Biomedical device technicians maintain medical equipment for hospitals and doctors' offices. They must be skilled at repairing a variety of medical devices and have a working knowledge of the various mechanics and functions of different equipment.
A biomedical device technician, or biomedical equipment technician, maintains and repairs medical devices, such as ultrasound equipment, patient monitors, electric wheelchairs and defibrillators. An associate's degree is the generally preferred credential. Those interested in this field should be well-versed in working with tools and should be detail-oriented.
|Required Education||Associate's degree; Bachelor's degree for those working with more advanced equipment|
|Other Requirements||On-the-job training; voluntary certification is available|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||6% (all medical equipment repairers)*|
|Average Salary (2015)||$49,400 (all medical equipment repairers)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Job Description for a Biomedical Device Technician
A biomedical device technician maintains and repairs electronic, electromechanical and hydraulic equipment in the medical field. They may work in hospitals or for repair and maintenance companies servicing medical practitioners' offices. A technician uses a variety of tools, such as computers and software, hand tools, soldering irons, multimeters, power tools and measuring devices.
Along with maintenance and repair, the technician is responsible for testing and calibrating components and equipment and maintaining records on equipment maintenance, repairs and updates. In addition, they must up-date their knowledge and training by studying manuals and attending training sessions, explain operation and care of equipment to medical personnel, ensure safety and compliance with regulations and inspect equipment.
Requirements for a Biomedical Device Technician
Employers usually prefer an associate's degree in biomedical equipment technology, although a bachelor's may be required for working on some equipment or for advancement. Associate's degree programs in this area may include courses in biomedical equipment, electricity, circuits, medical terminology, electronic and communication systems, solid state and networking.
Certification is available for biomedical device technicians. The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (www.aami.org) or AAMI grants certification for biomedical equipment technicians, radiology equipment specialists and laboratory equipment specialists. AAMI does allow applicants who have not achieved all the requirements to apply in 'candidate status' - given five years to finish eligibility requirements before being granted full certification. The 4-hour examination for the certification consists of 150 multiple-choice questions given at a testing center.
Applicants can fulfill the eligibility requirements for the Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician certification (CBET) in one of four ways. They are:
- U.S. Military biomedical equipment technology program and two years work experience
- An associate's biomedical degree and two years work experience
- An associate's electronics technology degree and three years work experience
- Four years experience in full-time biomedical equipment technology.
Employment and Salary Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for medical equipment repairers, including biomedical device technicians, are projected to increase by 6% during the 2014-2024 decade. This employment growth is much faster than the average for all occupations during this same period. The BLS reported that medical equipment repairers made an average annual wage of $49,400 as of May 2015.
Medical equipment repairers must be skilled troubleshooters and have a working knowledge of various medical devices. They work with their hands and time-management is an important skill, as many pieces of medical equipment must be operational at a moment's notice.