Electromedical-equipment repairers, also referred to as biomedical equipment technicians (BMETs), fix, service and maintain high-tech machinery used in the healthcare industry, such as electrocardiography and electroencephalography devices. This career offers the option of self-employment, though many biomedical equipment technicians work for equipment wholesalers or hospitals.
These professionals must often be on call 24 hours a day and sometimes must travel to repair medical equipment. They also risk exposing themselves to illness by walking into healthcare facilities. However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that job growth in the field will rise significantly over the 2012-2022 decade, due to the ever-increasing use of new equipment in the healthcare industry.
|Degree Level||Associate's or bachelor's degree|
|Degree Field||Biomedical equipment technology or biomedical engineering technology|
|Certification||Certification is voluntary but can increase employment and advancement opportunities|
|Experience||Entry-level; no previous experience required|
|Key Skills||Aptitude for mechanics and troubleshooting; ability to manage time; problem solving skills; familiarity with maintenance management software and medical equipment diagnostic applications; knowledge of complex equipment and the tools used to repair them, such as precision levers, pressure gauges, ventilator analyzers and amperage meters|
|Salary (2015)||$46,340 yearly (median for all medical equipment repairers)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*Net OnLine
Steps for Medical Equipment Repair
What steps do I need to take to be an electromedical-equipment repairer?
Step 1: Earn an Associate's or Bachelor's Degree
Generally, electromedical-equipment repairers are required to have at least an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in biomedical equipment technology or biomedical engineering technology. Although an associate's degree is sufficient for most positions, a bachelor's degree in one of these majors may be required for those who work with more complicated equipment, such as defibrillators.
Students enrolled in associate's degree programs typically take courses in alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) electricity, biomedical instrumentation, digital electronics and networking concepts. Many courses have both classroom and laboratory components, and students are typically required to gain internship or cooperative work experience during their course of study.
Bachelor's degree programs typically include many of the same courses found in associate's degree programs as well as more advanced courses in technical writing, patient safety, ethics, circuitry and signal processing. Students may be required to complete a senior project, which can involve designing a piece of medical equipment or performing an evaluation under the guidance of healthcare staff and faculty members.
Step 2: Gain Employment and On-the-Job Training
After completing postsecondary training, electromedical-equipment repairers can search for employment with equipment wholesalers, hospitals and medical equipment repair shops. Newly employed workers generally must complete a period of on-the-job training that lasts 3-6 months. Experienced workers introduce trainees to one type of equipment at a time, since each piece of equipment is different and must be mastered separately. Trainees may be required to study equipment manuals or attend training courses provided by equipment manufacturers.
Step 3: Consider Earning Certification
Earning certification can demonstrate to employers that an electromedical-equipment repairer is dedicated to maintaining a high level of knowledge and skill in his or her career. The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) offers the Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician (CBET) designation.
To be eligible for certification, a person must have a 2-year degree in biomedical equipment technology coupled with two years of work experience or an equivalent amount of work and experience. The certification exam consists of questions on anatomy and physiology, electricity fundamentals, medical equipment operation and function, problem solving and public safety. Certification is valid for three years, and repairers must complete 15 activity points during this 3-year period to maintain certification.
- Earn additional certifications. Electromedical-equipment repairers may further increase job prospects by obtaining extra certification. For example, in addition to the CBET designation, the AAMI offers the Certified Radiology Equipment Specialists (CRES) and Certified Laboratory Equipment Specialist (CLES) designations.
Step 4: Continuing Your Education
Since technology is constantly changing, electromedical-equipment repairers often participate in continuing education to become familiar with new technologies and equipment. This ongoing training is useful for those who are certified, since continuing education is required to renew certification. Continuing education may take the form of seminars, meetings, conferences, self-study activities and participation in professional organizations.
Electromedical-equipment repairers fix, service and maintain high-tech machinery used in the healthcare industry. They have college degrees, superior mechanical abilities and expertise in diagnosing and repairing complex medical equipment, and they earn a median annual salary of $46,340.