Medical Electronics Technicians
|Degree Level||Associate's degreel; varies based on position|
|Degree Field||Biomedical equipment technology and engineering|
|Experience||2-4 years experience required for certification, depending on education level|
|Licensure and Certification||Voluntary certification available|
|Key Skills||Physical stamina and manual dexterity; critical thinking, problem-solving, and time management skills; knowledge of complex machine parts and tools such as digital multimeters, calibration device,s and voltage meters|
|Salary||$49,400 (2015 median for medical equipment repairers)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May, 2014), Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI), Electronics Technicians Association, International (ETA), O*Net Online.
Medical electronics technicians, also called biomedical equipment technicians, maintain and repair a variety of medical devices, such as defibrillators, imaging devices, and patient monitors. Some technicians specialize in radiology or other laboratory devices.
Medical electronics technicians work on a full-time basis, usually, with some night and weekend hours if emergencies arise. Almost all of the electronic equipment they work on is located within healthcare settings, so minimal exposure to infectious diseases is associated with this profession. Some travel may be required, depending on the type of equipment repaired. Both fixed and varied schedules are available for these workers.
Medical electronics technicians need critical thinking, problem solving, and time management skills, as well as physical stamina and manual dexterity. They also need knowledge of complex machine parts and tools including digital multimeters, calibration devices, and voltage meters. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that medical equipment repairers earned a mean annual salary of $49,400 as of May 2015.
Let's take a look at the steps involved to become a medical electronics technician:
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Step 1: Study Biomedical Technology
Completion of a 2-year associate's degree program in biomedical equipment technology or engineering is often preferred by employers. However, shorter diploma programs may suffice. Common coursework in these programs includes technical math, electrical principles, medical imaging, electronic circuits, human physiology, and medical instrumentation. Additionally, some employers may provide sufficient on-the-job training.
Step 2: Gain Work Experience
Medical electronics technicians can work for equipment manufacturers and suppliers, independent repair shops, or healthcare facilities. Entry-level technicians can expect to perform simple maintenance tasks, such as testing and repair services, under the supervision of more experienced workers. More experienced technicians can work independently, write reports, and maintain records.
Voluntary certifications offered by the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) and the Electronics Technicians Association (ETA) can demonstrate a professional's knowledge and increase his or her chances for advancement. Professionals who meet each organization's experience and education requirements are eligible to take examinations that can qualify them for a variety of different designations, including the Biomedical Electronics Technician (BMD) and Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician CBET credentials.
Step 3: Earn a Bachelor's Degree
Supervisory, management, and other more advanced positions typically require both significant work experience and a bachelor's degree. Related programs, such as the Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering Technology, can prepare graduates for these positions, as well as a biomedical engineering career. Students might study topics like medical electronics, human biology, and engineering mathematics.
In summary, medical electronics technicians, also called biomedical equipment technicians, typically need an associate's degree in biomedical equipment technology or engineering. Voluntary certification and a bachelor's degree could lead to advanced positions.