Would you be a good Neurodiagnostic Technologist?

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A few weeks ago, we introduced a helpful infographic designed to help those interested in a health care career narrow down some of their options depending on a series of targeted questions. Some students come to us knowing exactly what they'd like to do one day. They might have someone in their families whose footsteps they'd like to follow. Others might have encountered one of the professions as a patient. A qualified Respiratory Therapist or Physical Therapy Assistant was there during their greatest times of need. On the other hand, one thing we often find is that prospective students, like yourself, might not even be aware that a particular path exists. Take becoming a Neurodiagnostic Technologist (NDT). In short, technologists employ specialized equipment to determine how effectively a patient's nervous system is functioning. The test results they gather enable physicians to diagnose and treat conditions such as degenerative brain diseases, headaches, dizziness, seizure disorders, strokes, mental disorders, and sleep disorders.

Would you be a good fit for a neurodiagnostic program?

"Any student interested in how the brain, nervous system and body systems work together at a very detailed level would be a good fit," said Amber Magers, Neurodiagnostic Technology Program Director at Concorde-San Bernardino. In Magers opinion, a strong background in math and science, a high level of reading comprehension and an analytical mindset are good foundations for a successful student "An NDT needs to be very detail oriented and self-disciplined," she said. "They frequently work independently and must troubleshoot technical equipment proficiently." Along with having a strong analytical mindset, a technologist's role requires a certain level of interpersonal communication skills. NDTs have to communicate with patients as well as physicians. Oftentimes, undergoing neuro-testing can be stressful. Providing clear guidance, reassurance and interacting while running tests is key. Similarly, being able to communicate with doctors and nurses about a patient's needs and results are part of the job, too.

What you may want to consider...

In addition to the math and science components, Magers also points out that an NDT has to be "within a patient's 'personal space' for prolonged periods of time while applying electrodes in their hair and to the rest of their body." If you're uncomfortable with patient interaction or the possibility of witnessing neurosurgery at some point during your schooling, it might not be a fit. Although, Magers points out that there are many opportunities in the field after graduation that don't involve brain surgery.

Becoming a neurodiagnostic technologist

"This is a relatively new profession (compared to nursing, physical therapy, etc.)," said Magers. "Concorde has two of the 23 programs currently accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) in the country - San Bernardino, Calif. and  Grand Prairie, Texas and two of the 16 accredited programs that offer an Associate's degree or higher in NDT." "Highly and technically trained graduates are currently in high demand nationwide," said Magers. O*Net OnLine expects a 14 percent or higher growth rate by 2024 with nearly 34,000 open positions. Learning doesn't have to stop after earning an associate's degree in Neurodiagnostic Technology. Magers points out a graduate is eligible for many credentialing examinations after graduation. More specifically, according to The Houston Chronicle, "certification and credentialing are administered by organizations including The American Board of Registration of EEG and EP Technologists, the American Association of Electrodiagnostic Technologists, and the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists. Certification must be maintained through a program of ongoing continuing education."
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