Biomedical equipment repair training programs prepare individuals to test, maintain and repair the high-tech equipment that is used in the healthcare industry. Program topics may range from biomedical electronics and ethics to circuit analysis and medical imaging. Training and education to become a biomedical equipment technician is most often offered at the certificate and associate degree levels; however, a handful of colleges and universities also offer relevant bachelor's degrees.
For all of these programs, applicants must have a GED or high school diploma; bachelor's degree programs require ACT or SAT scores as well. Some courses and programs are available online.
Biomedical Equipment Technology Certificate
Certificate programs in biomedical equipment repair teach individuals about the equipment used in a variety of healthcare settings. Individuals receive training in how to install, service, troubleshoot and repair sophisticated medical devices and instrumentation. Students also become knowledgeable in biomedical electronics theory and the safe operation of commonly used biomedical equipment. Emphasis is placed on how to properly perform preventative inspections in order to ensure biomedical equipment is functioning properly and meeting safety standards.
Biomedical equipment repair certificate programs include coursework that provides a solid foundation in electronics, networking and mathematics. Examples of topics covered include:
- Medical terminology
- Biomedical electronics
- Digital electronics
- Hospital safety standards
- Biomedical instrumentation
Associate of Applied Science in Biomedical Equipment Technology
An associate's degree program in biomedical equipment technology provides students with the technical skills and medical knowledge needed to perform routine maintenance and repairs on a wide array of electronic, computerized and networked medical equipment. Students learn to use a variety of tools, including specialized software, multimeters, computers and other electronic devices to troubleshoot, adjust and repair medical equipment, including heart monitors, ultrasound equipment, electric wheelchairs and defibrillators.
The program also focuses on the development of communication skills in order for graduates to work and communicate effectively within a high-tech environment alongside other respected healthcare and medical professionals. This type of degree program is typically offered through community colleges or technical schools.
The curriculum for an associate's degree in biomedical equipment technology combines general education coursework with field-specific courses to provide a comprehensive education. Typically requiring approximately 69-72 credit hours, the program usually requires two years of study and includes courses in the following topics:
- Electric circuits
- Medical terminology
- Biomedical ethics
- Solid state devices
- Biomedical electronic systems
- Digital circuits
Bachelor's Degree in Biomedical Engineering Technology
A bachelor's degree program in biomedical engineering technology focuses on training individuals to provide medical equipment support in a clinical environment. Students gain knowledge in traditional engineering concepts and biological processes in order to work closely with medical professionals and other technicians in the design, implementation, repair and maintenance of advanced health equipment and devices. The program also helps to develop problem-solving and communication skills in order to produce graduates who are effective members of healthcare teams.
Required coursework for a bachelor's degree includes general education credits, a core group of field-specific classes and a number of elective courses. Typically requiring at least four years to complete, an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering technology also includes courses in the technical, electrical and computer aspects of medical equipment. Examples of topics covered include:
- Human biology
- Circuit analysis
- Biomedical instrumentation systems
- Medical imaging
- Computer communications
Popular Career Options
Graduates with a bachelor's degree can utilize both their engineering and biological knowledge to pursue leadership roles within the industry. In addition to pursuing entry-level careers as biomedical equipment repairers, professionals at this level are able to analyze and solve medical technology problems within a variety of positions, including supervisory and managerial positions in:
- Biomedical equipment repair
- Biomedical computing
- Biomechanics engineering
- Medical imaging processing
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Graduates with a certificate or associate degree in biomedical equipment repair are prepared to pursue careers as biomedical equipment repairers or biomedical equipment technicians. Other job titles may include biomedical equipment specialist or field service technician. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for this occupation should be about average during the 2014-2024 decade, with the employment of medical equipment repairers projected to grow by 6% (www.bls.gov). As of May 2015, the BLS listed the median annual salary for medical equipment repairers in the U.S. as $46,340.
Continuing Education and Certification
Although an associate's degree in biomedical equipment technology is an industry standard for employment according to the BLS, those seeking career advancement may consider pursuing a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering technology. Individuals wishing to advance in this field may also consider earning optional industry certification. Certification programs for biomedical equipment technicians (CBET), laboratory equipment specialists (CLES) and radiology equipment specialists (CRES) are available through the International Certification Commission of Clinical Engineering and Biomedical Technology. Each certification requires a separate examination. Certified individuals must renew their certification every three years by accumulating at least 15 points of qualifying continuing practice activities and paying the associated renewal fees.
Certificate and associate degree programs in biomedical equipment technology cover the electronics and biomedical subjects needed for a career in biomedical equipment repair. Some institutions offer a broader, more advanced bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering technology.