EEG Technician: Career Summary, Job Outlook, and Educational Requirements
Interested in how the nervous system works? As an EEG technician, you'll perform technological duties associated with electroencephalographic (EEG) scans, providing doctors with information regarding neurological and nervous system activity. You'll sometimes perform tests on the brain, spinal cord and the peripheral nerve to check for injuries or abnormalities. You'll need an associate degree and experience in a clinical to obtain certification. Schools offering Electroneurodiagnostic Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Does an EEG Technician Do?
As an EEG technician, you'll provide doctors with information about the brain activity of patients. Your primary duty is the administration of the EEG test (electroencephalogram), where you'll place electrodes on the patient's scalp and then provide stimuli (typically lights or breathing exercises) and measure the brain's responses. You'll also monitor patients during surgeries through evoked potential instruments and use equipment to view the nervous system. Doctors use these reports to aid in the diagnosis of brain damage or medical conditions such as epilepsy. You may also run tests to diagnose the possibility of recovery in coma patients.
What Can I Expect from this Career?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that the job market for health technicians, such as EEG technicians, would rise by 14%-19% between 2008-2018 (www.bls.gov). This should be in increase by about 32,000 positions. You'll likely work in hospitals or outpatient medical centers. As of June 2011, Salary.com reported that the median salary for EEG technicians is $43,906. This is believed to make up 68.6% of the total yearly compensation when adding in Social Security, pension, vacation and benefits.
What Should I Study?
As an aspiring EEG technician, you're required to have at least an associate degree. O*Net OnLine reports that 68% of current EEG technicians hold an associate degree, while only six percent have only a high school diploma (www.onetonline.org). You can earn a certificate or an Associate of Applied Science in Electroneurodiagnostic Technology.
You should choose an EEG technician program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). The courses in these programs teach you the basics to working with EEG equipment, electricity, computers, medical terminology and performing electroneurodiagnostic tests. You'll also learn how to work with human anatomy, physiology and in healthcare systems. A clinical should also be completed.
How Do I Become Certified?
The American Board of Registration of Electroencephalographic and Evoked Potential Technologists (ABRET) offers certification for EEG technicians (www.abret.org). However, in order to sit for the certification examination you must have at least an associate degree, one year of clinical training and a current CPR certification. To obtain current CPR certification you can take a course offered by the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross. You must then complete the EEG written and oral exams.
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