Bellevue College’s electroneurodiagnostic technologist (ENDT) program is now the nineteenth program in the nation to receive accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. The college received the award on July 19.
Electroneurodiagnostic technologists are trained to study and monitor the electrical activity of the brain and the nervous system. END technologists are able to identify normal electrical patterns of the nervous systems, helping doctors and surgeons identify and treat conditions like headaches, dizziness, seizures, strokes and sleep disorders.
“We monitor different pathways in the brain and nervous systems,” said Stacey Austin, Program Chair of the ENDT. “We’re there during surgery, sleep disorders, the spinal cord.”
Austin and others at the ENDT program have been working to become accredited for two years. “It [the ENDT program] was a certificate when they [Bellevue College] hired me,” Austin said. “I started to work on the curriculum.”
Austin moved to Washington in September of 2010 to work at Bellevue College. She has been going through the application process to have the program accredited ever since.
The process to become accredited is a long, painstaking process. “First thing is the self-study. It’s like 300 pages,” Austin said. “I started working on the self-study when I first got here. I believe I sent it in December, then had the site visit in February.” The self-study is a document with every detail of how the college is prepared for this program.
“It [the self-study] breaks down the whole curriculum, shows documentation, information about the dean and the president of the college, lists of all the equipment you use, evaluation tools, the list of clinical sites, everything,” Austin explained. “If they [the accreditation board] find anything that’s weak, they’ll notify you. Then there’s a site visit.”
The site visit involves members of the accreditation program coming to the college. The Committee on Accreditation for Education in Neurodiagnostic Technology, called CoA-NDT, evaluated the college to make sure that BC is in compliance with all standards and guidelines.
“If something’s wrong, they give you a date to fix it,” said Austin.
Once a college has completed any required changes, the CoA-NDT makes a recommendation to the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), who makes the final decision whether to accredit the college or not.
“After you’re in, they want an annual report every year to make sure you’re still doing everything right,” said Austin. The CAAHEP accredits over 2000 educational programs with 23 different health science occupations.
Austin has worked in this field for 22 years and has taught for 18 years. She has four degrees in this field, two in sleep and sleeping disorders, one in evoked potential, which involves surgery and the spinal cord, and one in electroencephalography, called EEG, which involves monitoring electrical activity, brain disorders and brain seizures.
“I was a single mom and wanted to go back to school,” said Austin. “I wanted to do interior design, but it was a lot of work and little money. I talked to the career counselor, whose brother recommended this field for me. I’ve always been interested in the brain.
“There’s a shortage of technicians in our field. I get employers calling me all the time, begging me for students [who have finished the program]. We just graduated our first batch this year. Twelve out of 14 graduated and nine already have jobs. We are also starting a bachelor’s degree, mainly for those who are interested in being supervisors of hospitals. We’re hoping to start a distance learning program.
“I think what people want to know is that the pay’s good. If you’re willing to relocate, you can get a job anywhere. And it’s so diverse. You can get a job in sleep, in the brain,” said Austin.
More information about this program is available at http://bellevuecollege.edu/health/endt/.