Biomedical electronics technicians are needed in every medical facility in order to ensure equipment is well maintained and functioning properly. Certification as a biomedical electronics technician is considered a gold standard in the industry, and having this certification indicates an individual has the necessary training and skills to work on a variety of different equipment.
What do Biomedical Electronics Technician do
A biomedical electronics technician diagnoses, repairs and maintains medical equipment in a hospital or medical clinic in order to ensure it works properly. Some will also be involved in the testing of new equipment as it is being developed. These technicians sometimes train medical personnel on how to use, clean and maintain certain machines, and may consult with financial executives when it comes time to purchase or upgrade medical equipment as well.
Biomedical electronics technicians may work alone or as part of a team. They may also travel long distances in order to repair medical equipment, particularly if they are employed by a distributor. Night, evening, holiday and weekend work is not unusual in this career field, and in fact may be required on a rotating basis. Technicians can also expect to work overtime frequently, as making emergency repairs could be a matter of life or death in some situations.
Necessary Skills and Abilities
A biomedical electronics technician should be dependable, reliable, and have a sense of urgency about his or her work. Attention to detail is also very important, since peoples’ health (and sometimes lives) depend on the accuracy of equipment. Technicians must also be able to work unsupervised for long periods of time and have good communications skills. Mechanical aptitude, good math skills, and excellent hand-eye coordination are all essential as well, since a great deal of time will be spent using tools and making calculations.
Education and Training
To work in this career field, one must first obtain at least an Associate’s degree in biomedical equipment technology or medical equipment repair. An internship performed under the direct supervision of a certified technician is sometimes required before graduation. It is also possible to obtain training through the U.S. military. A four-year Bachelor’s degree is normally required in order to advance to a supervisory position. Workers will typically undergo a rigid on-the-job training program after being hired, which can last for anywhere from two weeks to six months, depending on the type of equipment being repaired.
In order to obtain certification, candidates must first complete the Associate Electronics Technician (CETa) exam offered by the Electronic Technician’s Association (ETA). After that, an individual will be eligible to sit for the Biomedical Electronics Technician Exam, which measures one’s ability to handle, maintain and care for medical equipment. The test is broken down into 22 different sections, covering material ranging from the human nervous system to electrosurgery generators. Applicants must achieve a 75% or better on the test in order to pass it.
Benefits to Certification
The benefit to obtaining this ETA certification is that it will help establish that a technician is knowledgeable in the field of medical equipment repair. ETA certification is widely recognized and accepted in the industry, meaning that those who pass this exam will have better job opportunities offered to them as a result. In addition, the ETA also has a job resource center that is available to licensed technicians only.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of biomedical electronics technician jobs is expected to increase by approximately 30% over the next eight years. This is much higher than average for all occupations tracked by the Bureau. The increase in employment is expected to come from advances in medical technology that will allow even more new equipment to be produced in the coming years.
Biomedical Electronics Technician Salary Range
Glassdoor.com reports that the beginning salary for a biomedical electronics technician can be anywhere from $12 to $27 per hour. This amounts to an annual salary of between $24,960 and $57,000. Several things will play a role in the amount of salary one earns, including education, experience, geographic location and type of medical facility one works at. Those employed in hospitals or with medical equipment distributors tend to make more than those working in doctor’s offices or nursing homes do.
Biomedical electronics technicians differ from biomedical engineering technicians in that engineering technicians tend to work more closely with developers in the design of new equipment. Biomedical engineering technicians are also more likely to make changes or modifications to existing equipment as well. The fact that biomedical electronics technicians primarily make repairs rather than being involved in product development is what accounts for them earning slightly less.
A career as a biomedical electronics technician can be a rewarding one, since the quality of health care people receive depends upon the nature of repairs made. Those who enter this career field will find above average job security and opportunities for advancement available to them.