Electroneuro- diagnostic Technologists Career Information
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Significant Points- Although faster than average employment growth is expected,
relatively few job openings will be created because the occupation is small.
- Most technologists learn on the job, but opportunities should be best for technologists with formal postsecondary training.
Nature of the WorkBrain waves are electrical impulses which can be recorded by
electroencephalograph (EEG) technologist using an EEG machine.
Since technologists often perform other related tests as well,
may also be called electroneurodiagnostic or neurophysiologic
technologists. The tests performed by these technologists help
neurologists physicians who study the brain to diagnose brain
tumors, strokes, toxic/metabolic disorders, and epilepsy; to
the effects of infectious diseases on the brain; and to determine
whether individuals with mental or behavioral problems have
organic impairment such as Alzheimer's disease. They are also used
to determine cerebral death, the absence of brain activity,
assess the probability of a recovery from a coma.
For basic, resting EEG's, technologists take patients' medical
histories and help them relax. Then they apply electrodes to
designated spots on the patient's head and choose the most
appropriate combination of instrument controls and electrodes
produce the kind of record needed. Technologists correct for
electrical or mechanical events that come from somewhere other
the brain, such as eye movement or interference from electrical
Increasingly, technologists perform EEG's in the operating
which requires that they understand anesthesia's effect on
For special procedure EEG's, technologists may secure electrodes
the chest, arm, leg, or spinal column to record activity from
the central and peripheral nervous systems.
In ambulatory monitoring, EEG technologists monitor the brain,
sometimes the heart, while patients carry out normal activities
a 24-hour period. Then they remove the small recorder carried by
the patients and obtain a readout. Technologists review the
readouts, a process which can take several hours, selecting
for the physician to examine.
Using evoked potential testing, technologists measure sensory
physical responses to specific stimuli. After the electrodes have
been attached, technologists set the instrument for the type
intensity of the stimulus, increase the intensity until the
reacts, and note the sensation level. The tests may take from 1 to
For nerve conduction tests, used to diagnose muscle and nerve
problems, technologists place electrodes on the patient's skin
a nerve and over the muscle. Then they stimulate the nerve with an
electrical current and record how long it takes the nerve impulse
reach the muscle.
Specialized electroneurodiagnostic technologists also administer
sleep studies and perform quantitative EEG's (sometimes called
wave mapping). For sleep studies, technologists monitor respiration
and heart activity in addition to brain wave activity. They must
know the various stages of sleep and the dynamics of the neurologic
and cardiopulmonary systems during each stage. Technologists
coordinate readings from several organ systems, separating
according to the stages of sleep, and relay them to the physician.
For quantitative EEG's, technologists decide which sections
of the EEG
should be transformed into color-coded pictures of brain wave
frequency and intensity, for interpretation by a physician. They
may also write technical reports summarizing test results.
Technologists also look for changes in the patient's neurologic,
cardiac, and respiratory status, which may indicate an emergency,
such as a heart attack, and provide emergency care until help
EEG technologists may have supervisory or administrative
responsibilities. They may manage an EEG laboratory, arrange work
schedules, keep records, schedule appointments, order supplies,
provide instruction in EEG techniques. Technologists may also be
responsible for the equipment's upkeep.
EEG technologists test for brain and nervous system disorders.
Working ConditionsEEG technologists usually work in clean, well-lighted surroundings,
and spend about half of their time on their feet.
lifting are necessary since they may work with patients who
ill and require assistance. EEG technologists in hospitals may do
all their work in a single room, or may push equipment to patients'
bedsides and obtain recordings there.
Most technologists work a standard workweek, although those in hospitals may be on call (ready to report to work at a moment's notice) evenings, weekends, and holidays. Those performing sleep studies may work evenings and nights.
EmploymentEEG technologists held more than 6,400 jobs in 2009. Most worked in EEG or neurology laboratories of hospitals. Others worked in offices and clinics of neurologists and neurosurgeons, health maintenance organizations, and psychiatric facilities.
Training, Qualifications, Adv.EEG technologists generally learn their skills on the job, although some complete formal training programs. Often, EEG trainees transfer from other hospital jobs, such as licensed practical nurse. Applicants for trainee positions in hospitals need at least a high school diploma, while some hospitals require post secondary training.
Formal post secondary training is offered in hospitals and community colleges. The Joint Review Committee on Education in Electroneurodiagnostic Technology has approved 13 formal programs. Programs usually last from 1 to 2 years and include laboratory experience as well as classroom instruction in human anatomy and physiology, neurology, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, medical terminology, computer technology, electronics and instrumentation. Graduates receive associate degrees or certificates.
The American Board of Registration of Electroencephalographic and Evoked Potential Technologists awards the credential Registered EEG Technologist to qualified applicants. This board also accredits technologists evoked potentials as Registered Evoked Potential Technologist. Although not generally required for staff level jobs, registration indicates professional competence, and usually is necessary for supervisory or teaching jobs.
Technologists should have manual dexterity, good vision, writing skills, an aptitude for working with electronic equipment, and the ability to work with patients as well as with other health personnel. High school courses in health, biology, and mathematics are useful.EEG technologists in large hospitals can advance to jobs performing more difficult tests and then to chief EEG technologist, who manages the EEG laboratory. Chief EEG technologists generally are supervised by a physician an electroencephalographer, neurologist, or neurosurgeon. Technologists may also teach or go into research.
Job OutlookEmployment of EEG technologists is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2009, reflecting the increased numbers of neurodiagnostic tests performed. There will be more testing as new tests and procedures are developed, and as the older population, which requires more medical care, grows rapidly. Most job openings will result from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force.
Most jobs will still be found in hospitals; however, growth will be fastest in offices and clinics of neurologists.
EarningsAccording to a University of Texas Medical Branch national survey of hospitals and medical centers, the median annual salary of EEG technologists, based on a 40 hour week and excluding shift or area differentials, was $27,369 in October 2009. The average minimum salary was $20,695 and the average maximum was $29,736.
Related OccupationsOther health personnel who operate medical equipment include
radiologic technologists, nuclear medicine technologists,
perfusionists, and cardiovascular (EKG) technologists.
Sources of Additional Information Local hospitals can supply information about employment opportunities.
For general information about a career in electroencephalography as well as a list of accredited training programs, contact:
Executive Office, American Society of Electroneurodiagnostic Technologists, Inc., 204 W. 7th, Carroll, IA 51401.
For information on work in sleep studies, contact:Association of Polysomnographic Technology, 1610 14th St. NW., Suite 300, Rochester, MN 55901. Information about specific accredited training programs is also available from:
Joint Review Committee on Electroneurodiagnostic Technology, P.O. Box 11434, Norfolk, VA 23517.
Information on becoming a registered EEG technologist is available from:
American Board of Registration of Electroencephalgraphic and Evoked Potential Technologists, P.O. Box 11434, Norfolk, VA 23517.