Biomedical Equipment Technician: Job Duties, Career Outlook, and Education Prerequisites
Explore the career requirements for biomedical equipment technicians. Get the facts about job duties, employment outlook, salary and education requirements to determine if this is the right career for you.
What Is a Biomedical Equipment Technician?
Biomedical equipment technicians, also called medical equipment repairers, maintain and repair all types of medical equipment, including sophisticated machines such as defibrillators and computed tomography (CT) scanners. They are also responsible for approving equipment for use in their establishment, by making sure the equipment meets protocol of safety regulations and codes. This is done through various tests and calibration of the equipment, which biomedical equipment technicians will have to do regularly.
The chart below provides an overview of what you need to know to enter this profession.
|Degree Required||Associate degree for general medical equipment; bachelor's degree for complex medical equipment|
|Education Field of Study||Biomedical technology, biomedical engineering technology|
|Key Responsibilities||Repair, maintenance and troubleshooting of medical equipment|
|Certification||Certification preferred by employers|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)||4%*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$49,210*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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), medical equipment repairers are expected to see an employment increase of 4% between 2018 and 2028, which is average in comparison to other occupations (www.bls.gov). The growing complexity of medical equipment and the increasing number of older patients who need healthcare procedures are the primary reasons behind this expected increase.
As of May 2018, the BLS reported that approximately 53,800 people held jobs as medical equipment repairers in the U.S. These professionals earned a median salary of $49,210 annually as of May 2018. The highest paying industries at that time were pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing as well as management of companies and enterprises.
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 typically 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 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.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
Similar occupations are in a general repair or technician field, though these can span through various work environments. Becoming a general maintenance worker requires a high school education in addition to a postsecondary trade school in the field. Maintenance workers usually repair machines or fixtures in buildings, as well as conduct regular inspections to ensure mechanical equipment are working properly. Another similar career would be becoming an industry machinery mechanic, which only requires a high school diploma. In this field, workers are responsible for replacing, repairing, and maintaining the equipment in manufacturing plants or factories.