Polysomnography Program Spotlight: Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC)
Consider introducing your students to the Minneapolis Community and Technical College's polysomnography program
It is estimated that over 20 million Americans currently suffer from sleep apnea.
As professionals in the field of sleep medicine, this is a statistic that the majority of us are quite familiar with; in fact, you may have used it to educate someone in the general public or raise awareness about sleep health. As sleep professionals, educating your community comes with the territory, and we enjoy it because we understand the value of our knowledge.
The American Association of Sleep Technologists (AAST) also clearly understands the value of education. In these last few years, the AAST has encouraged members to continue learning and to expand our knowledge base. They offer free monthly CEC’s for members and a wealth of educational modules for members and non-members including case studies to brush up on critical thinking abilities, and updates on potential changes in standard practices regarding education minimums.
Luckily, the importance of healthy sleep has received more and more attention over the last decade. With the support of the AAST, programs encouraging and supporting members of the sleep community continue to thrive. The versatile Polysomnography Program (PSOM) at Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) in Minneapolis, MN is one such program dedicated to enriching the sleep community in several different ways.
Founded in 2005 and accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) in 2007, the PSOM program at MCTC was spearheaded by some of the most revered contributors to sleep medicine. The creator and lead faculty member of the program is Chad Whittlef, who has received numerous awards from the AAST for his service and literary contributions to the field. Original members of the Advisory Committee included Andrea Patterson, Todd Eiken, Barb Feider, and Mary McKinley. The Advisory Committee has almost 100 years of experience in the field of sleep medicine among its members! The founding Medical Director of the program was Dr. Mark Mohawald, and the current is Dr. Conrad Iber, a past President of AASM. The invaluable experience and input from these contributors established the PSOM program at MCTC as a unique institution that trains future Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (RPSGT’s).
This 2 year program allows students to graduate with their Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Polysomnography degree, making them eligible to sit for the BRPT registry examination upon graduation. Of the 80+ graduates in the last 10 years, over 96% have graduated with job offers - the highest placement rate of MCTC programs. And these graduates have gone on to do wonderful things… 2015 graduate Joseph Hughes became the Lead Technologist at Regions Sleep Health Center in less than a year, more than 5 graduates are currently sleep center managers, and I graduated from the program in 2008.
After working overnights as an RPSGT for years, I was recruited to return to MCTC as an instructor to assist in educating the next generations of sleep technologists - What an honor! As a volunteer on the Educational Products Committee for the AAST and a member of the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Sleep Society, it’s become quite clear to me that the opportunities afforded to me and other program graduates are endless.
Though the on campus PSOM Program contributes to fulfill the need for exceptional sleep technologists in the community, the Polysomnographic Technology fully online AAS degree program is designed to fulfill educational needs for current RPSGT’s across the country. Developed in 2012, the online PSOM program offers an accelerated route to an AAS by giving credit for previous college credits and work hours in the field towards the degree. The ability to test-out of courses and earn college credits at a fraction of the price makes it possible for an RPSGT to affordably earn their AAS degree in potentially 1 semester!
If you are a currently registered sleep technologist working in the field and have yet to attain a degree, consider this easy online pathway. It is an excellent way to improve your resume, increase your potential for leadership opportunities, and to stay a step ahead of anticipated minimum education requirements in our field. For more information, visit www.minneapolis.edu, or call (612) 659-6000 with questions.
As professionals in the field of sleep medicine, we owe it to ourselves and our communities to take education seriously!