EEG technicians use an electroencephalograph (EEG machine) to measure the electrical activity of the brain. The records obtained are then used by specialists to diagnose conditions such as epilepsy, damage to the brain as well as for research in the neurological, psychological and psychiatric fields.
EEG technicians must be able to distinguish between normal and abnormal readings. They need to be able to react appropriately in emergency situations. They must also manage the laboratory and maintain the apparatus. EEG technicians prepare the information for the analysis, interpretation and writing of reports which are done by experts, who may be neurologists, neurosurgeons, psychologists or psychiatrists.
After a patient has been reassured and helped to relax, electrodes are selected and placed on the patient's scalp in standard locations. Each examination takes approximately 30 minutes and techniques which activate the brain, such as a bright flickering light or deep breathing, are usually included. While the electrical activity of the brain is being recorded, the technician observes and records the patient's behaviour. The EEG technician records details such as age, head injuries, diseases and present symptoms.
EEG technicians are also responsible for the classification and filing of reports, arranging of appointments, ordering of supplies and maintenance of equipment. They normally work regular hours, but when emergency situations arise, they may be expected to work overtime.
- working with people
- knowing that your work can help others who are ill
- working as part of a medical team
- working in the health field without having to obtain an advanced education
- being on call 24 hours a day, weekends and holidays
- having to deal with difficult patients or hospital staff
An EEG technician should:
- be interested in the functions of the brain and have empathy with people who have brain functional problems;
- be interested in anatomy, physiology and psychology;
- have a desire to help the sick;
- inspire confidence;
- be tactful, patient and sympathetic;
- have practical and inquiring minds;
- be efficient under conditions of stress;
- be interested in electronic apparatus;
- good manual dexterity;
- possess a practical aptitude;
- able to work with visual concepts.
National Senior Certificate
Compulsory Subjects: None
Recommended Subjects: Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences
Persons who have nursing or paramedical qualifications or experience are given preference.
Training is usually in-service and takes place at selected EEG laboratories over a one-year period. During this year, experience is gained by performing EEG examinations on people with various problems, under the supervision of qualified EEG technicians or medical specialists who have also been trained in this field.
Subjects studied include: Neurology, Neuro-anatomy, Neuro-pathology, Electrophysiology, EEG Instrumentation and Controls, Electrical Safety
Practical experience is gained under the supervision of a qualified EEG technician.
No diploma or certificate is issued, but after successful completion of the theoretical and practical training and an examination, the student registers with the Health Professions Council of South Africa.
The SA Society for Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology can be contacted for further information in this regard.
- Private neurological practices
- Research and academic organisations
- Medical Institutes
- Mental hospitals
- Self-employment, after registration with the SAMDC, EEG technicians can start a private practice with other partners
Neurology departments of academic hospitals or private EEG laboratories can also be contacted for more information.
Interim National Medical and Dental Council
P O Box 205