What Does a Biomedical Technician Do? Duties, Salary and How To Become One
If you are considering a career in health care and enjoy working with high-technology equipment, a career as a biomedical technician may be a good fit. These technicians are responsible for keeping medical machinery operating at its best, making this an exciting job for people who are mechanically minded. In this article, we define the role of a biomedical technician, examine their main responsibilities and list steps to become one.
Related: What Is Biomedical Engineering?
What does a biomedical technician do?
Biomedical technicians, also known as “biomedical equipment technicians (BMET),” install and maintain patient monitors, ventilators, ultrasound equipment, X-ray machines and other patient care equipment. Often, biomedical technicians specialize in certain types of medical equipment based on where and how it is used—doctor offices, hospitals, surgery suites, dental and radiology. Here are the main duties of a biomedical technician:
Installing, maintaining and repairing medical equipment.
Cleaning and adjusting medical equipment
Testing and calibrating equipment parts to determine what needs repair or replacement.
Approving new equipment by guaranteeing it meets regulations.
Demonstrating biomedical equipment and teaching others how to use it.
Preparing reports by analyzing and collecting data and trends.
Keeping records of all maintenance and repairs.
Providing technical information on how to operate medical equipment.
Evaluating service contracts.
Replacing medical equipment when necessary.
Using computers, software and electronic tools to repair medical equipment.
Updating skills through medical journals, education and professional networks.
Keeping a healthy and safe work environment through safety tests, code compliance and training others.
Keeping patient information confidential.
Alternate job titles
The career paths for a biomedical technician vary according to their specialty. Here are some of the job titles associated with this field:
Average salary for a biomedical technician
Biomedical technicians have a national average salary of $51,720 per year, but may earn more or less than this average based on experience, education and geography. For the most up-to-date Indeed salary information based on your location, visit Indeed Salaries.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, job opportunities are expected to grow 5% faster than other jobs in 2019 to 2029. About 2,800 positions are likely to be added to the workforce.
How to become a biomedical technician
To be a successful biomedical technician, you need experience, knowledge and dedication to your craft. Typically, the more experience you receive, the higher compensation you're offered. Here are steps to help you become a biomedical technician:
1. Earn an associate degree
To become a biomedical technician, you will need at least a two-year associate degree in biomedical equipment technology, engineering technology or a related field. These hands-on programs give you the skills and knowledge to install and maintain medical equipment on the job. Expect to learn about patient safety, electricity and electronics, medical terminology and chemistry. Depending on your program and specialty, you’ll also likely learn about clinical instrumentation, biomedical electronic systems, computers and networks. Internships are recommended as they provide hands-on training and are often required to complete your program..
When pursuing your associate degree, make sure to select a program that's accredited by the American Board for Engineering and Technology. These programs have proven experience preparing biomedical technicians for their careers.
While some employers will hire biomedical technicians without an associate degree or even formal training, a degree is recommended to be competitive.
2. Consider advancing your education
If you want to advance into a supervisory role, you often need a bachelor's degree, preferably in biomedical engineering or a related field. This specific degree focuses specifically on biomedical sciences and designing and building healthcare equipment.
3. Get certified
Certifications demonstrate your competency in and dedication to the field, as well as ensures you're up to date on the latest technology and trends. If you’re looking to further advance your career, you should consider certification.
The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation offers several biomedical certification programs, including: Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician (CBET), Certified Radiology Equipment Specialists (CRES) and Certified Laboratory Equipment Specialist (CLEB). The CBET is the most popular for biomedical technicians who want a foundational certification.
To qualify for the CBET program, you are required to have an associate degree (or military BMET training), two years of work experience and a passing score on a 165-multiple-choice question exam. The exam focuses on the these content areas:
Health care technology problem-solving
Health care technology and functions
Public safety (employee, patient and visitor) in the health care facility
Fundamentals of electricity and electronics
Anatomy and physiology
Health care information technology
4. Search for career opportunities
Your training program(s) and internship(s) will often connect you with hiring contacts in the biomedical field. Use them to your advantage as you search for employment opportunities. Keep in mind that medical facilities, clinics and companies manufacturing medical devices and equipment all hire biomedical technicians.
5. Get a membership in a relevant association
While it's not entirely necessary, consider joining the Medical Equipment and Technology Association. Your membership with this association can connect you with valuable networking opportunities to help you earn advanced opportunities in this field.
Frequently asked questions about biomedical technicians
What skills are needed to be a biomedical technician?
Biomedical technicians require several skills to perform their jobs well to include:
Mechanical and technical skills: Biomedical technicians use their mechanical and technical skills to diagnose problems with medical equipment and make the necessary repairs.
Communication skills: As a biomedical technican, you’ll spend a lot of time training others and meeting with hospital administrators and medical professionals. You also have frequent contact with patients when you service various medical equipment. Because of this, it's important to have good communication skills.
Time management skills: Biomedical technicians use their time management skills to quickly evaluate the safety of various medical equipment.
Technology skills: As expected for a technician, it's important to have strong technology skills since you're working with both machines and technology. It's also important to know how to troubleshoot issues and make repairs.
Who does a biomedical technician work with?
Biomedical technicians typically interact with medical professionals, patients and hospital staff members and administrators. Depending on where they work, biomedical technicians may also work with suppliers and equipment rental companies.
Where do biomedical technicians work?
Biomedical technicians work in various environments. While many work at hospitals, others work at medical equipment retail centers or wholesalers on the supply end of this profession. Equipment repair businesses and ambulatory health care services also hire biomedical technicians. Those who work in the direct medical field may be on call nights and weekends.
What is a biomedical technician's shift like?
Many biomedical technicians have regular shifts, though some jobs require on-call hours during the evening and over the weekend to address urgent repair needs. Throughout their shift, they travel to different places or location sites to perform necessary repairs.
What careers are similar to that of a biomedical technician?
Biomedical science is a large field and therefore, has several career options that are similar to the role of biomedical technician. If you are interested in the duties and responsibilities of a biomedical technician, you might also consider the following:
Related: 15 Biotechnology Careers to Consider
How does a biomedical technician differ from a biomedical engineer?
Though biomedical technicians and biomedical engineers have the same training, they have different responsibilities. While biomedical technicians install and service medical equipment, biomedical engineers help design and manufacture the equipment that a biomedical technician services.