Biomedical Technician: Career Summary, Occupational Outlook, and Education Requirements

Explore the career requirements for biomedical technicians. Get the facts about education requirements, professional certification, job duties and employment outlook to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Biology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Biomedical Technician?

A biomedical technician, also called a biomedical equipment technician (BMET) or medical equipment repairer, installs, maintains and repairs complex medical equipment, such as for diagnostic imaging, defibrillators, dental machines and operating tables. Maintaining medical equipment after installation may include calibrating and testing different parts, replacing parts and conducting preventative maintenance. They are able to use a variety of hand tools, electronic tools and software to repair and test machines. Biomedical technicians are required to keep detailed records of the work they do, and must be able to communicate well with clients to explain how to properly use equipment. The following table gives an overview of what you need to know to enter this field.

Degree Required Minimum associate's degree; bachelor's degree sometimes preferred
Education Field of Study Associate's: biomedical equipment technology; bachelor's: biomedical technology or engineering with biomedical technology concentration
Key Skills Repair of electronic & mechanical equipment; understanding of engineering principles, life science, healthcare technology
Certification Required Certification not required but could be advantageous
Job Growth (2014-2024 ) 6% for medical equipment repairers*
Average Salary (2015) $49,400 for medical equipment repairers*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Education Do I Need to Become a Biomedical Technician?

To become a biomedical technician, you should complete a 2-year BMET program leading to an associate's degree. Programs are interdisciplinary and combine engineering and technology with life science. Coursework generally includes anatomy and physiology, x-ray and medical imaging, medical terminology and hospital procedures. Some programs may also involve an internship so you can gain real-life experience before graduation.

While an associate's degree is the minimum requirement to become a BMET, many employers prefer applicants who hold a bachelor's degree. Bachelor's programs in biomedical technology, as well as engineering programs with BMET concentrations, are available at 4-year colleges and universities. You may study radiography systems, clinical lab regulations, healthcare ethics and technology for special populations.

Do I Need Certification?

Certification is not required to become a BMET, but the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation indicates that earning certification may aid you in finding career opportunities and advancement (www.aami.org). Certifications offered by the Board of Examiners for Biomedical Equipment Technicians include:

  • Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician
  • Certified Radiology Equipment Specialist
  • Certified Laboratory Equipment Specialist

What Would My Job Duties Be?

As a biomedical technician, you can apply mechanical, electronic and other engineering principles to perform repairs on equipment like imaging systems, dental equipment, hemodialysis and electrocardiogram machines. A hospital, clinic or commercial equipment supplier might employ you. When working for these places, you could be on call during overnight and weekend hours for emergency repairs.

What Is the Job Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for skilled biomedical equipment technicians are predicted to increase by 6% between 2014 and 2024, which is as fast as average (www.bls.gov). Those with the ability to relocate, particularly to rural areas, may experience the best job prospects.

In addition, the BLS reports that in May 2015, medical equipment repairers, including BMETs, earned an average annual salary of about $49,400. Top-paying states during that month included Alaska ($65,970), Hawaii ($58,290) and New York ($57,690).

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Medical laboratory technologists and medical laboratory technicians are a couple of related careers. Medical laboratory technicians need an associate's degree while medical laboratory technologists typically need a bachelor's degree. These professionals perform lab tests on various samples they collected from the body of a patient, such as tissue or blood samples. Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians are also similar positions that require specialized training from aviation maintenance technician schools or on-the-job training. These workers repair and maintain aircrafts.

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