What does a neurodiagnostic technologist do?
Neurodiagnostic technologists perform many tests that diagnose problems with the brain and nervous system, as well as sleep disorders. They use state-of-the-art digital equipment to record electrical patterns throughout the brain and nervous system, which result in valuable data that the doctor needs to diagnose and treat the patient. The data gathered from these tests can help diagnose conditions like epilepsy, seizure disorders, strokes, degenerative brain disease, among others.
Scope of practice
Collaborating with doctors to treat patients who range in age from newborns to the elderly, neurodiagnostic technologists perform many tests that help diagnose brain and nervous system disorders.
Tests and procedures they perform include:
- Electroencephalograms (EEGs) that are used to assess brain activity
- Magnetoencephalography which detects and records magnetic fields in the brain
- Intraoperative neuromonitoring to track brain and nerve function while in surgery
- Polysomnograms that are used to diagnose sleep disorders
In addition to the many advanced tests and procedures they perform, neurodiagnostic technologists are also responsible for patient safety and maintaining equipment.
Neurodiagnostic technologists typically work in hospitals, outpatient clinics, doctors’ offices, research facilities, sleep labs, and epilepsy monitoring units. This role comes in close contact with patients and spends many hours on their feet performing tests. The tests they perform can last a few hours to continuous daily monitoring. Work schedules often vary to accommodate patients’ schedules, which may include working nights and weekends.
Becoming a neurodiagnostic technologist
Prepare for a career as a neurodiagnostic technologist by taking courses in computers, math, science, and biology while you are in high school. Volunteer work at a hospital or other health care facility can also be very helpful as you begin to pursue this career.
Higher education requirements
A degree is not technically required to be a neurodiagnostic technician, though it can definitely help you secure employment. However, many neurodiagnostic technicians complete the below educational pathway:
- Completing an associate degree
- Completing a neurodiagnostic technologist certificate program
After completing a 2-year program, you are eligible to take a professional certification exam with the Nerve Conduction Association (AAET), American Board of Electrodiagnostic Medicine (ABEM), ABRET Neurodiagnostic Credentialing and Accreditation, or Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (BRPT).
Career opportunities and outlook
Neurodiagnostic Technologists can expect a median salary of $50,000.
Career opportunities for neurodiagnostic technologists are on the rise, due to the increased use of EEG, as well as an increase in epilepsy and sleep studies. Throughout the U.S., the number of job opportunities exceeds the number of graduates.
With additional training and experience, some technologists advance to specialty positions within the field, such as monitoring and analyzing data during surgery.
By the numbers
Neurodiagnostic technologist programs at Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic offers a Clinical Neurophysiology Technology Program in Rochester, Minnesota, and an Electroneurodiagnostic Clinical Rotation in Phoenix, Arizona, to prepare students for a career as a neurodiagnostic technologist.