How to Become a Biomedical Equipment Technician in 5 Steps

Explore the career requirements for biomedical equipment technicians. Get the facts about education and licensure requirements, salary, and potential job growth to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Biomedical Engineering Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Biomedical Equipment Technician?

Biomedical equipment technicians ensure the proper function of complex medical equipment used in the healthcare industry. You may work on various equipment or, with extra training, you'll be able to specialize. In all cases, you'll be responsible for maintaining the operational safety of that equipment. Given your skills, you may be required to install and test new biomedical equipment and repair broken equipment. When working with new equipment, you may need to train laboratory technicians on how to use it and make calibrations. The chart below can give you some idea of the nature of a career in the field of biomedical equipment technology.

Degree RequiredAssociate's degree; bachelor's degree for advancement
Education Field of StudyBiomedical technology, engineering
Training RequiredShadow and assist an experienced technician for a period of months
CertificationCertification is not mandatory but can be beneficial
Job Growth (2014-2024)6% (for all medical equipment repairers)*
Median Salary (2015)$46,340 (for all medical equipment repairers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a Biomedical Equipment Technician Do?

As a biomedical equipment technician (BMET), you'll inspect, calibrate, operate and repair equipment used in medical settings, including at hospitals, clinics and doctors' offices. You'll handle complex machinery such as ventilators, infusion pumps, cardiac monitors and defibrillators. You must follow written instructions when working with specialized equipment. You'll also perform safety checks on electrical equipment, wheelchairs and radiological diagnostic testing machines.

Step 1: Earn an Associate's Degree

If you're in high school, you should take courses in electronics, science, computers, technology and math to prepare you for this occupation. If you're already out of high school, you may enroll in a 2-year community college to earn an associate's degree in a major such as biomedical technology, engineering, electronics or medical technology. Some programs allow you to specialize in areas such as surgical equipment, lab equipment or imaging equipment. Some associate's degree programs may be transferable to a 4-year degree.

Also, you may want to consider an internship with a biomedical equipment company or asking to shadow a local biomedical equipment technician to gain an idea of what type of work you would be performing. You should like to work with your hands and have the patience to program complicated equipment.

Step 2: Seek Employment

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth for biomedical equipment technicians, also classified as medical equipment repairers, is expected to increase by 6% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). You'll find this greater demand for technicians is due to an expanding elderly population that requires more healthcare services.

You'll need at least an associate's degree to find a job as a biomedical equipment technician, according to the BLS. The industries that employed the most biomedical equipment technicians as of May 2015 were professional and commercial equipment and supplies wholesalers, hospitals, electronic equipment repair companies and consumer goods retail. The BLS also noted the median annual wage for a biomedical equipment technician was $46,340 as of May 2015.

Step 3: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

If you want to work on more advanced medical equipment such as defibrillators and CAT scanners, you may need a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering. This type of program is designed to give you a broad grasp of engineering and science principles and how they are used to diagnosis and treat people. You may be able to specialize in areas such as biomechanics, biomedical imaging and nano-biotechnology.

Step 4: Seek Certification

You may seek voluntary certification to become a certified biomedical equipment technician. The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation provides information on certification through the Board of Examiners for Biomedical Equipment Technicians. This certification requires at least two years of work experience, an associate's degree and passage of a written exam.

Step 5: Pursue Continued Training

Due to constant changes in technology, you'll need to continually update your skills and training. This may require earning a bachelor's degree if you don't have one or attending seminars to learn about new equipment and technology. Continuing your education gives you greater opportunity for advancement and other career opportunities. For example, if you're an experienced biomedical equipment technician, you may want to seek employment with a medical equipment company as a sales representative.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Another career that requires individuals to know how to use biomedical equipment is medical laboratory technology. Technologists and technicians work with the equipment on a daily basis, running tests on various samples for medical analysis. Technicians typically need an associate's degree, while technologists need a bachelor's.

Outside of the medical field, biomedical equipment technicians are related to other types of repairperson careers. These include aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics, who have to be knowledgeable of complex aircraft mechanics; industrial machinery mechanics, who repair complex industrial machines; and general maintenance and repair workers. Most of these jobs require a high school diploma plus hands-on training, though avionics technicians typically need an associate's degree.

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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