Jobs in the medical industry continue to be in high demand, including the career field of electroencephalographic (EEG) technicians. In a short period of time, you can be on your way to a rewarding career as an EEG technician, where you will enjoy making a difference for others, as well as a great income.
About EEG Technicians
EEG technicians are skilled professionals trained in the use of a medical diagnostic machine called an electroencephalograph. The non-invasive device is capable of monitoring the nervous system and can also gauge a patient's brain wave activity. It is used by doctors to diagnose various medical conditions such as Alzheimer's, tumors and head injuries. EEG testing is often performed on patients who are in a coma to determine whether or not they may be brain dead.
Prior to testing, an EEG technician has the responsibility of a pretest consultation. During this time, the technician gathers and records the patient's medical history. Also part of the EEG technician's job is to help calm patients prior to the procedure, as they are often stressed or frightened. To undergo the test, the patient must have a series of between 16 and 25 flat metal electrodes attached to her scalp. Some facilities may have a cap that can be fitted, but often the EEG technician must attach these electrodes manually and secure them with an adhesive paste.
The EEG test itself takes about 30 minutes of time, during which the EEG technician will be using various flashing lights to stimulate brain activity in the patient. During this time, the EEG technician must be sure the patient keeps her eyes shut and maintains a normal breathing pattern. The patient's heart rate is normally monitored during this process. Other duties that you will perform as an EEG technician include ordering supplies, maintaining EEG equipment and scheduling testing appointments for patients. EEG technicians also report their findings to doctors.
Education and Training
Some EEG technicians receive on-the-job training at either hospitals or private physician's offices. Most employers, however, do prefer some formal education in the field. Most allied health schools and junior colleges have EEG technician programs. The average program length is about two years. After a minimum of three years of EEG technician job experience, you may then qualify to sit for accreditation testing through the American Board of Registration of Electroencephalographic Technicians.
Salaries for EEG technicians vary from one geographic region to another, but an August 2009 survey by Payscale.com reports those with one or more years of experience earn a median of between $12.46 and $19.59 an hour. Those who have been on the job at least five years or more can earn up to $19.84 an hour or $41,267 annually. EEG technicians who have worked at least 10 years are reporting earning a median income of $23.39 on the high end, or $48,651 a year.
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