A-STEP Standards For Accreditation

General Information

To be an A-STEP introductory course provider, each organization must be an AASM accredited sleep facility. Each provider is required to be in compliance with all A-STEP standards, including their course program policy and procedures, and curriculum. Programs that have been accepted will be granted the status of A-STEP Introductory Course Provider for a period of two years.

All Introductory Course Providers are required to promote the program in its entirety, Part I and Part II.

A-STEP consists of two parts:

Part I: The 80-hour Introductory Course consists of both practical and didactic training held at your facility, or in combination with an academic institution. The course includes information as outlined in the A-STEP standard syllabus which is necessary to ensure the polysomnographic technician receives standardized education to be successful in the field of sleep technology. The course concludes with the student’s successful completion of the introductory course final exam, which is available on the A-STEP website.

Part II: Upon successful completion of Part I students will be able to start utilizing the A-STEP Online Self-Study Modules. These modules are an essential resource as trainees prepare to take a certification exam.

The AASM’s A-STEP program is not finalized until the students have successfully completed both parts of the program.

Section I: GENERAL PROVISIONS

A-STEP Introductory Course Providers will ensure the adherence to all standards and the promotion of the two-part program in its entirety. Providers will maintain a summary report for each course session held that tabulates metrics used to measure the students’ success and effectiveness in the introductory course. Providers will submit the summary report and student roster at the conclusion of each course session for review. The submission of both documents is required in order for the students to access and take the 80-Hour Introductory Course Final Exam. Upon successful completion of the Final Exam, students will advance on to the series of A-STEP Self-Study Modules which is part two of the program. Providers are responsible for ensuring students complete part I and part II of A-STEP in its entirety.

Section II: PERSONNEL

The following faculty are required for the success of A-STEP – Program Director, Technical Director, Clinical Director, and instructors (as needed).

The Program Director coordinates and manages the 80-Hour Introductory Course. The Technical Director provides the practical and didactic training, and insight into the role of the sleep technologist. The Clinical Director provides participants with insight to the ‘Role of the Sleep Technologist’ and ‘Overview and History of Sleep Disorders’. Instructors provide additional practical and didactic training, as needed.

All faculty associated with the program, in whole or in part, need to provide eight hours of instruction per day to the participants, with a reasonable faculty-to-student ratio that optimizes training. Faculty need to have the appropriate sleep technology expertise and training to instruct participants.

Standard 1. Program Director has obtained one or more the following credentials an RST and/or RPSGT, and/or Board-Certified Sleep Specialist (BCSS).

Standard 2. Clinical Director has obtained the credentials as a Board-Certified Sleep Specialist (BCSS). This individual may also fill the role of Program Director. The Clinical Director will communicate the needs of the potential employer and provide an overview of sleep medicine.

Standard 3. Technical Director has obtained the credentials as an RST and/or RPSGT. This individual may
also fill the role of Program Director.

Standard 4. Additional instructors may be chosen by the Program Director to provide didactic and practical instruction to the students in the program.

Section III: RESOURCES

Students in the program must have access to appropriate educational resources, instructional materials, and PSG and PAP therapy equipment to ensure participants have the opportunity to obtain a working knowledge of sleep medicine and the role of a Sleep Technologist. In addition, each provider is required to be affiliated with an AASM Accredited Sleep Facility.

Each program must provide a defined educational space to conduct the didactic portion of the course. Programs with four or less students may provide instruction in an office or small conference room, whereas programs with more than four students must utilize a classroom environment.

Programs must provide a resource library of instructional materials related to sleep medicine and polysomnography for student access in the course. These materials are essential for students to successfully complete A-STEP Part I.

Standard 5. Each provider must be affiliated with an AASM Accredited Sleep Facility.

Standard 6. Programs must have access to polysomnographic recording, diagnostic and treatment equipment used routinely in a sleep center by sleep technologists.

Standard 7. Programs with more than four students must utilize a classroom environment for didactic instruction.

Standard 8. The resource library must be accessible to all students, and will contain at a minimum the following publications:

  • International Classification of Sleep Disorders (Current Edition)
  • Clinical Practice Guidelines of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine
  • The AASM Manual for the Scoring of Sleep and Associated Events: Rules, Terminology and Technical Specification
  • CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer by the American Red Cross.

Section IV: CURRICULUM

Introductory Course Providers are directed to review and utilize the A-STEP Standard Syllabus to develop their course curriculum. The following should also be considered when providers are developing their curriculum in order to meet the minimum certification requirements as defined by the American Board of Sleep Medicine (ABSM)  – Registered Sleep Technologist (RST) credential and Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (BRPT) – RPSGT and CPSGT credentials.

Standard 9. The program must include a minimum of eighty (80) hours of instruction. It is recommended that this instruction be continuous, and not extend beyond eight (8) weeks.

Standard 10. The Clinical Director is required to provide instruction on the history of sleep medicine, an overview of sleep disorders, and the role of the sleep technologist.

Standard 11. The program curriculum must include a basic understanding of the nervous, respiratory, skeletal and cardiovascular systems.

Standard 12. The program curriculum must include training in patient safety, incorporating infection control techniques, fall precautions, and recognizing emergencies.

