Electroneurodiagnostic Technology FAQs

What do electroneurodiagnostic technologists do?

Electroneurodiagnostic technologists prepare patients for procedures, obtain medical histories, record electrical potentials, calculate results, maintain equipment and may work with specific treatments. They develop a good rapport with patients and comfort them during the recording procedure, which can last from 20 minutes (for a single nerve conduction study) to eight hours (for an overnight sleep study). EDT technologists understand neurophysiology and recognize the normal and abnormal electrical activity. They act as eyes and ears for specially trained doctors, who later review and interpret the data. Considerable individual initiative, reasoning skill and sound judgment are all expected of the EDT professional.

What types of procedures do EDT technologists perform?

The following are the most common electroneurodiagnostic procedures:

  • Electroencephalography (EEG) is the spontaneous electrical activity of the brain. EEGs assist in the diagnosis of various brain disorders, help evaluate the effects of head trauma or the consequences of severe infectious disease and assist in determining the level of consciousness or stages of sleep. EEG information can help determine that the brain receives oxygen during various surgeries. The EEG is the most known electroneurodiagnostic test.
  • Evoked potential (EP) is a recording of electrical activity from the brain, brain stem and peripheral nerves elicited by a specific stimulus to the visual, auditory or somatosensory pathways. The stimulus produces a characteristic wave pattern. EPs may be monitored during surgery while the patient is unconscious to help prevent damage to the nervous system. EPs can also be used to help with the diagnosis of neurological diseases.
  • Polysomnography is a special electroneurodiagnostic procedure that uses various physiologic monitors to monitor a person's sleep pattern, breathing, heart activity and limb movements. It helps to evaluate sleep and various sleep disorders, most commonly sleep apnea. It also helps to assess the effectiveness of the treatment of these disorders.
  • Nerve conduction studies are tests that can identify nerve damage. The tests measure how fast an electrical impulse moves through the peripheral nerves in the extremities. Technologists stimulate the nerve with an electrical current and then record how long it takes the nerve impulse to reach the muscle.
  • Intraoperative monitoring is the use of various electroneurodiagnostic tests described above to monitor the functional integrity of different neural structures (brain, brain stem, spinal cord, peripheral nerves) during surgery. The types of surgeries include orthopedic, neurosurgery or vascular.
  • Long-term monitoring is a specific kind of monitoring utilizing EEG over long periods of time. This type of prolonged EEG recording is used primarily for epilepsy monitoring but is also widely used in intensive care units, operating rooms and emergency departments.

What is the career outlook for EDT technologists?

Employment opportunities are abundant. Particularly strong growth areas are electroencephalography, long-term monitoring and intraoperative monitoring due to the growing recognition of the value of these tests and subsequent expansion of these departments.

There is a continuous need for well-educated EDT technologists. The demand grows as new labs open and existing labs expand.

How much do they earn?

Salaries depend on education, experience, level of responsibility and area of the country. Salaries range from $37,000 for new graduates of EDT programs to more than $73,000 per year for lab managers or independent contractors.

As of June 2018, the median salary for EDT technologists nationwide was $52,272, according to Salary.com. Technologists who hold professional credentials, college degrees and own their own businesses commanded the highest salaries.

What basic qualifications do EDT students need?

Students must have actively inquiring minds, above-average intelligence and a willingness to engage in life-long learning. Students must also have tact, patience and compassion. Manual dexterity and a capacity to deal with visual, electrical and computer concepts are important. They must be interested in biology, human anatomy, mathematics and grammar.