Medical Equipment Repair Associate's Degree
Can you work effectively under pressure? Do you have a knack for mechanics and an interest in the healthcare field? If so, you might consider becoming a medical equipment repairer. Also known as a biomedical equipment technologist, your duties include the installation, maintenance and repair of various pieces of medical equipment used at healthcare facilities. Continue reading to learn more. Schools offering Health Care Administration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
How Can I Find a Medical Equipment Repair Associate's Degree Program?
The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) is a non-profit, professional alliance of individuals, corporations and healthcare institutions that sets and monitors standards for educational programs, among other functions (www.aami.org). At its website, the AAMI maintains a directory of schools that offer certificate and degree programs in biomedical engineering (BME) and biomedical engineering technology (BMET). BMET programs deal with installation, maintenance and repair of medical equipment.
AAMI's directory includes associate's and bachelor's degree programs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), though an associate's degree can qualify you for an entry-level position in the industry, in order to advance to supervisory or managerial status, you usually need a bachelor's degree (www.bls.gov).
What's Generally Included in a Program?
A program consisting of 62-75 credits takes about two years to complete. Depending on the school, you might earn an Associate of Science, Associate of Applied Science, or Associate of Science in Applied Science and Technology with a specialization in biomedical equipment technology. Credits you earn in an Associate of Science program are most likely to be transferable toward a 4-year degree program.
Typical courses may include medical equipment standards, design and testing, anatomy and physiology, AC and DC electricity, medical terminology, biomedical instrumentation and specialized medical systems. There are elements of practical application in all programs. In addition to in-house labs or workshops, you may be required to complete a series of practicums or internships with school-partnered facilities. Facilities can include doctor's offices, equipment manufacturers or hospital biomedical equipment repair departments.
Because of the necessity of hands-on training, programs presented in a completely online format are non-existent. You may be able to find programs in which some didactic or theory courses are available online, but in-person components will always be present and required.
What Certifications Are Necessary?
The BLS states that while certifications are not required, they can enhance your employment and advancement possibilities. Through the AAMI, the International Certification Commission administers certification examinations leading to three designations. They are the Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician (CBET), Certified Radiology Equipment Specialist (CRES) and Certified Laboratory Equipment Specialist (CLES). With an associate's degree and at least two years of qualifying work experience, you may be eligible to sit for a certification examination.
What Is the Occupational Outlook?
According to the BLS, you may be able to find employment as a medical equipment repairer in a number of different venues including health and personal care stores, professional equipment wholesalers, hospitals, private practices, electronic equipment repairers, manufacturers and as a sales representative.
In 2010, the BLS projected that employment opportunities for medical equipment repairers would increase 27% from 2008-2018. The latest salary statistics are also from 2010. At that time, the BLS determined the mean annual wage for medical equipment repairers to be $46,380.
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