Biomedical Equipment Technician Certification

by TBS Staff

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Biomedical equipment technicians, or BMET's, install and repair medical equipment, ensuring safe and effective patient care. The average biomedical equipment technician salary exceeds $49,000 a year, making it a lucrative field for professionals with an associate degree.

Essential Career Information

Median Annual Salary $49,210
Employment Growth Forecast from 2018-2028 4%
Annual Salary of the Highest 10% $81,970
Number of New Jobs from 2018-2028 2,000
Annual Salary of the Lowest 10% $29,310
Average Entry-Level Education Requirements Associate Degree

Source: BLS

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Alternate Job Titles

What Is a Biomedical Equipment Technician?

Biomedical equipment technicians install, maintain, and repair medical equipment. They must test and calibrate parts, identifying parts for repair or replacement. These technicians also perform preventative maintenance on critical equipment to ensure high-quality treatment for patients.

Biomedical equipment technicians bring several critical skills to their profession. The field requires mechanical and technical skills to diagnose problems and conduct repairs. The profession also requires communication and time-management skills to quickly and effectively ensure the safety of medical equipment.

The largest employers of biomedical equipment technicians include medical equipment wholesalers, equipment repair businesses, and hospitals. Many biomedical equipment technicians must travel to perform repairs. They often complete their work in hospitals or doctors' offices. While many work regular shifts, some positions require on-call hours, including evenings and weekends, to address urgent repair needs.

Prospective biomedical equipment technicians can enter the field with an associate degree in biomedical technology or biomedical engineering; however, some employers prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree. After completing education requirements, entry-level biomedical equipment technicians typically complete on-the-job training with experienced supervisors.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I become BMET certified?

Candidates must hold at least an associate degree from an accredited institution, two years of professional experience, and pass an examination to become BMET certified.

What is a biomedical technician's salary?

The average biomedical technician salary exceeds $49,000 a year, or over $23 an hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What is it like being a biomedical equipment technician?

Biomedical equipment technicians work in a fast-paced, demanding field that plays a central role in the healthcare industry. The job requires strong mechanical and technical abilities.

What is the difference between a biotechnology researcher and a biotechnology technician?

Biotechnology researchers create and develop new medical equipment, while biotechnology technicians ensure the equipment functions smoothly.

Where does a biomedical equipment technician work?

Wholesale equipment makers, medical equipment repair companies, ambulatory healthcare services, and hospitals all offer biomedical equipment technician jobs.

What Does a Biomedical Equipment Technician Do?

Biomedical equipment technicians install and repair medical equipment and perform preventative maintenance. They must keep records of maintenance and repairs, provide technical information on operating medical equipment, and replace medical equipment as necessary. Biomedical equipment technicians use electronic tools, computers, and software to problem solve and repair equipment. They also rely on software to recalibrate machines.

Every piece of equipment in a doctor's office or hospital needs regular maintenance and repairs, including patient monitors, ventilators, ultrasound equipment, and X-ray machines. Biomedical equipment technicians may specialize in a type of equipment. Surgical instrument technicians, for example, repair equipment and tools used during surgical procedures. Dental equipment mechanics specialize in tools used by dentists, while radiology equipment servicers work on medical imaging equipment.

There are several different titles for levels of responsibility within the biomedical equipment technician profession. Biomedical engineering technologists, or BMETs, and biomedical engineering technicians bring a background in engineering to their jobs. Biomedical equipment specialists and biomedical equipment technologists perform many of the same functions as biomedical equipment technicians. Biomedical equipment technicians can demonstrate their expertise by pursuing professional certification.

How to Become a Biomedical Equipment Technician

The education requirements for biomedical equipment technicians vary by role. Most employers prefer candidates with at least an associate degree in biomedical equipment technology or biomedical engineering. Some roles require a bachelor's degree, including positions with greater responsibility. In general, technicians working on the most complicated medical technologies, like those who work with CAT scanners, require the highest level of education. Jobs repairing less complex equipment, like electric wheelchairs and hospital beds, may only require a certificate and work experience.

During a biomedical equipment technology program, learners study technical specifications, review operating manuals, and gain hands-on experience with medical equipment. Professionals must continually update their skills and experience as new technologies emerge. Professional certification helps biomedical equipment technicians stay current in the field and advance their careers.

Prospective biomedical equipment students should look for accredited programs. Independent accrediting agencies review programs to assess student learning outcomes, faculty qualifications, and graduation requirements. Several accrediting agencies approve biomedical technology and engineering programs, including the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering, ABET, and Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care.

Certificate Programs

During a biomedical technology certificate program, students gain foundational knowledge of medical technology diagnostics, maintenance, and repair. The curriculum builds technical and mechanical skills while emphasizing the challenges of repairing medical technologies. Most programs take between 6-12 months to complete.

While the entry-level education requirement for most biomedical equipment technician jobs is an associate degree, a certificate program helps prospective technicians gain experience and qualify for some entry-level opportunities.

Associate Degree Programs

Most entry-level biomedical equipment technician jobs require an associate degree. Students can choose between a biomedical technology degree or a biomedical engineering degree, depending on individual career goals and interests. Earning an associate degree generally takes two years for full-time students to complete.

Students take classes on topics like electronic devices, biomedical instrumentation, and physiology. The curriculum also incorporates hands-on training and general education courses. Graduates can pursue careers in biomedical equipment technology or transfer into a bachelor's program. Transfer students with an associate degree can often complete a bachelor's in two years.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

A bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering, biomedical technology, or a closely related field prepares graduates for any biomedical equipment technician job. A bachelor's also helps current technicians improve their skills and qualify for advanced opportunities. Technicians who work on sophisticated equipment, including defibrillators and CAT scanners, often hold a bachelor's degree.

During a bachelor's in biomedical technology, students take classes on topics like biomolecular technology, laboratory management, and medical ethics. Many programs also incorporate clinical requirements. A bachelor's degree generally takes four years for full-time students to complete.

Professional Licensure and Certification for Biomedical Equipment Technicians

Biomedical equipment technicians can pursue voluntary professional certifications to demonstrate their skills and stand out in the job market. Candidates for professional certification generally need to meet education and experience requirements and pass an examination. Certified biomedical equipment technicians must maintain their credentials by completing continuing education requirements.

Several organizations offer certification. For example, the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation grants the certified biomedical equipment technician credential, while the Electronics Technician Association grants the biomedical electronics technician credential. Specialized certifications, like certified radiology equipment specialist and certified laboratory equipment specialist, also demonstrate competencies in the field.

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