Become a Medical Device Repair Technician
Medical device repair technicians, also referred to as biomedical equipment technicians, install and repair devices and equipment used in hospitals and clinics. They also perform routine inspections and keep logs to ensure equipment is up-to-date and in proper working order. Devices and equipment may include heart monitors, diagnostic equipment, and wheelchairs.
Medical device repair technicians often work on a full-time basis, though evening, weekend, and on-call hours may be required. Such workers service equipment located in healthcare facilities and may be exposed to infectious diseases as a result. Individuals may be required to travel local and long distances to equipment locations. The job can be stressful, as there is an urgency to getting a machine fixed as soon as possible. Opportunities for self-employment are available.
|Degree Level||Associate's degree|
|Degree Name||Biomedical equipment technology or similar field|
|Certification||Voluntary certification is offered through the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI)|
|Experience||Entry-level - none|
|Key Skills||Dexterity and coordination; time management skills; familiarity with electromechanical devices|
|Median Salary (May 2015)*||$46,340 (for all medical equipment repairers)|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Monster.com job postings (November 2012).
But how specifically can someone obtain a position in this field?
Earn an Associate's Degree
Although some medical device repair technicians enter the profession after completing high school, most technicians have an associate's degree in biomedical equipment technology or a similar field. Common topics in an associate's degree program include microcomputers, electronic circuits, medical imaging devices, and biomedical instrumentation. Some programs require students to take classes in human anatomy or biology as well. Programs may offer internship opportunities, allowing students to gain hands-on maintenance and repair experience within a health care facility.
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Find a Job
Most medical device repair technicians are hired by hospitals and other health care facilities. However, some of these professionals are private contractors who travel to sites when repairs are needed. Medical device repair technicians may begin their careers by performing simple maintenance work on electrical wheel chairs, beds, and hydraulic systems. In some cases, they receive on-the-job training from more experienced professionals in the field. During this time, entry-level technicians gain proficiency with blueprints, basic repairs, and machine calibration.
The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) offers several voluntary certifications in medical equipment repair that can bolster a job applicant's employment opportunities. Biomedical Equipment Technician, Radiology Equipment Specialist and Laboratory Equipment Specialist credentials are available through the AAMI. In order to be eligible, applicants must meet education and experience requirements, and qualified candidates need to pass a certification exam.
Complete Continuing Education
Because this field is constantly changing, repair technicians must remain up-to-date on new devices. In addition, AAMI credentials must be renewed every three years through continuing education. Technicians can take relevant training courses, attend professional conferences, or publish research papers to meet continuing education requirements. Repairing some advanced, more sophisticated medical equipment requires a bachelor's degree. Technicians who specialize in the repair of CAT scanners and other types of more complex machinery have better opportunities to advance their careers.
To sum up, aspiring medical device repairers should complete an associate's degree program in biomedical equipment before seeking an entry-level position in the field. Voluntary certification and continuing education options are also available.