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A biomedical equipment technician has three areas of responsibility: maintaining the equipment, completing equipment related orders, and teaching. This job can be found in a wide range of hospitals, medical centers, and diagnostic clinics. Typically, someone in this position has a dedicated workspace, where all the portable equipment is stored. He or she has a specially designed workbench and the tools available to make required repairs.
In order to become a biomedical equipment technician, post-secondary education is required. Most technicians have completed a two- or three-year program from a community or career college. The primary focus of this program is on the calibration, set up, installation, and repair of specialized biomedical equipment.
People who enjoy working with details, are good problem solvers, and possess excellent mechanical skills report the greatest satisfaction as a biomedical equipment technician. These technicians typically work in central services and do not have much involvement with patients. Their primary focus is to complete the request received and ensure the equipment is available for use as soon as possible.
Regardless of the industry, a person with this job is responsible for following all safety and testing protocols before releasing the equipment for use. Most hospitals and clinics hire dedicated biomedical equipment technicians. The vast majority of them are responsible for recalibrating machines, testing the set-up, and ensuring the output is accurate.
The primary role of the biomedical equipment technician is to complete equipment repair orders. The level of work can vary significantly, ranging from a complex installation request to a simple calibration and cleaning job requiring two or three hours of work. The orders are received, prioritized, and then processed.
Many biomedical equipment technicians are asked to provide training to staff. Using his or her presentation skills, the technician is responsible for training doctors, nurses, technologists, and other staff on the proper use of equipment. The courses can be formally arranged through the staff development center or arranged on an ad-hoc basis.
Career advancement opportunities for a biomedical equipment technician typically require a combination of additional education and experience. In a hospital, the supervisor or managerial positions are usually held by technicians who have many years of experience as an equipment technician. People who are interested in career advancement should complete courses in management or other types of equipment used in the facility. A broader base of skill may be all that is needed to move into a supervisory position.
@nony - There's another thing to consider as well: computer technology. The article doesn’t mention anything about computers but I would venture to guess that some familiarity with computer software would be needed as well.
I believe that a lot of medical equipment has become tightly integrated with computer software. I remember buying my daughter an electronic microscope when she was in the fourth grade. It was a standard microscope but it had an interface so that images could be uploaded to the computer, and studied for further analysis.
It was a great blend between science and technology and it enhanced her appreciation for what she was doing. Suddenly simple tasks like studying leaves took on an even more important significance, as the images appeared on a flat panel computer monitor.
Anyway, I assume that there would be a lot of tight integration between the equipment used by technicians and computers.
@NathanG - I agree that this is highly specialized and you need to be willing to move if you choose this as a career.
We live in a town where there are a lot of hospitals, clinics and laboratories so I think you would find a good job in the area where we live. Furthermore, I think most metropolitan cities offer a large market for this kind of work. In these cities, sometimes you’ll find a dialysis center or another dedicated facility that has a sudden upsurge in their hiring for technicians.
I encourage anyone who decides to pursue a career in this or any other discipline to first research the job market, and find out where there are clusters of opportunities for different career paths. Location is just as important for certain career choices as it is for real estate, in my opinion.
I think that this would be an ideal job for a biochemistry major with some mechanical engineering aptitude. My wife majored in biochemistry but she was not an engineer or very comfortable with mechanics.
But if someone had an interest in both medicine and engineering, I think that this would be a perfect fit. The only problem I see is that the job market tends to be very limited; its focus is on hospitals and laboratories, in addition to some teaching environments.
Still, if you’re the kind of person who likes to tinker and is fascinated by medicine then I think this would be the right job for you.
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