Since I started this website, I get emails and calls all the time about how to get a neuromonitoring job with no CNIM. I’m glad to help, but feel like I end up saying a lot of the same thing over and over. So I’m making this post in hopes that people will read this, ask more questions and give answers of their own. So please, join in the conversation here (but if you’re shy, or just want to talk to me privately, I’m more than happy to chat).
Here’s an email I got today…
I recently contacted you via Google+, and you suggested asking further questions through your website so others could see.
I graduated from XXXXX with a Bachelors in Biological Engineering. I am working as a Research Associate at XXXXX.
I have become more and more interested in the field of Neuromonitoring because it would meet my need for a more interactive and rewarding career. And, I’ll just say it: I do want to be making more money than the 33k I am making now. I also have been putting off pursuing a Graduate degree simply because I haven’t found an interest or passion relating to the research I am doing now. I have been working for about two years straight out of undergrad, but I have reached the point where I need to make a new move to start a career that I will enjoy.
I have talked to a friend of a friend who has her CNIM, and she told me to go for it. She said, as you mentioned, Joe, that there are people that go into the field from all different backgrounds. The company she worked for paid her during her training for the CNIM. However, I’m finding that not every company offers this. I read your link that you sent me about putting yourself out there and getting involved, and I think that is my next task.
Would you suggest getting volunteer experience in the OR (if that’s possible) before even applying to a IONM company with a training program? It that is the case, is there anything I need in order for a hospital to let me into the OR, like CPR certification or anything?
Also, a great thing about my job at XXXX is that I have the option of creating my own work schedule. I see this as a fabulous way for me to make time to take a couple of courses if you think that is necessary. Also, I could easily do any volunteer work at a local hospital.
Thank you so much for responding to me message! Also, your website is incredibly helpful!
And here’s my reply…
Most hospitals are going to deny volunteers. I would have said almost all of them, but I know a guy that did it at the hospital I work at. He did it every day for months, and they finally hired him. All he did was call up the neuromonitoring department and ask if they would consider it. No one else is doing that.
Another guy just called up and asked if they were hiring. The timing was perfect and they hired him with no experience. But I don’t see a hospital doing volunteers for a contract company. It’s hard enough getting their employees in the OR.
But I wouldn’t start there, because you have less of a chance getting a volunteer position than a job. If they say they aren’t hiring people without experience, you could use the volunteer as a bargaining chip. Companies are used to paying 40-60K a year to train someone (plus benefits, malpractice insurance, etc) before they start seeing a return off of them. You could try talking them into a 90 day volunteer/probational period where you can prove yourself as a fast learner and someone that they’ll want to keep around for a long time. If it doesn’t work out, then you’ll thank them for the opportunity and go your separate ways. Take on all the risk and then exceed their expectations, that usually works out well.
As far as taking IOM classes or neuromonitoring courses as part of your IOM path, I’m not sure how different companies view it. I’m sure some will value it, while others might not. You could spend thousands on more schooling just to be passed over because you still don’t have experience or credentials. Or that could be the thing that pushes your resume to the top. But does the cost justify it?
I already mentioned in post on my blog about how to go about getting your first IOM job, but as I am typing this, I just thought of another one. Go to these social networking sites (Linkedin.com seems to be by far the best one), and connect with recruiters. Once you connect with them, of course introduce yourself and what you’re looking for.
If they have a job looking to get filled, great. Go get that job. And if you do get it, thank them later. If you don’t get it, go back and see what else they got.
If you get to a point where they don’t have anything right now for you, don’t stop there. Ask them things like…
1) What are some things that people getting hired, who have no prior IOM experience, have in common?
2) If I was to come back to you 3-6 months from now and ask you again to help get me a job, what things would I have done in that time to make your job easier?
3) What’s are most employers looking for in candidates that they hire to train first?
4) If the company you’re recruiting for isn’t hiring new trainees, who do you know that will?
And so on…
Remember, these are the guys and gals that see who’s getting hired and who’s not. Be nice to them and get them on your side. They are going to know better than anyone what’s going to help you and what’s a waste of time.
Hope that helps!
Calling All Pro’s!!!
Not everyone reading this is looking for their first neuromonitoring job. If you’ve been in the field for some time, chime in and help out. Tell others about how you got your first job. Leave a comment below with your top 3 ways someone without the CNIM can land their first neuromonitoring job. Or tell them my advice stinks, volunteering is for pleasure, not a career.
Here are some related guides and posts that you might enjoy next.
What To Expect From The Neuromonitoring Field In The Future? Anyone else want to make some predictions about the neuromonitoring field? Let's talk about what we can expect out of neuromonitoring in the near future. This line of conversation seems to come up a lot....read more
Double-Train MEP On A Comeback Kick Using transcranial electric motor evoked potentials in the operating room has become routine practice for spinal cord monitoring. Recent improvements in the ability to record tcMEP have resulted in increased use during other...read more
How Resourceful Of A Neuromonitoring Tech Are You? First off, let me start this topic off by saying that I'm not a big fan of the term neuromonitoring tech (I prefer surgical neurophysiologist or SNP). But I really want to address those in the field that might embrace...read more
Loss of Cortical SSEP Due To Loss of Receptor Activation Earlier in this 30 Days of Neuromonitoring series, I wrote about cortical and subcortical reorganization after a loss of afferent feedback from carpal tunnel syndrome and how that affects intraoperative...read more
The CNIM vs The Intraoperative Neuromonitoring Degree (Joe's notes: This is a GUEST POST by Josh Mergos, who is the director of the Intraoperative Neuromonitoring Program at the University of Michigan - School of Kinesiology. We met for the first time during a small...read more
Optimizing Sub-cortical SSEP There is 1 electrode that I see get misused in somatosensory evoked potentials more so than any other electrode in any modality. This is the electrode placed over the cervical spine (or sometimes around the ear or mastoid) and generally...read more