Should I Become a Certified Biomedical Technician?
A certified biomedical technician installs and repairs medical equipment in hospitals and other medical facilities. The specific duties of a certified biomedical technician include testing parts, calibrating equipment, performing maintenance, and keeping repair logs. Certified biomedical technicians also must review training manuals and teach medical professionals how to operate medical equipment. Examples of these medical devices include monitors, imaging equipment, and operating tables.
Medical equipment repairers, including biomedical technicians, usually work on a full-time basis, with some weekend and nights required for emergency repair calls. Local travel is required to the locations that house the medical equipment; said locations are almost always medical offices or hospitals, which may lead to some exposure to illness. Urgent needs for repair can lead to stress in this career. The table below includes the requirements to become a certified biomedical technician.
|Degree Level||Associate's degree|
|Degree Field||Biomedical equipment technology|
|Certification||Voluntary specialty certification is offered through the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI)|
|Key Skills||Manual dexterity, stamina, time-management, communications, ability to troubleshoot and repair complicated medical devices and read technical manuals|
|Salary||$45,660 per year (Median salary from May 2014 for medical equipment repairers)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Monster.com (November 2012).
Step 1: Complete an Associate Degree Program
Entrance into biomedical technician positions typically requires an Associate of Applied Science in Biomedical Equipment Technology. Associate degree programs provide students the skills to repair and maintain medical equipment such as defibrillators and electronic wheelchairs, as well as perform preventative maintenance and check safety functions. Students complete coursework in biomedical electronic systems, biomedical law, digital circuits and clinical instrumentation. Hands-on learning is gained through laboratory experiences and a capstone course.
- Participate in an internship. An internship teaches prospective technicians the tools of the trade, such as multimeters and hand tools. Interns are expected to perform routine maintenance, calibrate machines, troubleshoot problems and inspect equipment under the supervision of an experienced technician.
Step 2: Look for Career Opportunities
An internship can potentially lead to full-time employment, but prospective technicians may have to look for career opportunities through job postings or contacts in the field. In addition to medical facilities and clinics employing biomedical technicians, careers may also be available with companies that manufacture medical devices and equipment. Training may be offered on the job to ensure technicians are familiar with the types of equipment which which they work and their operations.
Step 3: Gain Certification
A certification is not required by all employers; however, it does demonstrate professional competency and certification may increase job prospects. Several associations offer certifications for biomedical technicians, including the Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician (CBET) offered through the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation. To become certified, biomedical technicians must possess an associate degree, accrue work experience and pass a 150-question exam.
Step 4: Consider Advancement
According to the BLS, advancement into supervisory roles typically requires certified biomedical technicians to complete a bachelor's degree program. A Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering program explores biological sciences and instrumentation. Throughout the program, students are educated in the theories and principles used in the design and construction of healthcare equipment. A bachelor's degree often creates advancement opportunities and enhances professional growth.