Should I Become a Biomedical Technologist?
|Degree Level||Associate's degree; bachelor's degree preferred|
|Degree Name||Biomedical technology|
|Certification||Voluntary through the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation|
|Experience||Technologists may need to work and learn under an experienced technologist; on-the-job training is required|
|Key Skills||Manual dexterity; ability to communicate with medical professionals; stamina to stand for long periods of time; familiarity with complicated medical devices and equipment|
|Salary||$49,400 (2015 for medical equipment repairers)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Monster.com job postings (November 2012)
Biomedical technologists, sometimes referred to as medical equipment repairers, specialize in installing, repairing, and maintaining hospital and medical equipment. In order to ensure that these life-saving devices remain operational, biomedical technologists test parts, calibrate equipment, keep records, and stay up to date on the latest advancements in the field.
The career requirements for biomedical technologists include at least an associate's degree in biomedical technology, some form of on-the-job training and a strong familiarity with medical equipment and their internal parts. Additional requirements include manual dexterity, the ability to communicate with medical professionals and stamina for standing long periods of time. So how much can biomedical technologists expect to earn? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual salary for all medical equipment repairers was $49,400 as of May 2015. Now let's walk through the steps you can take to become a biomedical technologist.
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Step 1: Earn an Associate's Degree
Earning an associate's degree in biomedical technology through a 2-year school is the first step to becoming a biomedical technologist. This type of degree program consists of a combination of lectures and laboratory work, and it teaches students about the design and development of medical equipment, as well as how to make repairs, run tests and build equipment. Students also develop the skills to communicate clearly and effectively with medical professionals while honing the ability to identify and solve technical issues.
While an associate's degree is generally sufficient, you may want to consider earning a bachelor's degree to gain a competitive advantage over other job seekers. A Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Technology allows students to explore research projects in the biomedical technology field and work with more complicated equipment.
No matter which degree you pursue, it's beneficial to gain on-the-job during your academic career to qualify for a biomedical technologist position after college. Experience can be gained through an internship and practicum, which allows students to work in a professional setting, shadow experienced biomedical technologists and assist with equipment installation and repair. Students may even gain employment after college at the firm they intern with.
Step 2: Seek Employment Opportunities
After completing a degree program, graduates of biomedical technology programs may choose to work in the public or private sector of the healthcare industry. For example, one may work for a hospital, repairing, calibrating and maintaining medical equipment on site. Or a technologist might work for a company that produces biomedical technology products, helping to design, test and research equipment as well as assisting in its sale.
Step 3: Obtain Certification
While not mandatory for this career, certification can greatly improve job prospects and advancement opportunities. The Association for the Advancement for Medical Instrumentation offers several certifications for professionals in the field. Certifications include certified biomedical equipment technician, certified radiology equipment specialist and certified laboratory equipment specialist. Each certification requires that individuals pass an examination and certification must be maintained by earning fifteen continuing education points every three years.
Biomedical technologists generally hold at least an associate's degree in biomedical technology and complete some form of hands-on training, such as through an internship or practicum.