Electroneurodiagnostic (END) technologists work in the healthcare field and are charged with studying and recording the activity of the brain and the nervous system. For this, they use a variety of instruments and techniques. They are trained to operate this equipment, so they can accurately monitor the recorded activity from the brain, peripheral nerves, spinal cord, and all other parts forming the nervous system.
This is an important role in the provision of healthcare, as doctors rely on these END results to diagnose different health disorders. These include stroke, epilepsy, brain tumors, Alzheimer’s disease, and sleep disorders among others.
END technologists work under neurologists and interact directly with patients, which is an important part of their job.
Electroneurodiagnostic Technologist Job Responsibilities
Part of the responsibilities of an END technologist is preparing the patient for the electroneurodiagnostic procedure. They take the patient’s history, record their electric potentials and calculate the results.
The END technologist is responsible for fitting electrodes to a patient’s head. They choose the most appropriate instrument controls and electrode combination in order to obtain accurate data.
END technologists are charged with conducting the electroencephalogram (EEG), which records electrical brain activity, the evoked potential (EP) test, which records electrical activity in the nervous system and the polysomnogram (PSG), which is used to diagnose sleep disorders.
They are also responsible for maintaining END equipment. As they already have sufficient knowledge of how this equipment works, they are able to notice when the performance of any instrument is not optimal. They will also notice when an instrument becomes malfunctioned. This is important in ensuring that the instruments give a correct reading.
Electroneurodiagnostic Technologist Training and Education Requirements
To join the job market at entry level, one must have at least a high school diploma. That means anyone with an associate or undergraduate degree can also become an END technologist. Most of the hands-on skills are offered on the job, with many hospitals providing on the job training.
There are a number of END technology associate degree programs offered by technical and community colleges. These take between one and two years. Before enrolling for one of these, one should check that they are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
Electroneurodiagnostic Technologist Salary and Wages
END technologist earnings vary depending on level of education and experience. On average though, an END technologist takes home $48,000 a year. Lower tier EEND technologists earn $34,000 on average, while the highest earning take home around $55,000. The earning potential of an END technologist increases as one moves up the career ranks. An END technologist can rise to a managerial position, becoming the head of the END department in a hospital.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Most END technologist job openings are found in hospitals, both state-sponsored and private. END technologists can also find work in clinics and neurologists’ offices. Job opportunity projections for this field are mixed. Demand for END technology is certainly going to be higher in the coming years, but with advancement in technology, systems that perform electrical analyses without any manual manipulation are likely to be developed.
However, there are duties that only a human END technologist can perform, such as moving patients who are too ill to move on their own. For this, END technologists will remain an integral part of any healthcare facility.
Electroneurodiagnostic Technologist Certifications
Electroneurodiagnostic technologists can receive certification in nerve conduction studies from the American Association of Electrodiagnostic Technologists. They can also receive certification in the three different areas of practice under END. These are offered by the American Board of Registration of Electroencephalographic and Evoked Potential Technologists.
Certifications awarded by this body are Registered EEG Technologist, Registered Evoked Potential Technologist and Certificate in Neurophysiologic Intraoperative Monitoring. Certification in polysomnographic technologies is offered by the Association of Polysomnographic Technologists. The body is also responsible for the registration of qualified polysomnographic technologists.
END technologists who want to specialize in EEG, EP or PSG can apply for certification in each specific field. To become a general END technologist, one must get certification from the American Association of Electrodiagnostic Technologists.
Certification is not mandatory for entry-level positions. However, if one hopes to advance their career, certification will help in portraying a higher level of professionalism. To qualify for certification, one must have worked in a sleep institution for a minimum of one year.
Electroneurodiagnostic Technologist Professional Associations
The main professional body for electroneurodiagnostic technologists is the American Society of Electroneurodiagnostic Technologists (ASET). The association provides advocacy, leadership and resources that promote excellence in the profession. It strives to meet members’ needs, defines and endorses standards of practice, provides innovative educational opportunities and builds coalitions in allied health communities and other parties of interest.
Another professional association for END technologists is Florida-based Southern Society of Electroneurodiagnostic Technologists (SSET), which was formed in 1960. Its membership is open to practicing technologists, trainees and END students.