Biomedical Equipment Technology Associate Degree

As a biomedical equipment technologist, you help maintain and repair medical equipment, like respirators, heart monitors, X-ray machines and imaging equipment. Learn about degree, course and certification options. Schools offering Engineering & Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Why Do I Need a Biomedical Equipment Technology Associate's Degree?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), you may qualify as an equipment repairman with a high school diploma and on-the-job training (www.bls.gov). However, the type of equipment you'll be qualified to repair will be limited to devices such as wheel chairs or hospital beds.

Your work will be more challenging, and you'll stand a better chance of being hired, if you hold an associate's degree in biomedical technology or engineering. The BLS states that you may need a bachelor's degree for career advancement or to qualify to work as a technologist on more complicated equipment, such as defibrillators or CAT scanners.

There are at least two sources you might use to locate an appropriate program. The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) maintains an online, by-state directory of schools that offer degree programs in biomedical equipment technology (www.aami.org). The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is an excellent source of postsecondary learning institutions and yields over 70 schools that may offer appropriate degree programs (www.nces.ed.gov).

What Will I Experience in a Program?

Programs leading to an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Biomedical Equipment Technology usually take about two years to complete. An A.A.S. prepares you to enter the workforce immediately upon graduation. However, depending on the school, you may be able to transfer credits earned toward a 4-year degree.

Typical courses you might encounter include biomedical anatomy and physiology, AC/DC electricity, hospital safety, BMET instrumentation, troubleshooting, wireless technology, medical communication systems, imaging techniques, digital electronics and microcontrollers. All programs require you to complete an internship or co-op work experience. The length of these sections varies from school to school.

Once you graduate and meet specified work experience requirements, you may be eligible to sit for one of the certification examinations administered by the International Certification Commission for Clinical Engineering and Biomedical Technology. While voluntary, certification can enhance your employment and advancement potential.

What Are My Online Course Possibilities?

Because of the hands-on nature of the training and the necessity of labs, there are no BMET associate's degree programs presented entirely online. Schools may allow you to complete a number of courses online. These are didactic courses and may include subjects such as medical electronics, BMET regulations, radiography systems and issues in BMET. Online courses are usually delivered asynchronously by way of a course management system like Blackboard. You have the option of accessing them at your convenience.

What Are the Employment Opportunities?

In 2010, the BLS projected employment opportunities for medical equipment repairers would increase 27% from 2008-2018. The increase is due in part to growing need for healthcare, brought on by an expanding senior population. Also in 2010, the BLS determined the mean annual wage for medical equipment repairers or technicians to be $46,380.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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