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Position on Education

  Sleep medicine is a recognized medical subspecialty comprised of multiple, diverse medical disciplines and encompasses a distinct set of knowledge, skills and abilities. Polysomnography is the measurement of sleep and physiological parameters during sleep for the evaluation of sleep disorders.

Technologists who conduct polysomnographic studies are trained in:
  • Neurophysiology of sleep and wakefulness;
  • Cardiorespiratory anatomy and physiology;
  • Pathophysiology of sleep disorders and related comorbidities;
  • Instrumentation and methodologies required for accurate collection and analysis of sleep data;
  • The recognition of patient and emergency situations; and,
  • The initiation and monitoring of treatment intervention.

Polysomnographic evaluation of sleep includes the collection and scoring/analysis of physiologic sleep data and the use of appropriate therapeutic interventions such as positive airway pressure and supplemental oxygen. Personnel trained to perform polysomnographic testing come from various allied health fields including sleep technology, respiratory care, neurodiagnostic technology and nursing.

The Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (BRPT) supports:
  • The promotion of polysomnographic (sleep) technology as a recognized allied health profession.
  • The establishment of high educational standards and professionalism through training, achieving and sustaining certification, and life-long learning.
  • Ensuring an adequate supply of well-trained technologists to meet the current and projected needs of the sleep medicine field.

The BRPT’s Registered Polysomnographic Technologist (RPSGT) credential was first awarded in 1979 and is recognized internationally as the “gold standard” in sleep technology. The credential distinguishes those technologists who have received training in sleep medicine and subsequently passed the RPSGT examination.  Accepted education and training avenues include formal polysomnography training programs, programs that provide comprehensive polysomnographic technology education in conjunction with another allied health program (such as Respiratory Therapy or Neurodiagnostics) or practical work experience under the direction of a qualified sleep specialist paired with core education requirements.
 
In March 2010 the BRPT launched the Certified Polysomnographic Technician (CPSGT) examination, intended for individuals new to a career in sleep. Like the RPSGT credential, the CPSGT is awarded based on education, training, and successful completion of the CPSGT examination. The CPSGT credential is valid for up to three years, cannot be renewed, and requires the holder to earn 10 continuing education credits each year in which the certification is held. CPSGTs are expected to work consistently toward earning the RPSGT credential.

Additionally, the BRPT offers a Clinical Sleep Educator (CSE) certificate program, which awards qualifying participants with an assessment-based certificate as a Clinical Sleep Educator.

The BRPT Board of Directors’ priorities in the administration and management of the RPSGT and CPSGT certification programs are to ensure long-term viability of the programs through current, statistically valid and fair exams that are respected among stakeholders through rigorous eligibility requirements. These priorities have been integrated into the BRPT strategic plan and are the cornerstones of the organization.  The RPSGT credential is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), considered the gold standard in credential certification.

The BRPT provides, as public information, an exam blueprint and list of primary reference materials for both the RPSGT and the CPSGT exams. The exam blueprint is developed based on the results of a job task analysis, conducted periodically to assure that the exam content reflects the current responsibilities of a working sleep technician or technologist as well as the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform those responsibilities. The most recent job task analysis was conducted in 2012 and included a comprehensive survey of working sleep technologists and technicians. RPSGT and CPSGT exams are built against the current exam blueprints. 

The BRPT is committed to facilitating appropriate preparation of candidates for the RPSGT and CPSGT exams. BRPT provides examination preparatory materials, including candidate handbooks for both exams, a study guide for the RPSGT exam and online RPSGT practice exams.  It operates within the guidelines established by the organizational accrediting body, the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.  As a credentialing body, BRPT’s mission is to create educational materials to assist candidates and to promote life-long learning by its credential holders.  The education materials and offerings created by BRPT are not exclusively required for exam eligibility or recertification.  Instead, BRPT accepts and supports educational opportunities available to candidates and credential holders from all reputable sources. 

The BRPT does not accredit educational programs. The BRPT does, however, recognize those stand-alone polysomnography programs and polysomnography add-on programs that are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and polysomnography add-on programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). A list of these accredited polysomnography and polysomnography add-on programs can be found at www.caahep.org, www.coarc.com and on the BRPT website, www.brpt.org.   Through the BRPT’s Sleep Technology Approved Resource (STAR) Program, alternative education programs are reviewed and approved exclusively for exam eligibility; these programs receive the STAR designation specific to their educational format.  The STAR designation does not apply to CAAHEP or CoARC accredited education programs, but to education programs that are alternatives to the CAAHEP or CoARC accredited education. BRPT strongly encourages its STAR programs to seek CAAHEP or CoARC accreditation, the highest standard for polysomnography technology education.  More information on the STAR program can be found at www.brpt.org.



 
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