Too often neurodiagnostic technologists are under-recognized in their institutions and miss out on policy discussions and salary bumps. The shift to online education we’ve seen in the last few years may well be the catalyst the field has needed to get a much-deserved seat at the table.
Today, neurodiagnostic techs, even those busy balancing family and work, can pursue higher education from anywhere in the country. They can even get credit for experience and credentials toward a bachelor’s degree through online NDT programs like the one at Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan.
And there is great benefit in doing so.
“If techs have a higher degree, they tend to be more visible to their organization,” Dr. Anna-Marie Beck, director of neurodiagnostic technology at Johnson County Community College, told us in a recent interview. “They’re taken a little more seriously than somebody who was on-the-job trained and worked their way up.”
You don’t need a degree to be an EEG tech right now and getting on the job training is still an option. Increasingly, though, techs are pursuing higher education, raising the bar on what it means to be a professional in this field.
“Get as educated as you can,” former ASET President Connie Kubiak said she always tells neurodiagnostic techs. “Look at it as your career and not just a job.”
In general, people with a bachelor’s degree earn about $25,000 a year more than those with just a high school diploma, according to a 2019 College Board report. Unemployment rates are also cut in half for bachelor’s recipients.
A degree can also earn you a certain amount of respect.
Beck, an EEG tech who has a doctorate in business administration, initially set out for a bachelor’s degree to make herself more competitive for lab manager positions.
Once back in school, she realized how much value there was in taking college courses, whether pursuing a degree or not.
“There’s so much out there to learn that community colleges and universities can offer,” she said.
Courses on budgeting, leadership, management — all can help you in your day-to-day work.
“One of my favorite courses ever was on conflict management,” Beck said. “When you work in a small department, as most neurodiagnostic departments are, you get to be pretty good friends with the people that you work with, but there’s always going to be conflict and learning how to manage through that was really eye opening to me.”
Leadership at ASET-the Neurodiagnostic Society has long backed the pursuit of higher education as a way for members to move their careers forward and elevate the field as a whole. They also put their money where their mouth is: Click here to learn about their educational scholarships.
Special thanks to Anna-Marie Beck, DBA, R. EEG T., Program Director of Neurodiagnostic Technology at Johnson County Community College, for speaking with us.