What Is an Electroencephalogram Technician?
Do you want to assist people who have brain injuries, medical conditions and sleep disorders? Does working with biomedical equipment excite you? If so, you may enjoy a career as an electroencephalogram (EEG) technician, also known as an electroneurodiagnostic (END) technician. Schools offering Electroneurodiagnostic Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Electroencephalogram Technician Defined
EEG technicians are healthcare professionals trained to use electronic diagnostic equipment that measures the electrical impulses in the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nervous system. By carefully analyzing diagnostic information transmitted by electrodes placed on the patient's head, you can assist doctors and specialists in making definitive diagnoses regarding nerve conduction and brain wave activities. You may work in several areas of the hospital, such as the operating room, intensive care unit and emergency room. You might also work in sleep study labs and off-site specialty centers.
EEG technicians work under the direction of a physician or specialist. As an EEG technician, you might choose to specialize in one procedure or aspect of the field. Areas of specialization include sleep studies, nerve conduction studies, evoked potential, long term monitoring and operating room monitoring. Your credentials and specialization will help determine where you are qualified to work.
As an EEG technician, you will take patients' medical histories, educate them about the procedure and prepare them for the test. Then you'll prepare the skin on their scalp, attach electrodes and measure the patients' brain waves. You will be responsible for maintaining and operating the digital computerized EEG equipment safely and accurately. At all times during the procedure, you will monitor patients carefully and respond to any discomfort or medical emergencies, such as seizures.
Following the procedure, you may remove the equipment and clean patients' scalps. You must also write a report for the doctor or specialist, indicating your findings. In some cases, you may be required to monitor neurofunctions in the operating room during a procedure.
Education and Training
There are several ways to become an EEG technician. You may prepare for the career through on-the-job training or a military training program, or you might earn a vocational education certificate, associate's degree or bachelor's degree. There are also online courses you can take for the theory portion of your classes, though you may be required to complete clinical practicums on site. The American Society of Electroneurodiagnostic Technologists (ASET) offers a complete range of classes to prepare you for the national registry exam (www.aset.org). These classes include:
- Human anatomy and physics
- Medical terminology and ethics
- Biomedical electronics
- Interpersonal communication
- EEG specific technology and practicums
- Behavioral and social science
National Registration Requirements
The American Board of Registration of Electroencephalographic and Evoked Potential Technologists is the national credentialing board for EEG technicians (www.abret.org). In order to be eligible to take the registry exam, you must be CPR certified and a student or graduate of a training program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. You may also qualify if you have three years of approved EEG experience, hold an associate's degree with one year of clinical EEG experience or are renewing certification.
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