Job Title: Sleep Technologist
Type of Company: I work in a clinic that specializes in the treatment of sleep disorders.
Education: A.S., Liberal Arts & Sciences, Middlesex Community College Certificate, Sleep Technology, Northern Essex Community College
Previous Experience: I actually had no work experience at all in health or the field of sleep medicine before deciding on sleep technology. The only experience I had came from schooling and some clinical work once a week.
Job Tasks: I'm involved in clinical studies carried out in a lab overnight. I orient patients and explain our testing procedures; I also ready supplies and equipment for use, carry out head measurements, prepare and attach electrode sensors and much more, most of it too technical to list.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is working with people and seeing their overall quality of life improve, along with their sleeping habits.
The worst part of the job is working a 12-hour over-night shifts.
1.) You MUST have vocational training for this job, whether it's through an AASM Astep program or one of the few community colleges that offer it. 2.) Get as much hands-on experience as possible. As with everything else, you learn the most by doing. 3.) However you do it, though, learn all you can! The field of sleep medicine is fast-paced, fast-growing, and very interesting! The more you know, the more valuable you'll be to your employer and patients.
Additional Thoughts: I have been pleasantly surprised by how interesting my job has turned out to be. You might imagine that sleep would be boring, but it isn't. And while the work is sometimes tough, it is always (or mostly) rewarding, especially when you hear how much better someone feels after treatment. The only thing I might have done differently is getting certified. There are boards (known as BRPT exams) that you have to pass to be able to do this. You can work without taking them, but you make more money (as a "polysomnographic technologist") once you're certified.
The most important thing you'll need if you want to succeed, though, is an eagerness to learn. It doesn't hurt either to be positive, friendly, and upbeat. You'll be working with people in a vulnerable state (i.e. asleep, and often wearing very little), and they are frequently nervous, uncertain just what to expect. To deal with them best, you need to be caring, compassionate and soothing. The more you know, the more information you can give them and the simpler it is to put them at ease. And it always feels good to help someone get healthier.
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