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AWARD OFFERED Certificate program (2 semesters)
Polysomnography is a study of sleep cycles and behavior, usually done overnight in a sleep center. This study involves observing a person at sleep while continuously charting brain waves, muscle activity, breathing, eye movements, and heart rhythms. This study allows doctors to track the different stages of sleep, called nonrapid eye movement (NREM) sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is associated with dreaming. The test can track other characteristics of sleep, such as the number of times the patient awakens. It can also evaluate any abnormal sleeping behaviors, such as sleepwalking or nightmares. In addition, the study can evaluate sleeping disorders. A sleep study may also be done to help set up treatment for sleep-related breathing disorders or to show why a treatment is not working.
Polysomnography technologists, or sleep lab technologists, measure and collect brain waves, breathing patterns and limb movement to help diagnose patients’ sleep disorders. By applying non-invasive monitoring equipment, the sleep technologist simultaneously monitors electroencephalography, electrooculography, electromyography, electrocardiography, multiple breathing variables and blood oxygen levels during sleep. Technologists provide supportive services related to the ongoing treatment of sleep-related problems.
Growth in the number of sleep labs across the country supports an increasing demand for trained professionals. From three accredited labs in 1975, this industry has grown to 425 accredited labs and more than 2,000 non-accredited labs in 2002.
One of the newest Wallace State programs, polysomnography has experienced excellent job placement rates. Full-time and part-time job opportunities are expected to be plentiful in the surrounding region in the coming years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the mean annual salary is $46,340, equivalent to an hourly rate of $22.28. Those in the top 10 percent of earners received salaries of over $65,930, while their colleagues in the corresponding bottom bracket earned less than $29,630. (Source: U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics)
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Lisa Tarvin, BS CS, AAS RRT, RPSGT, RST, Clinical Sleep Educator