Medical Equipment Technician Video: Career Options and Educational Requirements
Medical Equipment Technician Video: Career Options and Educational Requirements Transcript
Biomedical technology has come a long way from the stethoscope and tongue depressor. Hospitals use CAT scans, X-Rays, MRI machines and other equipment to diagnose and treat illness and disease. When this equipment malfunctions, a medical equipment technologist, or technician, is called upon to determine the problem and fix it quickly. In addition to medical equipment repair, technicians train healthcare professionals in the use of biomedical instruments and help to install and configure new equipment. An associate's degree in Medical Technology, Engineering or Electronics Technology is recommended.
Medical equipment that helps diagnose illnesses and saves patients' lives requires regular maintenance and repair. Medical equipment technicians provide this and other services for health care providers. In addition to repairing equipment, technicians perform preventive maintenance and offer training to health care professionals in proper use and care of equipment. An associate's degree is recommended for most positions. While no certification is currently required, a voluntary certified biomedical equipment technicians (CBET) certification is available.
Job Duties and Skills
Medical equipment technicians install, configure, maintain and repair medical equipment. Serviced equipment typically includes defibrillators, X-ray units, dialysis equipment and arthroscopic cameras. In the case of small malfunctions, a staff technician should be able to fix the problem themselves. In the case of more severe equipment problems, the technician is usually responsible for contacting the manufacturer or supplier of the unit.
The actual duties of a medical equipment technician depend mostly upon the employer. A hospital technician will perform general repair and troubleshooting duties for all of their location's equipment. Some larger hospitals with a wide variety of technologies may have a team of technicians, each possessing unique sets of specialized repair and maintenance knowledge. Suppliers and manufacturers of medical equipment will maintain a staff of technicians specifically trained on the use and repair of their products. These professionals may service a large region and travel frequently as part of their job duties. Malfunctioning medical equipment requires urgent attention, meaning most technicians must be available nights and weekends.
Completion of a two-year associate's degree program in Medical Technology, Engineering Technology, Electronics or another technical field can increase opportunities for careers in medical equipment technology. Most employers do not specifically require a college education, but most prefer candidates with an associate's degree.
Employers prefer adaptable, trainable medical equipment technicians who know how to think for themselves and who know how to learn new technologies. Most newly hired technicians spend time working with a more experienced professional, learning their specific job duties before working solo. And while certification is not required, it is recommended employees complete the certified biomedical equipment technicians (CBET) examination.
Medical equipment technicians must continue to learn new technologies, equipment, repair techniques and other skills throughout their careers. The field of medical technology changes rapidly with new advancements and breakthroughs made every year. It is up to a medical equipment technician to remain current with the changing industry around them.
Medical equipment technicians are commonly employed by hospitals, medical device manufacturers and some private firms that specialize in repairing medical technology. A medical equipment technician may focus their skills on the equipment used in surgery, dialysis, intensive care units, medical laboratories or radiology, among other fields. These specialties are developed through on the job training and can result in increased career opportunities.
Opportunities exist in biomedical equipment sales and training. Hospitals that purchase new pieces of equipment rely upon equipment technicians to train their employees and in-house technicians on its use and service. Technicians with strong people skills make excellent salespeople, as they know the product inside and out and are able to explain its functions and benefits effectively.
If you have a knack for electronics and enjoy working with your hands, a career as a medical equipment technician may be right for you.