Biomedical equipment technicians are trained to maintain and repair medical equipment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an associate's degree is typically required for entry-level positions as biomedical equipment technicians, and a bachelor's degree is usually required for advancement. Although neither of these programs is available in a fully online format due to the hands-on practice required with expensive medical equipment, degree programs in the field may offer some basic courses in an online format. However, even programs with some online coursework are primarily on-campus programs.
Associate's Degree in Biomedical Equipment Technology
An associate's degree in biomedical equipment technology provides students with an understanding of the procedures for operating, maintaining and repairing medical equipment in a variety of healthcare settings. This degree program provides not only technical skills, but knowledge in electronic concepts and principles in areas such as microprocessors, circuitry, and networking devices. Students are required to become familiar with the medical terminology and legal aspects of this type of work.
Program Information and Requirements
An associate's degree program in biomedical equipment technology can usually be completed in two years. Through coursework and practical instruction, students gain valuable hands-on experience working with biomedical equipment in the classroom and in clinical settings.
In addition to providing hands-on courses in equipment use, some programs offer lower-level courses online. Common online courses include college writing, history and other general education requirements. Online courses are typically offered through course management software and may require high-speed internet access.
The curriculum for a biomedical equipment technology degree at the associate's level combines a number of courses in electronics with other sciences, such as biology, chemistry and physics. Human anatomy and physiology are common prerequisites for upper-level courses needed for this degree.
This course focuses on the various types of medical equipment used in hospitals and other medical facilities. Topics include biomedical instrumentation and measurement, medical imaging equipment, respiratory therapy devices, intensive care monitoring equipment and cardiovascular devices.
Students become familiar with digital circuits and how they are used in electronic equipment. Topics include gate operation, digital waveform and data interpretation.
Solid State Electronics
Lessons provide students with an in-depth understanding of solid state circuit configurations and operations. Through both theoretical and experimental exercises, students study transistor amplifiers, voltage regulators, switching circuits, and MOSFETs.
Bachelor's Degree in Biomedical Engineering Technology
Although an associate's degree is the minimum standard for most entry-level careers within this field, earning a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering technology may lead to career opportunities in supervisory or managerial positions. A bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering technology provides instruction in traditional engineering concepts and biological processes.
Coursework focuses on developing students' communication, analysis and problem-solving skills in order to prepare them to work effectively with other medical professionals. Technicians learn how to implement, repair and maintain advanced healthcare equipment. Some schools allow students to transfer credits earned in an associate's program in biomedical technology to a bachelor's program.
Program Information and Requirements
Required coursework for a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering technology includes general education credits, a core group of field-specific classes and a number of elective courses. Although this degree requires intensive on-campus coursework, some colleges and universities allow students to complete some of their biomedical engineering courses online.
The biomedical engineering technology curriculum includes courses in the technical, electrical and computer elements of high-tech medical equipment. A few examples of field-relevant courses that can be completed online include:
This online course introduces students to commonly used biomedical equipment. Equipment operation and physiologic measurements, such as pulmonary, cardiovascular and applicable pressure, are discussed.
Technology and Special Patient Populations
Students concentrate on the technology used to supplement the care of special patient populations in a clinical environment. Emphasis is placed on the medical needs of surgical, neonatal, cardiac intensive care and trauma unit patients.
Students are introduced to the principles of diagnostic radiography equipment. Topics include x-ray generation, film processing and image formation. Focus is placed on both radiography quality and safety.
Due to the increased complexity of medical technology, the BLS projected that employment of biomedical equipment technicians would grow by 6% , as fast as the average for all occupations, between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). As of May 2015, the BLS reported that biomedical equipment technicians earned a median annual wage of $46,340.
Keeping current with technological advances will continue to be an important factor in being a successful biomedical equipment technician. Technicians must continually update their knowledge and skills as new equipment is introduced to the healthcare field. Continuing education opportunities are offered by traditional educational institutions, medical equipment manufacturers and professional associations, such as the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation.
In online biomedical equipment technology courses, students learn to use, maintain and repair medical equipment, in addition to studying legal and medical terminology and patient care. Since there is always new equipment being added to the healthcare field, technicians must have up-to-date knowledge and skills to keep up with these advances, and continuing education is available in traditionally formatted programs.