Neurodiagnostic Technologist

Certified Neurodiagnostic Technologist, Clinical Supervisor, Epilepsy Monitoring Unit   More Names
Electroencephalograph Technician, Electroencephalograph Technologist, Electroneurodiagnostic Technologist, Electroneurodiagnostic Technologist Coordinator, Electrophysiology Technician, Electrophysiology Technologist, Laboratory Technologist, Lead Neurodiagnostic Technologist, Manager, Neurodiagnostic Laboratory & Epilepsy Center (Manager, Neurodiagnostic Lab & Epilepsy Center), Medical Technologist, Neurodiagnostic Technician, Neurodiagnostic Technologist, Neurodiagnostic Technologists, Polysomnographic Technologist, Polysomnography Technician, Polysomnography Technologist, Registered Electroneurodiagnostic Technologist, Registered Polysomnographic Technologist, Senior Technologist
Description

Perform neurodiagnostic tests such as electroencephalographs (EEGs), polysomnograms, and other specialized brain and nervous system tests. Mark locations where electrodes are to be placed on the patient, attach electrodes to patients using adhesives, and conduct the appropriate tests.

Monitor patients during test procedures or surgeries using EEG, evoked potential study instruments, or video recording equipment. Work under the direction of neurologists, surgeons, and other physicians.

Neurondiagnostic (NDT) technologists are employed in hospitals, clinics, specialized imaging centers, private physicians' offices, epilepsy monitoring units, sleep disorder centers, and research institutions. Some also work for neurodiagnostic centers run as part of local, state, or federal government agency medical care services. Within a hospital, neurodiagnostic procedures often are performed in acute and critical care areas, such as the operating room, intensive care units, and the emergency room.

Neurodiagnostic technologists are specially trained healthcare professionals who conduct complex tests involving the monitoring, recording, analysis, and study of the brain and nervous system, including the spinal cord and peripheral nervous system. They use specialized equipment to monitor how well a patient's nervous system is functioning, so physicians can identify and treat neurological problems.

Using equipment such as an electroencephalograph (EEG) machine, a neurodiagnostic technologist can record electrical impulses that the nervous system and the brain transmit. They aid neurologists, surgeons, and other physicians in the diagnosis of brain tumors, strokes, epilepsy, and various sleep disorders. Measuring the effects that certain infectious diseases have on the brain and analyzing whether a patient has a medical condition, such as Alzheimer's disease, are also among their duties.

Neurodiagnostic technologists use specialized equipment to monitor how well a patient's nervous system is functioning, so doctors can identify and treat neurological problems. They receive extensive training in neurophysiology, so they can identify normal and abnormal electrical activity in the brain, central, and peripheral nervous systems. By recording electrical patterns throughout these systems, they provide valuable data that a physician will use to diagnose and treat conditions such as headaches, dizziness, seizure disorders, strokes and degenerative brain disease.

Some of the tests and procedures performed by neurodiagnostic technologists include: EEGs (used to assess brain activity); polysomnograms (used to diagnose sleep disorders); intraoperative neuromonitoring (used to track brain and nerve functioning during surgery); long-term monitoring and ICU (used to diagnose seizures and other disorders); evoked potential studies (used to measure neurological responses to external stimuli to trace electrical pathways); and nerve conduction studies (used to measure the time it takes to send an electrical signal along a nerve to a particular muscle).

For example, when preparing a patient for an EEG a neurodiagnostic technologist will brief a patient and take a short medical history. They then will place electrodes on the head of the patient in order to record the EEG. The resulting report is then given to the patient's neurologist, surgeon, or other physician. The EEG is the most common test performed by neurodiagnostic technologists. They also are responsible for maintaining and calibrating test equipment, and for ensuring the safety of patients and staff.

Neurologists, surgeons, and other physicians depend on neurodiagnostic technologists to provide accurate data and analysis. The neurodiagnostic technologist must, therefore, have the knowledge, judgment and critical thinking skills to ensure that the results reported are accurate and complete.

Neurodiagnostic technologist can be either an entry-level or mid-level step in the medical and clinical laboratory field. They may progress to assume supervisory responsibilities, but also may choose to become trained and certified in other clinical specialties or medical diagnostic specialties.

Credentials Needed: Some states may license or otherwise regulate the occupation of neurodiagnostic technologist. Requirements vary from state-to-state and are updated periodically. As a result, it is a good idea to check with your state when beginning your studies to see if they have current licensing requirements to work as a neurodiagnostic technologist. Often a state's department of health and mental hygiene is a good starting point to search for this information.

The American Board of Registration of Electroencephalographic and Evoked Potential Technologists (ABRET) sponsors several voluntary industry-based certifications for neurodiagnostic technologists, including Electroencephalographic (EEG); Certified Evoked Potential (EP); Neurophysiologic Intraoperative Monitoring (CNIM), and Long Term Monitoring (CLTM) Certification examination candidates must meet the particular eligibility requirements associated with each certification. However, a current cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification is required for all exam candidates. To obtain current CPR training and certification, courses are offered by the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross. More information about the eligibility requirements for each of these ABRET certifications is available on their website.

Some Key Things to Remember: Neurodiagnostic technologists perform neurodiagnostic tests such as EEGs, polysomnograms, and other specialized brain and nervous system tests. They use specialized equipment to monitor how well a patient's brain and nervous system is functioning, so physicians can identify and treat neurological problems. A one-year certificate or two-year associate's degree in neurodiagnostic education and training is the most common form of education attainment for an entry-level neurodiagnostic technologist. Some states may license or otherwise regulate this occupation.

Reviewed for content and accuracy by the Committee on Accreditation for Education in Neurodiagnostic Technology and The Neurodiagnostic Society, May 2, 2012.

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Job Growth and Wages
Percent Job Growth:  
23% - Much faster than average
Typical Wages (National):  
Annual: $32,460 - $55,550    Hourly: $16 - $27
Physical/Medical/Health Requirements

No specifc requirement is identified at this time.

Legal Requirements
General/Nationwide
State-Specific
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Career Snapshot

Typical Education:

Associate's Degree (High School + 2 or more Years)
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Percent Job Growth:

23% - Much faster than average
Find Jobs

Typical Wages:

Annual: $32,460 - $55,550

Hourly: $16 - $27