Medical device repairers, also known as medical equipment repairers or biomedical equipment technicians (BMETs), perform maintenance and repairs on medical devices and equipment. To enter this field, a minimum of an associate's degree is typically required. A bachelor's degree is often required to obtain supervisory positions, and engineers who design medical devices usually need a master's degree.
In a 2-year associate's degree program, students get hands-on experience in the operation and repair of many types of devices. A bachelor's degree program in biomedical engineering also offers classes and lab work in medical equipment repair. Professional certifications are available to graduates of both program types.
Students who want to design and develop new types of medical devices can get training through a master's degree program. Applicants will need a bachelor's degree and a solid background in engineering. Many programs offer internship or research assistant opportunities with local biomedical engineering organizations, hospitals or clinical laboratories.
Associate's Degree in Biomedical Technology
Students pursuing an associate's degree in biomedical technology, such as an Associate of Applied Science in Biomedical Equipment or Associate of Science in Biomedical Equipment Technology, must have a high school diploma. Once enrolled, they can expect to gain knowledge of various functions of high-level biomedical devices and equipment. During these programs, students learn how to sustain, fine-tune, adjust and restore medical equipment, such as cardiac monitors, patient beds and tables and imaging equipment. Students also receive guidance in several of the following areas:
- Central processing units
- Integrated circuit technology
- Numerical approaches and comparisons
- Electrical theories
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Biomedical Engineering
To enroll in a B.S. program, students must have a high school diploma. The biomedical engineering major typically includes laboratory hours and coursework from the biological sciences and engineering disciplines. Students may also conduct research during their junior or senior year and pursue specialized training in one of the available program tracks, including medical optics, biomechanics or bioelectrical systems. Course topics can include instruments, imaging, biomedical mechanics and bioengineering in addition to the following:
- Analytical interpretations
- Calculus, chemistry and circuitry
- Computer program and software design
- Equipment dimensions
- Natural science
- Physical science labs
Master of Science (M.S.) in Medical Device and Diagnostic Engineering
This master's degree program provides students with opportunities to gain extensive familiarity and expertise with medical equipment and analytical practices. Students learn rules and protocols pertaining to medical products as well as diagnostic techniques. Many programs offer internship or research assistant opportunities with local biomedical engineering organizations, hospitals or clinical laboratories. Program coursework may include some of the following:
- Computer applications and systems
- Ethics in biomedical engineering
- Equipment control and measuring
- Indicators and structure exploration
- Progressive areas in biomedical methods
- Rules and guidelines with medical equipment
Popular Career Options
Associate's degree graduates may choose to pursue entry-level positions in biomedical engineering. Some similar career titles include:
- Biomedical equipment technician (BMET)
- Biomedical electronics technician
- Biomedical technician
- Service technician
Graduates of biomedical bachelor's degree programs can choose to pursue careers in several areas of biomedical engineering. Some career options include:
- Coil repair technician
- Dental equipment technician
- X-ray service engineer
Professional Certification and Continuing Education Information
The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) offers the Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician designation for graduates of an associate's degree program that specializes in biomedical technology (www.aami.org). The AAMI's certification also requires a minimum number of years of experience and successful passing of an exam that covers areas such as medical equipment function and operation, public safety and fundamentals of electricity.
When pursuing careers in radiology or lab equipment repair, the AAMI also offers the Certified Radiology Equipment Specialist (CRES) designation and the Certified Laboratory Equipment Specialist (CLES) designation.
Graduates of master's degree programs can pursue a higher level of education by enrolling in a Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Engineering program. Doctoral degree programs prepare students for utilizing cutting-edge engineering theories and methods. Students are also prepared to enter careers in educational studies and instruction or private research for engineering or government labs.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), biomedical engineers in the medical equipment and supplies manufacturing industry earned an average annual salary of $96,870 in 2015 (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported that in the same year, this industry had the highest level of employment for biomedical engineers.
Students interested in repairing medical devices can complete an associate's degree program in biomedical technology or pursue a bachelor's degree in order to take on leadership positions in the field. Master's degree students focus on creating new medical devices and equipment.