Electroneurodiagnostics is the field devoted to studying the nervous system. Technologists in this field monitor, record, interpret, and study the brain and other components of the nervous system utilizing highly specialized and technical tests and instruments. With advances in technology, this field now encompasses far more than just electroencephalography (E.E.G.); however, it remains the primary focus, as it studies the functionality of the brain.
These technologists may also be known as E.E.G. technologists, E.N.D. (electroneurodiagnostic) technologists, evoked potential technologists, sleep (polysomnographic) technologists, nerve conduction technologists, and intraoperative neurophysiologic technologists. E.E.G. technicians are being phased out, and in many cases this term now refers to technologists waiting to take registration exams.
Electroencephalography is used to record brain wave activity to help diagnose stroke, trauma, infectious disease, tumors, and other medical conditions such as Alzheimer's. It is also used to determine brain death. Evoked potential studies monitor visual, auditory, and somatosensory (sensations such as pain, touch, temperature) systems. Nerve conduction studies study the peripheral nerves and the response to stimuli. Polysomnography studies nighttime sleep patterns, and intraoperative neurophysiologic monitoring is the monitoring of the brain, spinal cord, and other nervous system components during surgery.
Duties, Activities, and Scope of Practice
The E.N.D. is responsible for recording the activity of the brain or other components of the nervous system according to the test ordered by the physician. E.N.D.s obtain a brief medical history from the patient, then explain the procedure and prepare and position the patient. They apply the appropriate combination of electrodes and instrument controls and conduct the test.
During the testing they observe the patient's behavior, respiration pattern, and cardiac and neurological data. They are trained in what normal and abnormal activity looks like and how to record the data. They are also trained in how to respond to any medical emergency that might come up during the testing.
When the test is complete, they remove the electrodes and debrief the patient. They will then send a report to the physician or encephalographer describing the events during the testing, as well as a tracing of the electrical activity.
Education and Training
Prior to 2005, on-the-job training was allowed for entry-level positions in this profession. That standard has now changed and an associate's degree is required. CAAHEP accredits many programs through community colleges and vocational schools. Bachelor's degrees are also available through many colleges and universities.
In addition to general-education courses, the curriculum includes neurology, neuroanatomy, anatomy and physiology, and neurophysiology, in addition to the use of the diagnostic equipment and instrumentation. Classroom education as well as supervised clinical practice is standard.
There is currently no licensure requirement for E.N.D. technologists, but they can become registered and demonstrate competency through examination. The American Board of Registration for Encephalographic and Evoked Potential Technologists (ABRET) administers the examination to those who have met education and employment requirements. Those who pass may use the designation R. E.E.G. T. (registered E.E.G. technologist). ABRET also offers examinations in evoked potentials and intraoperative neurophysiologic testing.
Work Settings and Salaries
E.N.D.s work primarily in hospitals. Often they only work the day shift and rotate being on call for evening and night emergencies, weekends, or holidays. Those who perform sleep studies have to be available at night. Some work in the offices of neurologists and neurosurgeons.
The American Society of Electroneurodiagnostic Technologists reports the average salary in 2003 for E.N.D.s was approximately $45,000. Salaries range from $30,000 to $70,000 per year, depending on experience, education, and location.
Career Potential and Additional Information
This field is expected to grow as the population ages and requires more studies into the activity of the neurological system. New and advanced technology in this field will open more opportunities as well.
For more information about careers in the field of electroneurodiagnostics, contact the American Society of Electroneurodiagnostic Technologists (ASET). Their Web site is