In this study, we assessed the community and educational needs for sleep technologists by surveying program directors of nationally accredited polysomnography, electroneurodiagnostic technology, and respiratory care educational programs. Currently, little is known about our educational capacity and the need for advanced degrees for sleep medicine technical support.
A questionnaire was developed about current and future community and educational needs for sleep technologists. The questionnaire was sent to directors of CAAHEP-accredited polysomnography and electroneurodiagnostic technology programs (associate degree and certificate programs), and directors of CoARC-accredited respiratory therapy associate degree and bachelor degree programs (n = 358). Qualitative and quantitative data were collected via an internet survey tool. Data analysis was conducted with the IBM SPSS statistical package and included calculating means and standard deviations of the frequency of responses. Qualitative data was analyzed and classified based on emerging themes.
One hundred seven of 408 program directors completed the survey. Seventy-four percent agreed that demand for qualified sleep technologists will increase, yet 50% of those surveyed believe there are not enough educational programs to meet the demand. Seventy-eight percent of those surveyed agreed that the educational requirements for sleep technologists will soon increase; 79% of those surveyed believe sleep centers have a need for technologists with advanced training or specialization.
Our study shows educators of associate and certificate degree programs believe there is a need for a bachelor's degree in sleep science and technology.
A commentary on this article appears in this issue on page 1087.
Wells ME; Vaughn BV. Sleep technologists educational needs assessment: a survey of polysomnography, electroneurodiagnostic technology, and respiratory therapy education program directors. J Clin Sleep Med 2013;9(10):1081-1086.