Neurodiagnostic Technologists (NDTs) 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.
The most common tests performed by NDTs are electroencephalograms to assess the quality and/or presence of brain activity. Polysomnography is used to assess and treat sleep disorders. NDTs are frequently included in operating room teams, where they monitor patients’ brain activities during surgery. The majority of NDTs work in acute care hospitals, but they also practice in clinics, physician offices, epilepsy monitoring units and sleep centers.
The ideal NDT possesses acumen for technology, excellent oral communication skills, clear judgment, strong critical thinking skills and a penchant for accuracy.
NDTs are typically paid on an hourly basis and are eligible for overtime, health, vacation and pension/401K benefits. NDTs usually work 40-hour weeks, but schedules vary from “as needed” to eight- and 12-hour shifts.
For NDTs to commence practice, employers might require candidates to receive an Associate’s Degree from a program that has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. Employers also strongly encourage that graduates sit for a certification exam sponsored by the American Board of Registration of Neurodiagnostic Technologists and evoked potential Technologists.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not specifically recognize NDT as a profession because of the diversity of practice within the profession. However, the BLS forecasts that similar professions will grow from 22-25 percent between 2012 and 2022 or twice as fast as the average profession in the U.S.
How does it feel to be an NDT?
They are highly respected by their health care teams for their very specialized skill set and contributions to patient care. NDTs take less satisfaction from patient relationships but receive great rewards from their mastery of specialized technology and processes. At times, NDTs literally measure the presence of life or death.