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By: Kevin Asp on October 8th, 2015

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What are the requirements for becoming a sleep technologist?

Sleep Technologist Advice

becoming a sleep technologist

What are the requirements for becoming a sleep technologist?

There are a number of ways to become a sleep technologist.

As of today, only 12 states currently require licensure for sleep technologists. That being said, what are the requirements for becoming a sleep technologist?

There are several ways you can become a registered and licensed sleep technologist. Here are some ways you can become one:

becoming a sleep technologist

1. Consider getting an associate's degree in polysomnnography 

Entering a polysomnography (sleep technology) program usually requires participants to meet the following prerequisites:

  • A high school diploma and proof of completion of a current Basic Cardiac Life Support (BCLS) certification are required prior to beginning PSG clinical practicum courses.

  • The BCLS course must be for Health Care Providers through the American Heart Association or the Red Cross.

  • Entering a clinical practicum at a sleep facility may require the completion of a drug screen, vaccination titers, tuberculosis (TB) skin testing, and/or a criminal background check.

becoming a sleep technologist

2. Research which colleges have accredited sleep technologist programs

So you've set your heart on becoming a sleep technologist, but making a decision on which college to attend in order to complete a sleep technology program and obtain a degree in polysomnography can be a little bit trickier.

Keep in mind that just because a college offers a degree in polysomnography does not gurantee that it is an acredited program.

Accredited programs are approved by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) through the Committee on Accreditation for Polysomnographic Technologist Education (CoA PSG), a committee sponsored by the American Association of Sleep Technologists (AAST) and Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (BRPT).

This is where online health education degree programs can come in handy.

Public Health Online established an in-depth guide for students and young professionals to provide reliable, expert-driven information on health education, a key specialization in the field of public health. This is a great search tool to help future students identify accredited programs from some of today's best not-for-profit colleges and universities.

The American Association of Sleep Technologists has reccently established an exclusive partnership with the Thomas Edison State College (TESC) that offers AAST members a special enrollment plan, which allows users to complete most of their degree requirements online.

Other colleges offer an associates degree in polysomnography, but what makes TESC different is that it offers a number of non-classroom based methods of earning college credit. These options include testing and a prior learning assessment program, which means that obtaining a degree can be easier than you think.

ASTEP_LOGO

3. Complete and pass the A-STEP Program

This is the most prevalent way people become sleep technologists - by completing the A-STEP process.  For those who have not completed a CAAHEP accredited program, A-STEP is a requirement for eligibility for sleep technologist certification programs. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) developed the Accredited Sleep Technologist Education Program (A-STEP) to promote the standardization of sleep technologist education and training for those entering the field through an on the job training pathway.

A-STEP equips students with the knowledge and skills they need to excel in the profession of sleep technology. Completing the AASM introductory program and A-STEP Self-Study Modules fulfills the education eligibility requirements for the registry examinations. 

Completing the A-STEP self study modules is a two step process:

First, take the A-STEP introductory course.  The A-STEP Introductory course is regularly offered by 13 active A-STEP providers listed on the American Academy of Sleep Medicine website. This course consists of 80 hours of instruction and training on sleep, sleep disorders, sleep studies and patient care. The program concludes with a three-hour online exam consisting of 106 multiple-choice questions. Complete the A-STEP Introductory course to receive a discount on all A-STEP Self-Study Modules.

Then complete the A-STEP Self-Study Modules

Each of the A-STEP Self-Study modules includes a 30-minute online video presentation followed by a set of ten review questions. Students are encouraged to complete the modules while they receive 18 months of supervised, on-the-job training from an accredited sleep disorders center.

Technologists who have already received certification can also purchase individual modules and receive 1 AAST CEC credit per module. Completion of the A-Step program and 18 months of experience in a sleep center makes you eligible to take the RPSGT credentialing examination.  

The same ASTEP requirements and experience in an accredited sleep center performing 50 studies along with completing a scoring proficiency examination make one eligible for the RST credentialing examination give by the American Board of Sleep Medicine (ABSM). There are several other pathways for both examinations – but the best one is completion of a CAAHEP accredited certificate or associates degree program in sleep technology.
Graduates of these programs are eligible for both the RPSGT and the RST examination.  
Keep in mind that the oldest and most prevalent credential is the RPSGT, and it is accepted in all states that require licensure for sleep technologists.
becoming a sleep technologist

 

4. Utilize CoA as a resource

The Committee on Accreditation for Polysomnographic Technologist Education (CoA PSG) is a committee sponsored by the American Association of Sleep Technologists (AAST) and Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (BRPT).

Its main function is to review applications from programs that plan to provide certificate or associate degree education for polysomnographic technologists, guide applicants during the accreditation process and formulate accreditation recommendations which are then considered by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Graduates of accredited sleep technology programs are eligible for the registry examinations.

There are different ways you can become a sleep technologist but do your research

Because licensure regulations change often, it's best that you also do your own research on what credentials are required for licensure in your state. 
You can find the ABSM's criteria for RST credential eligibility spelled out in the handbook link here.
  
The BRPT's criteria for eligibility for the RPSGT credential can also be found here.  
Are you already a sleep technologist looking forward to educating yourself more?  Check out our products here.
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