Medical Equipment Repairers
Schools and Education
|Recommended Degree Level||Associate|
|Number of Jobs, 2012||35,740|
|Annual Job Growth Rate||5.1%|
|Job Openings per Year (est.)||2,230|
- An associate's degree in biomedical equipment technology, engineering or electronics is a requirement for most medical equipment repairers.
- Attending schools for training in more complex equipment is often necessary, but employers may supply this, particularly equipment manufacturers.
- Ongoing education is vital for these specialists as biomedical equipment becomes more sophisticated.
- For some technicians, military service provides an education in biomedical equipment technology.
What you study:
Whether through a university, on-the-job learning or military training, the course of study for biomedical equipment specialists typically includes:
- Mechanical engineering
- Electrical engineering
- Computer-aided design
- Human anatomy and physiology
A quick intro into the work of medical equipment repair techs. Created for the US Dept. of Labor.
A Day in the Life
Like most medical equipment repair specialists, you get an early start on your day, often before patients arrive for their appointments. Your first stop is at a local medical center for testing and calibration of their medical imaging devices. X-ray machines need regular maintenance and calibration not only to ensure that they're assessing patients' health properly but also to keep radiologists and other personnel who work with the machines safe. It's time for a more extensive maintenance session, so you perform a full suite of diagnostic tests with the aid of software and specialized equipment.
If you're part of a large teaching hospital or medical center, your next stop may be in the same facility. Although you've specialized as a biomedical equipment technician, you still remember how to repair simpler devices, so when a nurse notes that a hospital bed in one of the rooms isn't working, you get your toolkit and take a look. Fortunately, the fix is an easy one; you have the necessary parts on hand and are able to restore the bed to working order within minutes. After washing your hands, something you'll do about as often as the nurses and doctors in the center, you're off to assess a temperamental MRI machine.
If you work for a manufacturer or distributor, your role may involve more interaction with medical personnel as you train them to use and maintain new equipment. A sports medicine center has just invested in a new MRI machine. It's your job to install and calibrate the device before demonstrating the specifics of its use for the center's staff. By giving the clinic's personnel the details on how to make the most of their new equipment, you're playing a role in improving patients' health too.
Unless you're on call for emergency repairs, your day generally ends after an eight-hour shift whether you work for yourself, a manufacturer or a hospital.
Certifications and Licensing
Although most states do not currently require certification, earning certification in various specialties can open more job opportunities for medical equipment repairers. The AAMI certifies specialists in general biomedical equipment technology as well as specializations in radiology equipment and laboratory equipment.
Full-time versus part-time:
Most medical equipment repair specialists work full-time, but for those who are self-employed, hours may be more flexible. Most days are typical eight-hour shifts, unless the specialist offers emergency service. Midnight calls are not common, but they do happen, especially for technicians who work directly for large hospitals.
The profession provides opportunities for those who prefer to travel as well as for those who like to remain in one place. Self-employed technicians and those who work for manufacturers typically travel often; repair personnel who work for major hospitals and health centers generally stay on premises.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Medical Equipment Repairers – Visitors to this site will get a broad overview of what medical equipment repair specialists do and the projected demand for the profession. It is an excellent first stop for anyone considering becoming a biomedical equipment technician.
- Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation – This non-profit organization's site focuses on technological advances in medicine for doctors, nurses, biomedical engineers, researchers and technicians. Because it spans so many disciplines, the AAMI site is a wealth of information for prospective medical equipment repairers who also have an interest in other areas of medicine or engineering. A blog and forums with numerous active discussion groups can also be excellent resources for repair specialists.
- Medical Equipment and Technology Association – With resources, publications and career help for biomedical equipment technicians, META serves as a professional organization for these repair and maintenance specialists. Visit the site's links to local, state, national and international associations to find specifics on regional certification and education opportunities.