Important Changes to CCSH Eligibility
By Jim Magruder
BRPT Executive Director
At their June 30, 2018 board meeting, the BRPT Board of Directors reviewed the current eligibility criteria for the CCSH exam. After lengthy deliberations, the Board recognized the current eligibility criteria may be unfairly excluding a number of seasoned sleep health professionals with RPSGTs who are ineligible to apply, simply because they lack an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. The Board weighed this matter very carefully against a preexisting goal of promoting higher education for those seeking the CCSH credential.
At the inception of the CCSH, the degree requirement seemed like a laudable and attainable goal. However, after four years of observing application volume within each of the different pathways (including the now defunct CSE Pathway 3), we learned that the overwhelming majority of candidates were RPSGTs who applied through Pathway 3. This was not due to the discounted exam fee. It was because it was the only way they could apply.
Most of these technologists had obtained their RSPGTs through self-study programs and OJT. They did not have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. In the year and a half leading up to the closure of PW3, hundreds of technologists with the CSE certificate applied through the temporary pathway. In response, the board extended the deadline twice, before closing it permanently on March 31, 2017.
Despite the push for higher education, since the credential was launched four years ago, upwards of 80% or more of the nearly 1,000 current CCSH credential holders do not have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. In addition, there remains an unknown number of RPSGTs without degrees who also:
• Never took the CSE certificate live (or online) program and/or were unable to meet the PW3 deadline on time; or
• Previously failed the CCSH exam and will never have an opportunity to retake the exam, because they’re currently ineligible through Pathways 1 and 2.
This is troubling, as our RPSGTs are an extremely valuable part of the BRPT community and will remain forever shut out of the CCSH if the degree requirement remains an obstacle. The notion these individuals should go back to college simply to meet eligibility for an exam is unrealistic for a number of reasons, including time involved, cost of college tuition, existing work commitments, etc.
Secondly, as previously noted, the goal of fostering higher education among CCSH credential holders has not materialized as planned. The number of current credential holders without an AD or BA vastly outweighs those who do.
In hindsight, it’s also interesting there was never a requirement the degree had to be at all related to healthcare or the sciences. I would submit an RPSGT with several years’ experience in a sleep lab setting is a more qualified and knowledgeable sleep health professional than someone with one year of experience and an associate’s degree in art history (or something equally as unrelated); yet the current eligibility criteria favors this applicant over the more seasoned technologist.
In light of these considerations, the BRPT Board of Directors has agreed to open an additional pathway for active RPSGT credential holders, who have recertified at least once and have completed a CCSH-designated focused education program.
This focused education program is currently under development by the AAST and will take time to roll out; but the goal is to have the eligibility pathway open in the summer of 2019. We will provide future updates as they become available.