (RST)
Eligibility for the RST examination includes 4 pathways; all require current basic cardiac life support (BCLS) and high school graduation as the minimum education level.
The pathways for a RST are:
Graduate of a CAAHEP or CoARC polysomnography education program
Current RPSGT credential
A-STEP Introductory Program (or CPSGT credential) and Self-Study Modules with experience in an AASM accredited sleep center (6 months to 3 years), independent recording of 50 PSGs with at least 20 CPAP titrations and 1 MSLT, and a score of 85% or greater on a scoring proficiency exam or documentation of reaching the minimum ISR standard for 2 months
Another eligible health professional credential and the minimum experience outlined above in an AASM-accredited sleep center
How to Become a Registered Polysomnographic Technologist (RPSGT)
The Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (BRPT) offers the Registered Polysomnographic Technologist (RPSGT) credential and Certified Polysomnographic Technician (CPSGT) credential which assess the professional competence of practitioners performing polysomnography, associated therapeutic interventions, and basic compliance and education. The examinations are based on a Job Task Analysis to ensure that the examination reflects current practices in the field.
Eligibility for the RPSGT examination includes 5 pathways; all require BCLS, high school graduation as a minimum education level and completion of listed requirements within 3 years.
The pathways for an RPSGT are:
Self-study STAR program with 1638 hours of experience
Another healthcare credential with 546 hrs experience
CAAHEP/CoARC program graduate
Focused STAR program with 819 hrs of experience
How to Become a Certified Polysomnographic Technician (CPSGT)
The Certified Polysomnographic Technician (CPSGT) examination is offered with the intent to recognize technicians with very basic knowledge of polysomnography and limited clinical experience. This is a time limited 3 year credential that requires supervision by a technologist. The examination is based on a Job Task Analysis and was created as a pathway to the RPSGT credential and to promote professionalism for on the job trained technicians.
Eligibility for the CPSGT examination includes 3 pathways; all require BCLS, high school graduation as a minimum education level, and all requirements completed within 3 years.
The pathways are:
Self-study STAR program with a cumulative total of 416 hours or more of clinical time
Within 2 months of graduation, or a graduate of, a CAAHEP or CoARC polysomnography education program
Focused STAR program that includes lecture and clinical time
Studying to take the CPSGT exam? Test your knowledge beforehand with our comprehensive practice exams. Want the discounted price? Head here first to become a member.
How to Become a Sleep Disorders Specialist (SDS)
The National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) offers the Sleep Disorders Specialist (SDS) credential designed for respiratory therapists with a CRT or RRT credential performing sleep disorders testing and therapeutic intervention. The focus of the credentialing examination is on sleep testing, intervention, and therapy and the examination is based on a Job Task Analysis.
Eligibility for the SDS examination includes 3 pathways.
The pathways are:
CRT or RRT completing a CAAHEP or CoARC sleep add-on track
RRT with 3 months full-time clinical experience (21 hours/week minimum) in sleep diagnostics and treatment
CRT with 6 months full-time clinical experience (21 hours/week minimum) in sleep diagnostics and treatment
Candidates holding an Associate’s Degree or Bachelor’s Degree in other fields are not automatically eligible unless the above criteria have been met.
What Educational Resources are Available?
The pathways to credentialing will evolve as the profession moves towards raising the eligibility requirements for credentialing in sleep technology; the entry level for sleep technologists in the future must move towards requiring, at minimum, an Associate’s Degree for eligibility to attain credentials.
The AAST offers a plethora of resources to help you obtain the knowledge needed to successfully study, practice, test, and pass the proper certifications and exams. From a special Associate's Degree program for AAST members to online practice exams for multiple certifications and everything in between, we have everything you need to reach your academic goals and ignite your career.
How are you preparing for your exams? Are you already registered? Do you have advice for those who are studying to become a Registered Sleep Technologist? Comment below to let us know. And remember, all learning modules are discounted for AAST members, so don't forget to become a member today!