The BRPT and the AAST have joined forces to educate the healthcare arena, including practitioners in the sleep field, and to eliminate the misconception between credentialing and certificate programs as well as the incorrect use of acronyms that accompany a certificate of learning displayed as an actual credential.
Although there is a similarity between the two terms, there is significant difference between the meaning of the two achievements and in the appropriate use of credentials and acronyms, particularly those acronyms suggesting a credential has been attained upon completion of an educational certificate program.
A credential is awarded following an advanced level examination which follows rigorous exam development protocols, is psychometrically validated, and is delivered through a third-party testing service. A certificate is awarded for completion of an educational program to gain knowledge in a specific area. Examples of credentials in our profession include the Registered Polysomnographic Technologist (RPSGT) and the Certificate of Clinical Sleep Health (CCSH). The Certified Polysomnographic Technician (CPSGT) is also a credential, however this is a time limited (three-year) stepping stone to the RPSGT credential for entry level technicians. The CPSGT must earn the RPSGT credential within 3 years or cease using the credential.Examples of educational certificates are polysomnography education programs (PSGT) and the clinical sleep educator (CSE) certificate. A certificate is not a credential.