This cover of Sleep Review asks the question, “What are you worth?” In the Sleep Review salary survey, we developed dollar figures for average salaries for different sleep professional titles across various regions in the United States. When viewing these statistics, readers might ask themselves if that dollar figure is worth their time for a year of work. When pondering my salary, I’ve asked myself the same question and have come to the conclusion that dollar amount shouldn’t be the only factor in the workplace satisfaction equation.

On the whole, sleep professionals have plenty to consider when determining the worth of their time and effort. One of the factors to consider when determining the value of a sleep clinician’s work is the worth of delivering patient satisfaction. Countless sleepless nights can essentially ruin a person’s life, making them unable to function at maximum capacity. The worth of delivering a solution to a patient who has not had a good night’s sleep in years is priceless. In our survey, one respondent said, “Sleep is the only area in the medical field where you can see a positive change in someone’s life in the span of one 12-hour shift. That’s pretty awesome!” Another respondent commented, “It is a growing area of medicine, and very exciting. I also enjoy it when a patient wakes up after wearing CPAP and tells me it’s the best night of sleep they’ve had in a very long time!” Delivering a new life to a patient is a cherished experience. Such responses show that workplace value for sleep professionals goes beyond pay.

When considering whether working as a sleep professional is worth it, you should also take into account that you are part of an exciting, rapidly growing medical profession. New research findings are released daily and the pieces of the sleep puzzle are coming together as the mysteries of sleep science are being solved. Sleep medicine also is progressing rapidly as a recognized field of medicine. Sleep education is advancing, sleep labs are becoming accredited, and standards are evolving, making sleep medicine a dynamic field in which to practice. One respondent to our salary survey said that they would recommend a career in the field of sleep medicine to others because “it’s a very satisfying field of medicine that is growing every day.”

Sleep medicine professionals also have the benefit of being part of a tight community of active people who are passionate about their field. I’ve seen sleep clinicians debate scientific findings and express strong opinions about the direction of the field. I’ve also witnessed sleep professionals and manufacturers coming together to develop awareness campaigns, and I’ve received e-mails from readers eager to share new ideas. One survey respondent put it this way: “As those of us in sleep medicine know, once you’ve been bitten by the sleep bug, you become passionate about sleep. You also become passionate about informing the public and the medical community of the importance of treating sleep disorders, especially for children. My entire career has been in medical management, and I love it.”

Considering all of the benefits of working in sleep medicine, it comes down to being a profession that brings satisfaction to not only those inside the profession but also those whom the profession is impacting, whether by treating patients or by generating awareness among the public. All of this and we haven’t even considered pay. You can find more information about salary in “Opportunity Knocks,” and complete survey statistics online.

—Franklin A. Holman, Editor