Standard 13. The program curriculum must include training in how to obtain patient histories, interpersonal communication, and how to manage a difficult patient.

Standard 14. The program curriculum must include training in patient confidentiality, informed consent, and HIPAA regulations.

Standard 15. The program must include instructions on how to conduct adult and pediatric patient in-take and equipment set up for sleep studies (i.e., In Lab polysomnography, and/or Home Sleep Apnea Test, etc.).

Standard 16. The program curriculum must introduce the student to polysomnographic recording, diagnostic and treatment equipment, and electrical safety.

Standard 17. The program curriculum must introduce the student to sleep stage scoring and polysomnographic event detection.

Standard 18. The program must instruct the student in standard polysomnographic procedures, including the Multiple Sleep Latency Test and Maintenance of Wakefulness Test.

Standard 19. The program curriculum must include instruction in the application of positive airway pressure and supplemental oxygen as well as discussion of nocturnal ventilation.

Section V: ONLINE LEARNING

A-STEP Introductory Course Providers may choose to provide a portion of the 80-Hour Introductory Course through online learning. The online learning portion of the training must comply with the following standard.

Standard 20. Optional – Limited Online Learning topics. The online portion must meet the following requirements:

  1. May not exceed more than 15 hours of the didactic portion of the introductory course curriculum.
  2. The following topics can be utilized in online learning; however, each will require real world demonstration and practical experience:
    1. 10-20 System
    2. Electrode Application
    3. Sleep Staging
    4. Electrocardiography
    5. Monitoring Airflow and Respiratory Effort
    6. Oxygen Saturation and Carbon Dioxide Monitoring
    7. Scoring Respiratory Events
    8. PAP Titration
    9. Recording and Scoring Limb Movements
    10. Polysomnogram Report
    11. MSLT and MWT
    12. Artifact Recognition and Troubleshooting
    13. Pediatric Polysomnography
  3. Content and presentation of online material must be appropriate for students at all learning levels.
  4. Quality and organization of online material must be suitable for self-learning.
  5. The online portion can be interactive with the use of videos (i.e. YouTube), webinars, written material, and PowerPoint presentations.
  6. Faculty must be available for questions regarding the online learning materials.

Providers who are interested in offering this educational option must complete and submit the Online Learning Syllabus with their Accreditation Application for review and approval.

Section VI: ASSESSMENT

Providers are required to measure the success of their program through the performance of its students. Objective Quality Assurance measures should be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the 80-Hour Introductory course and analyzed to identify potential areas to improve program effectiveness. Providers should strive for a high rate of program success through periodic performance evaluations, standardized testing, records of attendance, and survey assessments of the program.

Standard 21. The program must provide students with a midpoint evaluation that assesses their knowledge of the course curriculum. The results of the midpoint evaluation should be used to identify potential areas of improvement in students’ knowledge and make the appropriate adjustments.

Standard 22. The program must maintain records of student performance and attendance.

Standard 23. The periodic evaluations, survey assessments, and attendance records are to be maintained by the provider for a minimum of two-years beyond A-STEP expiration date. The program must maintain objective quality assurance measures of success, including but not limited to:

  1. Performance of students’ knowledge base of the program through standardized testing, that can include written exams/quizzes and practical skills assessments.
  2. Student assessments survey of the overall effectiveness of the program, and how well they were prepared to begin working in the field of Sleep Technology.
  3. Employer assessments survey of student proficiency to work in the field of Sleep Technology and perform their job duties as a sleep technician/trainee.

Section VII: MINIMUM ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Providers are to ensure all applicants to the course hold at minimum a high school diploma or GED equivalent and are able to perform the duties as specified in the Polysomnographic Trainee job description.

Standard 24. Programs must require that students complete a high school education prior to beginning
the program.

Standard 25. Programs must require that students are able to perform the duties specified in the AASM, AAST, ABSM, and BRPT job description for a Polysomnographic Trainee.

Section VIII: FAIR PRACTICES

Providers are to promote the 80-Hour Introductory Course in accordance with its written policies and A-STEP accreditation standards. Any false and/or misleading advertisements may jeopardize the Providers’ A-STEP status. All state and federal regulatory guidelines regarding recruitment and employment are to be followed. Providers shall have practices in place to ensure the health of program participants through an infection control policy. Policies and Procedures are to be readily available to all participants and employees and are to include procedures to respond and resolve any grievance.

Any changes to the program or curriculum that are essential to the course need to be reported to the AASM prior to implementation for review and approval.

Standard 26. Announcements, catalogs, publications, and advertising must accurately reflect the
program as offered.

Standard 27. The policies and procedures for the program must be available to students enrolled in the course through a Student Handbook.

Standard 28. The program must maintain work practice controls that demonstrate compliance with all federal, state, and local rules and regulations to protect the faculty, staff and students by minimizing the risk of exposure to infection and transmission of microorganisms or pathogens.

Standard 29. The provider must have procedure for students to report any grievances within the program.

Standard 30. The program must follow all federal, state, and local guidelines regarding student and faculty recruitment and employment practices.

Standard 31. The program must report changes in resources, curriculum, or key personnel to the AASM
within 30 days when they impact compliance with these standards.