If you are interested in the latest technology and have an aptitude for working with sensitive equipment, a career as a biomedical technician may be the right choice for you. Your mobile workplace will be hospitals, clinics or physicians’ offices. Your responsibilities are maintaining, testing and repairing medical machines. Many biomedical technicians start their careers with an associate degree. You may work long or unusual hours since the equipment you service could need repairs at any time, but you will make a competitive wage.
The Basics of Being a Biomedical Technician
A career as a biomedical technician, or BMET, positions you at the heart of the health care industry. Your job is essential in keeping the high-tech equipment physicians use to diagnose and treat disease in top condition. Some of the machines you may be dealing with include:
- CAT scanners
- X-ray machines
- MRI equipment
- Dialysis machines
Typically, you will coordinate your schedule with the nursing staff and administration at each location. In some cases, you may be working around patients when unforeseen repairs can’t wait.
Some BMETs elect to work in the biomedical machinery supply industry, helping health care facilities select new equipment and then delivering and installing it for them. Others work within the military health care system. The majority of BMETs work closely with medical personnel in hospital and clinical settings.
Your expertise with the equipment you install, calibrate, maintain and repair means you have much to offer staff members at the locations you service. You may find yourself assisting them in determining which machine will best suit the needs of their patients. You are likely to be the one who explains how new equipment operates and how to use it correctly. Typically, you will go over safety procedures on new equipment with nurses or health care technicians.
The Basics of Becoming a Biomedical Technician
A 2-year associate degree will launch your biomedical technology career. However, you should plan to continue your education, both in a hands-on capacity and in the classroom, to stay current with technological advances and new equipment.
You can earn professional certification by meeting the educational requisites and passing a test from the ICC — International Certification Commission – and the AAMI – Advancement of Medical Instrumentation. This qualifies you as a CBET, or certified biomedical technician. You may also elect to specialize in your field by qualifying as a:
- Certified Radiology Equipment Specialist (CRES) in diagnostic imaging, nuclear medicine equipment or radiological equipment
- Certified Nephrology Equipment Specialist (CNES) in nephrology and hemodialysis equipment
- Certified Laboratory Equipment Specialist (CLES)
- Associate Electronics Technician (CET)
The Cost of Biomedical Technician Training
The cost of earning an associate degree in preparation for a biomedical technician career depends on your choice of college. Attending a community college is typically less expensive than attending a 4-year university.
To earn an ICC/AAMI certification, you must have worked a minimum of two years in your profession. As of July 2014, the application fee is $300 for AAMI members and $375 for non-members.  A full individual membership is $230 per year. 
Your Earning Potential as a Biomedical Technician
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, biomedical technicians earn between $26,550 and $72,080 per year. Those working in metropolitan centers tend to earn more. The average income in the profession was $48,870 in 2012. 
The Outlook for The Biomedical Technical Profession
As of 2012, more than one-quarter of BMETs worked as commercial equipment suppliers, salespeople and installers. Equipment maintenance and repair work employed about 15 percent while hospitals, both state and private, employed 14 percent of all biomedical techs.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a brisk growth rate of 31 percent in the upcoming decade for biomedical technicians.  This rate exceeds that of many other professions. It is mainly due to an aging population that will require more health care services in the coming years. Additionally, more and more types of specialized equipment of increasing complexity will be available in the decade ahead, creating a wealth of opportunities for qualified BMETs and CMETs. Dental offices, optometry offices and family practices will provide additional opportunities for qualified BMETs.