You can enter the field of biomedical technology as an equipment technician with just an associate's degree, though you'll need a bachelor's degree to become a biomedical engineer or clinical lab technologist. Employment opportunities in the field are expected to be quite favorable for the foreseeable future.
A degree in biomedical technology teaches students how to use sophisticated equipment to support human health. While enrolled in a biomedical technology program, students might complete coursework in engineering, disease processes, forensics, biology and computer science. They may also be required to demonstrate mastery of the principles of biomedical research and stay abreast of the latest technological developments in medicine.
|Career||Biomedical Equipment Technicians||Biomedical Engineers||Clinical Laboratory Technologists|
|Education Requirements||Associate's degree||Bachelor's degree||Bachelor's degree|
|Other Requirements||Optional certification||n/a||Licensed and registered with state|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-24)*||6% for all medical equipment repairers||23%||14%|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)*||$46,340 for all medical equipment repairers||$86,220||$60,520|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Graduates of a degree program in biomedical technologies may find work as biomedical equipment technicians, biomedical engineers or clinical laboratory technologists.
Biomedical Equipment Technicians
Biomedical technicians often provide assistance in health industries by keeping equipment up to date. They may fix medical equipment both in healthcare facilities and perform regular maintenance on highly technical biomedical machinery for use in hospitals and labs. As the population ages and more people seek medical treatments for ailments, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects employment for all medical equipment repairers, including biomedical equipment technicians, to grow 6% from 2014-2024. The median annual salary for all medical equipment repairers, including biomedical equipment technicians, in 2015 was $46,340.
A degree in biomedical technologies will not be sufficient for a job in biomedical engineering immediately, but it does enable graduates to gain experience and prepare for a career in biomedical engineering. Assisting biomedical engineers may also be a possibility. Biomedical engineers develop procedures and devices that are used in the medical industry. Many biomedical engineers focus on designing medical prostheses or artificial organs, medical information systems or technologies such as surgical lasers. Demand for biomedical engineers is expected to grow by 23% from 2014-2024.The median annual wage for biomedical engineers was $86,220 in 2015.
Clinical Laboratory Technologists
A bachelor's degree is typically required to become a clinical laboratory technologist. People in this profession analyze and examine body fluids, cells and tissues for evidence of toxins, cancer or other sickness. They are instrumental in diagnosing diseases which are then treated by medical doctors. Clinical laboratory technologists work in a variety of settings, from small laboratories or clinics to large hospitals. The BLS expects average job growth in this field to be 14% from 2014-2024. Median earnings of clinical laboratory technologists were approximately $60,520 in 2015.
Armed with an associate's degree, you may become a biomedical equipment technician, for which certification is optional, and assist biomedical engineers in the performance of their duties. You'll need a bachelor's degree to become a biomedical engineer or a clinical laboratory technologist, and state licensure or certification may be mandatory for the latter. Opportunities for employment for biomedical technicians are expected to increase as fast as the national average for all occupations, while those for biomedical engineers and clinical laboratory technologists are projected to increase at a much faster rate.