Biomedical Equipment Technician: Job Duties, Career Outlook, and Education Prerequisites
Biomedical equipment technicians repair and maintain all types of medical equipment. Learn about predictions for future job growth, get salary information, and find out what education and training are required in order to enter this profession. Schools offering Engineering & Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Could I Do As a Biomedical Equipment Technician?
As a biomedical equipment technician, you generally perform troubleshooting, repair and maintenance for medical equipment to guard against breakage or malfunction during use. This can include replacing parts, lubricating joints and updating software. You might also demonstrate how to safely and properly use the equipment to patients and health care workers. Typically, you'd work regular hours during the day, but could be on call in the event that a critical piece of equipment breaks down.
To work in this field, you must be detail-oriented and good with tools. You'll need technical knowledge in order to work with complex machinery, such as ventilators, electric wheelchairs, infusion pumps, cardiac monitors, imaging equipment and defibrillators. Depending on your employer's requirements, you might need to know how to repair several types of machines, or you could specialize in a particular piece of medical equipment.
How Is the Career Outlook?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the medical equipment repair industry was expected to see an employment increase of 27% between 2008 and 2018 (www.bls.gov). The growing complexity of medical equipment and the increasing number of older patients who need healthcare procedures were the primary reasons behind this expected increase in demand. As of May 2010, the BLS reported that approximately 32,980 people held jobs as medical equipment repairers in the U.S. These professionals earned an average salary of $46,380 annually.
What Education Will I Need?
Depending on the type of equipment being repaired, some employers will train you on the job. However, the BLS reported that you might need an associate degree to qualify for some positions. If you enroll in a 2-year program, you'll typically take courses in electronic circuitry, equipment instrumentation, fiber optics and motor control systems. Practicums and internships are also common program requirements.
If you want to repair defibrillators, CT (computed tomography) scanners and other complex medical equipment, the BLS stated that you might need to complete a bachelor's degree program, such as a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology or Biomedical Engineering Technology. These programs include advanced courses in microprocessor systems, computer software architecture and circuit analysis.
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