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Polysomnography Program

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Polysomnographer?

Polysomnographers perform sleep studies to help physician's diagnosis and treat sleep disorders. They do this by recording data from tests that measure eye movement and brain waves. They must be able to communicate with patients to obtain information regarding their symptoms. Through the use of technology, they observe patients during the sleep study for breathing patterns and body movement. Polysomnographers work in research centers, hospitals and sleep laboratories. 

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How does this program prepare me for a career?

The Polysomnography Certificate Program is an exciting three semester program providing the student with a solid foundation of classroom, lab, and clinical training to perform diagnostic testing in the study of sleep. Upon Accreditation, this Program can prepare students for sitting for the national board for Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (RPSGT).

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What are the program outcomes for the Polysomnography Certificate?

Upon completion of this program a student will be able to:

  • Explain the realm of polysomnography to the public.
  • Use culturally appropriate therapeutic and professional communication techniques with patients and the health care team.
  • Conduct polysomnographic studies in accordance with established legal and ethical guidelines.
  • Apply knowledge of cardiopulmonary and neuromuscular anatomy and physiology while obtaining and reading polysomnograms.
  • Explain human anatomy and physiology as it relates to sleep disorders and how sleep disorders affect anatomy and physiology.
  • Apply knowledge of the respiratory system and electrical biopotentials while obtaining and reading polysomnograms.
  • Discuss the major sleep and arousal disorders based on age-specific criteria.
  • Use knowledge of polysomnographic research to maintain currency in practice.
  • Operate a variety of polysomnographic and ancillary equipment required for obtaining polysomnograms and providing therapeutic interventions.
  • Adjust equipment for obtaining a polysomnograms with valid clinical data.
  • Discriminate between the impact of pharmacological agents used to treat sleep disorders and those in common use that affect the polysomnogram.
  • Apply standard age-specific criteria for scoring polysomnograms.
  • Generate an accurate report that integrates abnormal physiological events and sleep stage scoring.
  • Evaluate the patient’s clinical presentation associated with specific sleep and arousal disorders for determination of appropriate protocols, testing parameters, procedures and therapeutic interventions.
  • Adapt polysomnographic procedures based on the patient’s disease process, risk for infection, culture and special physical, emotional, and cognitive needs.
  • Prepare patients for all aspects of polysomnographic testing.
  • Respond to patient needs during polysomnographic testing.
  • Maintain patient safety at all times.

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What professions can I expect to enter after completing this program?

The Polysomnographic Technologist performs a vital role in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders. The field has shown significant growth due to increased public awareness of sleep disorders.  Sleep technologists obtain certification through the board examination to acquire the credential of Registered Polysomnographic Technologist (RPSGT).  Those who become certified may choose to work in clinical and research settings, hospitals and sleep laboratories as a certified Polysomnographer.  Occupational opportunities include positions in managerial and marketing of sleep centers, product support and sales, public and patient education regarding sleep hygiene and relaxation counseling.

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What is the employment outlook for the next decade?

With insomnia and other sleep and arousal disorders on the rise, it is expected that the expansion of sleep centers will continue to occur.  The obesity epidemic, alone, will account for a substantial rise in patients needing to have sleep studies related to the co-morbidity of sleep apnea.  Additionally, the high stress experienced by those who live and work within the metropolitan Washington D.C.-Baltimore-Frederick area contributes to other sleep disorders that will need to be assessed and treated.

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Is this program accredited or certified?

The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).  CAAHEP accreditation certifies the program's substantial compliance with the rigorous, nationally accepted accreditation standards as outlined by the Committee on Accreditation of Polysomnographic Technologist Education (CoAPSG). Additionally, CAAHEP accreditation is the educational route into Polysomnographic Technology that is a recognized pathway into Sleep Technologist Licensure in the State of Maryland as well as in Washington DC.                                                                                                                         

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I am just out of high school, but I know I want to get into a health sciences program where do I start?

The first thing you want to do is complete a Montgomery College admission application with a non-refundable $25 fee.  From there, you will want to either have your official SAT, ACT, or TOEFL scores sent to the Admissions Office or you will want to sign up to take Montgomery College placement assessments.  After you take the placement test, you will have your scores given to you at an Advising session.  If you have already completed college level coursework, you will want your official transcript sent to the Admissions Office.  In either situation, your next step will be to attend a Polysomnography information session.

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What is the difference between a pre-requisite and a priority course?

Pre-requisites are the minimum criteria that you must meet so that you are allowed to submit an application.  Priority courses go above the pre-requisites and make you a competitive candidate.  However, at this time, this program does not have priority courses but may choose to do so in the future.  You must be eligible to take ENGL 101 or ENGL 101A and READ 120.

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What is the admissions requirements and deadline to apply to the program? 

For admission requirements, see the Health Science Admissions Application. The deadline to apply is March 1st for Fall Admissions.

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Can I apply to more than one health science program at a time?

Yes, you can.  The same application is used for all the health science programs, however for filing purposes it is best to complete one application per program.  In order to have the best chances of getting in, make sure to pay attention to any variations in pre-requisites.

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How is my GPA calculated for admission?

Your GPA is calculated based on grades earned in the semesters in which your most recent 24 college level credits were attempted (ALL credit bearing classes are counted, including AELP grades).  If you have not completed 24 college level credits, then high school records will be included in this calculation.

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 Who calculates the GPA?

The health sciences admissions staff in the Admission Office will calculate GPA's.

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 What GPA do I need to make sure that I will get into the Polysomnography program?

We can not answer this question because every semester is different.  The GPA that is needed depends on the number and pool of applicants that we receive each semester.  Basically, you need to know that the minimum GPA is 2.5 and our programs are competitive so you will want to be as high as possible.  There are no guarantees for getting into the program.

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 How much does the program cost?

Students are charged per credit hour. Credit hours have different rates depending on student residence.  Check the tuition and fee schedule for rate fees.  Once you are accepted into the program, if you live in Maryland, the courses that are specific to the program (PO) are calculated at the in county rate.  To learn more about financial aid options

Note this does not include courses that have other designators outside of the program (ie. BIOL, PSYC, SOCY, MATH, or ENGL).

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 How much does it cost to start the program? CPR fees? Background checks?

This information can be obtained at the program information session.  To attend the next information session, check the website for times and dates.

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 How long will it take to finish the program?

Once you start the actual health sciences program, it will typically take one full year to complete the certificate program.

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 Can I work full-time while I am in a health sciences program?

Although we can not forbid you from working while enrolled in the health sciences program, all of the programs are a full-time commitment and require out of class work.  In order to best prepare you for the field, students are highly discouraged from working full-time while in the program.

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 Are the health science classes held at night or online?

The Polysomnography Program courses are held in the late afternoon/evenings and on Saturdays.

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 I applied to the program and I want to make sure that they received my application, who should I call?

All applications are received and processed by admissions.  Please call 240-567-1615 to check if your application was received.

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Whom do I contact for more information?

Polysomnography Program Coordinator
Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus

Phone: (240) 567-5801

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Montgomery College

Montgomery County, MD


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