Intraoperative Neurophysiological Monitoring (IONM) has been shown to significantly reduce the occurrence of neurological damage during high-risk surgeries in adult and pediatric populations. The use of neuromonitoring can prevent injuries that would severely affect the lives of patients, such as paralysis, muscle weakness, and loss of sensations like hearing, vision, and touch. 

Neuromonitoring is performed in the operating room by Surgical Neurophysiologists. These Surgical Neurophysiologists are important members of the operating room team, who provide information on the integrity of the patient’s nervous system to the surgical team, and help to guide the patient’s care during surgeries that pose risks to the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. Surgical Neurophysiologists protect patients with tests such as electroencephalography (EEG), electromyography (EMG), somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs), brainstem auditory evoked potentials (BAEPs), and transcranial motor evoked potentials (TcMEPs).

Carlow University’s B.S. in Behavioral Neuroscience with the track in Intraoperative Neurophysiological Monitoring prepares students for a career in IONM. Coursework at Carlow University in neuroscience disciplines provide the necessary foundation in neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and neuropharmacology, for students to have an in depth understanding of the functioning and anatomical structures of the nervous system. Students finish the degree with instructors at UPMC’s Procirca - Center for Clinical Neurophysiology, who teach coursework related to IONM, and provide instruction and hands on training in the operating room. This highly specialized training allows students to observe and assist in up to 150 surgical cases to accumulate the clinical hours necessary to take the ABRET’s Certification in Neurophysiologic Intraoperative Monitoring (CNIM) Exam to be a certified Surgical Neurophysiologist.

Carlow University’s program in cooperation with UPMC’s Procirca - Center for Clinical Neurophysiology’s B.S. program is unique in that there are only 3 other programs listed by ASET The Neurodiagnostic Society that offer a BS degree that leads to a career in Neuromonitoring. Graduates from UPMC’s program report salary ranges from $75,000-$90,000 per year. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics describes the profession of IONM as having a “bright outlook” with faster than average projected growth (22% or higher). Employment opportunities are in many sectors including hospitals, healthcare companies, specialized sleep and epilepsy labs, education, research in academic and industry settings, and sales.

"Intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring is a relatively new, challenging, and rapidly growing field which requires well trained and educated practitioners.  I not only had the good fortune of finding IONM as a career, but also to be trained with Procirca.  Under the supervision of industry leading professionals, Procirca provides extensive training of all current monitoring techniques and explores new areas in which they can be approved.  I am proud to work for Procirca because I know that I am working with a team that shares my values, and puts patient care first.  Procirca provides all the tools necessary to help people become top clinicians in the field of Clinical Neurophysiology." -- Nicholas Karkowsky, CNIM


Requirements for bachelor of science in Behavioral Neuroscience with certification in Intraoperative Neurophysiological Monitoring:

Candidates must satisfy all requirements for the Bachelor of Science degree in Behavioral Neuroscience. Senior Experience/capstone is waived as it will be fulfilled by clinical coursework at UPMC. Intraoperative Neuromonitoring coursework is determined by UPMC’s Procirca -Center for Clinical Neurophysiology.

Eligibility for program:

Along with meeting UPMC’s Procirca - Center for Clinical Neurophysiology's admission requirements, students must meet Carlow University’s prerequisites for approval and recommendation to enter the program: science course GPA of 3.0 or higher, overall GPA of 3.0 or higher, and have the recommendation of science faculty and/or advisor based on demonstrated integrity and excellence in academic pursuits. Transfer students must have an overall and science course GPA of 3.0 to be considered for the program.



Sample Courses

NEU 221 Neurophysiology:

Neurophysiology is a one-semester undergraduate-level hybrid course designed to provide students in Behavior Neuroscience tracks with an overview of neurophysiology and current topics in neuroscience. The course will also introduce basic research and diagnostic techniques used to investigate the nervous system.  Attention will be given developing analytical and communication skills necessary to investigate and report on topics in the field.  This is a 4-credit course with 3 hours of lecture instruction and 2 hours of lab instruction per week.

Neuromonitoring Fundamentals:

This one semester undergraduate course is designed to introduce the equipment and modalities used in IONM to students who are preparing for a career in neuromonitoring.  Emphasis will be placed on reading, evaluating, and presenting scientific journal articles.  Students are also required to complete a research project that makes use of IONM equipment, and submit a final paper.  This is a 4-credit course with 3 hours of lecture instruction and 2 hours of lab instruction per week.

Introduction to Neuromonitoring for Surgical Procedures:

Students learn from hands on experience in the operating rooms of UPMC hospitals during basic surgical procedures.  Each student is paired with a preceptor who provides instruction on how to set-up for, and perform the different neuromonitoring modalities used in the specific surgical procedure being performed.  Outside of the operating room, students participate in didactic lectures and case review sessions.

Neuromonitoring for Advanced Surgical Procedures:

Students learn from hands on experience in the operating rooms of UPMC hospitals during more complex surgical procedures that require multiple IONM modalities.  Each student is paired with a preceptor who provides instruction on how to set-up and perform multi-modality IONM.  During this course, students will be assessed for how well they make the transition from being passive observers to active primary providers of IONM.


For more information, contact Stephanie Wilsey (Psychology) or Janine Bartholomew (Biology).