CEC’s: BRPT vs. AASM
Continuing education is required by most healthcare fields. With advancing technology and constantly emerging research in medicine, continuous education is needed for those involved in healthcare. Continuing education may be required to maintain a credential, licensure, and/or compliance with certain standards set by an accrediting organization.
For a sleep technologist, required continuing education can be a complicated topic. How many credits do I need? How long do I have to get them? How do I get them? What kind of education is accepted? Which credential, license, or organization will accept/require specific continuing education credits (CECs)? These questions will be answered in this article.
The Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (BRPT) administers the Registered Polysomnographic Technologist (RPSGT) exam. This exam is identified as the leading credential for sleep technologists. To maintain the RPSGT credential, the BRPT requires 50 hours of continuing education over a 5 year period. An alternative to this would be to take and pass the exam again in 5 years.
For recertification, the BRPT only accepts a certain number of continuing education hours depending upon the program type. Only 30 of the 50 hours can be obtained by approved online training courses. Reading approved journals and magazines are accepted for only 15 of the 50 hours. Readings and online training programs both require program evaluations to acquire credits. Ten of the 50 hours can be attained by approved in-services and case conferences. All 50 hours are accepted through sleep-related programs (i.e. conferences and seminars).
Not to be confused with the BRPT is the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). By following certain standards, sleep facilities can be accredited by the AASM. One of the standards addresses continuing education for sleep technologists. The AASM requires that all sleep center technical staff obtain CECs. However, the program type is not specified. In addition, instead of the 50 hours in 5 years required by the BRPT, the AASM requires an average of 10 per year over 3 years. These CECs can be obtained within the sleep facility by providing an informal educational gathering among sleep technologists. The standard states, ” the session (must have) defined objective(s) and attendance documented by a roster signed by the medical director.” Keep in mind that the AASM requires these CECs for ALL technical staff: technicians, technologists, therapists, nurses, RPSGT’s, non-RPSGT’s, etc.
It may be difficult enough to sort through the alphabet soup of AASM, AAST, RPSGT, BRPT, AARC, NBRC, etc. To add to the difficulty with the acronyms, different organizations require different program types for different staff in different time frames. Those of us in the field of sleep medicine must continually expand our knowledge base by participating in various continuing education programs. Understanding which programs are accepted by which organizations is part of this education.