As reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the level of education and training students pursue depends on the area of biomedical technology in which they aspire to work. In some areas, an associate's degree is sufficient, while in other areas biomedical technicians need a bachelor's degree. For instance, those working on diagnostic machines will require a more advanced degree and training than those working on the electronics for hospital beds. In many cases, biomedical technicians receive on-site or classroom instruction from medical equipment manufacturers. The duration of this training is dependent on the type of equipment the technician is working on.
The length of biomedical technician programs range from 2 years to 4 years. Students will find that some schools offer programs online. Students should be aware that some programs require the completion of an internship.
Associate's Degree in Biomedical Engineering Technology
An Associate of Science (A.S.) or Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) is awarded to those who complete a 2-year program in biomedical engineering technology. Some programs include an internship as part of the curriculum. Program coursework for an associate's degree in biomedical technology covers:
- Biomedical equipment
- Electric circuits
- Digital electronics
Bachelor's Degree in Biomedical Engineering Technology
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree programs in biomedical engineering technology are not as common as 2-year degree programs. Bachelor's degree programs address biomedical equipment installation, maintenance, repair and calibration. Communications, management and computers are also included in the curriculum of some of these 4-year programs. Some common course topics might include:
- Signal processing
- Microprocessor interfacing
- Biomedical instrumentation systems
- Intro to bioengineering
- Computer techniques in medical imaging
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
From 2014 to 2024, the BLS reports that the job outlook for biomedical engineers is expected to grow 23%, which is much faster than the average for all other occupations. These engineers make a mean annual salary of $91,230 as of May 2015, according to the BLS.
Continuing Education Information
The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) offers a voluntary certification for biomedical technicians (www.aami.org). The Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician (CBET) credential is available to those who meet educational and experience requirements and pass an examination administered by the AAMI. Some employers prefer candidates who possess certification; certification can also lead to job advancement.
Additionally, biomedical technician seminars are conducted by many medical equipment manufacturers. These seminars provide information about equipment updates and new devices. State biomedical associations typically hold annual conferences and seminars which cover the latest advances in the field of biomedical technology. The AAMI hosts an annual conference and also provides Web-based seminars for biomedical technicians.
Biomedical technicians are professionals who obtain either an associate's or bachelor's degree to work with medical equipment that physicians and nurses use. This is a vastly growing medical position that may require additional work such as on-the-job training, certification, internships and continuing education.