Should I Become a Medical Equipment Repair Technician?
Medical equipment repair technicians work for hospitals, clinics, wholesale suppliers, and electronics repair shops. They perform repairs and maintain medical equipment such as electric wheelchairs, defibrillators, beds, and imaging equipment. Technicians use a variety of hand tools, electronic tools, and computers to keep the equipment in top working order.
Despite the fact that most medical equipment repair technicians work during business hours, some on-call, weekend, or night shifts may be required. The majority of such workers are employed full-time, but varied schedules are available. Travel, including long distances, is part of the job. Additionally, working as a medical equipment repair technician often comes with stress, since there is pressure to have the medical equipment working as fast as possible.
|Degree Level||Associate's degree preferred, bachelor's degree required in specialized cases|
|Degree Field||Biomedical technology or biomedical engineering|
|Certification||Certification is available through the International Certification Commission for Clinical Engineering and Biomedical Technology (ICC) and is preferred by some employers|
|Key Skills||Excellent dexterity, mechanical and troubleshooting skills, time-management and stamina; safety testing, experience with hand tools and multimeter|
|Salary||$48,540 (mean annual salary as of May 2014)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, CareerBuilder.com job ads (Nov. 2012)
Step 1: Earn an Associate's Degree
A 2-year degree program in biomedical engineering technology can prepare students for an entry-level position as a medical equipment repair technician. Courses typically provide knowledge of equipment operation and function, installation, repair and maintenance techniques and quality regulations. Additionally, a program will include courses covering electronics, mathematics, information sciences and computer networking.
- Consider a bachelor's degree. A 4-year degree program in biomedical engineering technology isn't a requirement for all jobs, but is preferred among employers and required for some advanced or complex repair positions. This degree program provides in-depth information and knowledge of complex medical equipment operation, repairs and maintenance techniques.
- Participate in an internship. Many schools offer internships or programs that provide beneficial experience and possible employment opportunities.
Step 2: Gain Work Experience
Graduates of an associate's or bachelor's degree program can seek an entry-level position with a medical supplier, hospital, clinic or related organization. Some employers provide training or allow new employees to shadow more experienced technicians. After about six months, employees can generally work independently. Higher-level positions may require about two years of related experience.
Step 3: Get Certified
The ICC offers three types of certification for medical equipment repair technicians. The Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician (CBET), Certified Radiology Equipment Specialists (CRES) and Certified Laboratory Equipment Specialist (CLEB) can be earned separately depending on a technician's area of expertise. Each one requires a minimum of an associate's degree in a related field and at least two years of work experience, in addition to a written exam. Opportunities for advancement can increase with certifications.