Polysomnography — Certificate

Program director
Abdullah Alismail

Medical advisor
Ramiz Fargo

The expansion of polysomnography (sleep studies) in the health-care industry has created a marked increase in demand for polysomnography technicians. Many polysomnography clinics are inundated with referrals that may be deferred for months at a time due to inadequate staffing, resulting in delay of sleep disorder diagnoses and appropriate treatments. The certificate in polysomnography is designed for current clinical practitioners and students who are interested in specializing in sleep disorder studies. Both didactic theory and clinical application offered in the program will provide an avenue to gain knowledge, skills, and experience in the expanding discipline of polysomnography. Topics include sleep terminology, sleep structure and disorders, complete patient set-up and monitoring, data acquisition and scoring, and pharmacological and noninvasive interventions. The program is offered on campus and will include: laboratory/clinical rotations, online and classroom discussions, and a case study presentation. Graduates of this program are eligible to sit for the sleep disorder specialist (SDS) examination by the National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC) and/or the RPSGT examination by the Board of Registered Polysomnography Technologists (BRPT) after completion of the required clinical hours/and requirement for each board examination. * Please see professional examination section.

Program objectives

  1. Identify basic sleep terminology, sleep structure, and sleep disorders.
  2. Comprehend the effect of sleep-related breathing disorders on patients’ physiology.
  3. Perform and translate the International 10-20 system data acquisition (or equivalent) as it relates to sleep disorders testing.
  4. Recognize the technology behind the monitoring devices utilized in sleep disorders testing and identify the locations used for patient monitoring.
  5. Recognize the components of a computerized sleep acquisition system and describe the adjustments necessary to produce a quality/valid study.
  6. Recognize the components of a sleep report and demonstrate proper application of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), bilevel ventilation, and oxygen therapy to patients with sleep-related breathing disorders.
  7. Demonstrate the process of a patient set-up, sleep stage, and event scoring.
  8. Identify cardiac dysrhythmias and physiologic events and their clinical significance during the sleep evaluation.
  9. Independently perform the patient set-up for a sleep study and begin the data acquisition process, data interpretation, and troubleshooting.
  10. Demonstrate professional behavior towards patients and staff.
  11. Illustrate professional behavior towards patients with home CPAP for sleep by educating them about its use and effect relevant to their sleep disorder.  

Program outcomes

After completion of the program, graduates will:

  1. Be eligible to sit for the sleep disorder specialist (SDS) examination by the National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC) and/or the RPSGT examination by the Board of Registered Polysomnography Technologists (BRPT).* Professional Examination and Certification Eligibility section.
  2. Possess skills to recognize and treat a variety of sleep disorders.
  3. Be able to effectively perform and interpret a polysomnogram.
  4. Be able to communicate with patients and staff members professionally.
  5. Have the skills and knowledge to educate patients about diseases and treatments. 
  6. Have the skills and knowledge to suggest and implement appropriate sleep disturbance interventions.

Professional examination and certification eligibility

Graduates of this program are eligible to take the sleep disorders specialist (SDS) examination by the National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC) and/or the RPSGT examination by the Board of Registered Polysomnography Technologists (BRPT) after completion of the required clinical hours and meeting the requirements of each examination. This program is designated as a STAR-focused program under the BRPT. Graduates of this program will be eligible for the RPSGT (Pathway 4) and CPSGT (Pathway 3) after meeting the requirements of each pathway. NBRC inquiries can be made to 10801 Mastin Street, Suite 300, Overland Park, KS  66210; telephone:  913/895-4900; fax:  913/712-9283; or website:  <www.nbrc.org>. BRPT inquiries can be made to 8400 Westpark Drive, 2nd Floor, McLean, VA 22102; telephone: 703/610-9020; fax: 703/610-0229; website:  <http://www.brpt.org/>.

Loma Linda University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501; telephone: 510/748-9001; fax: 510/748-9797; website:  <http://www.wascsenior.org/contact>.

Sleep Technology Approved Resource (STAR)

The Polysomnography Certificate program is designated as a STAR provider under the Board of Polysomnographic Technologists (BRPT). Graduates are eligible to use this Focused Training for the RPSGT exam (Pathway 4) and the CPSGT exam (Pathway 3). Please visit the www.brpt.org website for more details.  

To be eligible for this program, in addition to the Loma Linda University and School of Allied Health Professions admission requirements, the following criteria must be met:

  1. Current Basic Life Support certification from the American Heart Association.
  2. Minimum of 2.5 G.P.A. of college credit (minimum of 36 Quarter units).  
  3. Complete an acceptable interview with Program Faculty.
  4. Three positive personal and/or professional references.
  5. For current students in the Loma Linda University Cardiopulmonary Sciences program, the following must be met:
    • An agreement and acceptance from both program directors to add the sleep track/units to the current student plan.

Prerequisite (All prerequisite coursework must be completed at a regionally accredited institution)

  • Human anatomy and physiology or general biology with laboratory, complete sequence
  • Introductory chemistry with laboratory; or general chemistry with laboratory (minimum of 1 quarter or semester)
  • High school-level physics or introductory physics, one quarter/semester in college; or general physics, one quarter/semester in college
  • Two years of mathematics selected from: algebra I (elementary), algebra II (intermediate), or geometry-Course work may be taken in high school or college
  • English composition complete sequence.


  • Medical Terminology

Recommended course work

  • Speech
  • Sociology or Anthropology. 
  • Psychology
  • Microbiology

Basic Life Support

Since this program will have clinical rotations and patient contact, students are required to have a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)/BLS card certification. This certification has to be current and obtained from an authorized American Heart Association training center. BLS course is offered at Life Support Education, University Arts building, 24887 Taylor Street, Suite 102.

Autumn QuarterUnits
RSPS 210Foundation of Polysomnography and Sleep Medicine2
RSPS 2163- and 12-Leads ECG Interpretation2
RSPS 227Neuroanatomy and Physiology of Sleep3
RSPS 230Polysomnography Science Methodology2
Winter Quarter
RSPS 234Polysomnography Patient Education and Safety1
RSPS 256Polysomnography Monitoring and Scoring2
RSPS 274Polysomnography Diseases3
RSPS 295Polysomnography Practicum I4
Spring Quarter
RELR 475Whole Person Care2
RSPS 286Polysomnography Case Study2
RSPS 296Polysomnography Practicum II4
 Total Units: 27

Clinical Rotations

The polysomnography program offers clinical practicum course at affiliated clinical sites. Thus, students will commute to a 12 hours clinical rotation on every assigned clinical day; this might include day and night shifts. Therefore, each student is responsible for their own transportation to each clinical site. The program will assign clinical instructors for each site to assess student learning and competency check-offs.

Normal time to complete the program

34 weeks (3 academic quarters) based on full-time enrollment