Biomedical Technologist: Salary and Career Facts

Research what it takes to become a biomedical technologist. Learn about job duties, education requirements, salary and certification to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Biology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Biomedical Technologist?

A biomedical technologist, also known as a biomedical equipment technician, repairs and maintains medical equipment. Biomedical technologists must be able to install equipment and test the parts to ensure it works efficiently. In order to keep up on how the equipment works, technologists must attend training sessions and read instruction manuals. Many times they will have to show others how to use the equipment. Biomedical technologists are also responsible for replacing parts in medical equipment. The following chart gives you an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required Minimum of an associate's degree preferred; bachelor's degree available
Education Field of Study Biomedical technology
Key Skills Installation, testing, repair of medical equipment; provide safety training for users
Certification Required Voluntary certification available
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6%*
Average Salary (2015) $49,400*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Can I Expect As A Biomedical Technologist?

As a biomedical technologist, you may find work in healthcare institutions or equipment companies that provide installation and maintenance of medical equipment. In some settings, you may be responsible for making emergency repairs on equipment that is in use, requiring a sufficient comfort level when working around patients.

You'd need to be familiar with hydraulic, electric and mechanical systems related to medical tools and equipment, such as anesthesia distribution machines or blood pressure cuffs. Your responsibilities as a biomedical technologist or biomedical equipment technician generally include installation, testing and repair of equipment, as well as training and ensuring the safety of users.

What Would a Degree Program Teach Me?

You may start a career in the field by obtaining some on-the-job training, though you'll increase your marketability with at least an associate's degree. During an associate's program, you can expect to study the machinations of electronic healthcare equipment, radiography machines and devices used in medical laboratories. You may be allowed or required to participate in a field experience or internship program. Some schools may offer online or hybrid options of the program.

If you choose to earn a bachelor's degree in biomedical technology, coursework often aligns with careers in laboratory science, physician assisting or electrical engineering. Depending on the program's focus, you'll learn chemistry, biology and biomolecular engineering, and participate in interdisciplinary studies in anatomy, physiology, biomechanics and neural sciences.

How Much Can I Earn?

In May 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported an average yearly salary for medical equipment repairers of $49,400. The highest level of employment for biomedical techs was with professional and commercial equipment wholesalers. The BLS also noted that job growth for medical equipment repairers is expected to be 6% from 2014-2024, which is about the same as the average for all U.S. occupations.

Do I Need Licensure or Certification?

States do not regulate the biomedical technology profession. The BLS stated that certification is highly desired, though not required for biomedical equipment technicians. Professional organizations, such as the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI), offers three certifications, including the Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician, Certified Radiology Equipment Specialist and Certified Laboratory Equipment Specialist. You can qualify for a credential through the AAMI by earning a degree in the field, obtaining work experience and passing a proficiency test.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Medical and clinical laboratory technician is a similar job option that requires an associate's degree. These technicians take samples and conduct tests on body fluids and tissue. There are several other hands-on career options that require only a high school diploma, such as general maintenance and repair workers and millwrights. These professionals also work with machines, though not in the medical field. General maintenance and repair workers fix machines, equipment and buildings, possibly working on painting, plumbing and electrical systems. Millwrights take care of and repair machines in factories and construction sites.

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