Medical equipment technicians are generally installing, maintaining, and repairing all sorts of medical patient-care equipment. Medical equipment technicians are also referred to as BMET’s (biomedical equipment technicians)They usually will be testing and calibrating (parts of) equipment, and, when needed, repair and replace the equipment or parts. To see whether this career track is right for you, you can take a free career aptitude quiz right here.
If you want to get active in this thriving industry you first secure a high school or GED diploma. Most employers are looking for candidates who completed a post-secondary education and are holding an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering. Many technical colleges provide programs in this field as well as various certificate programs for further specialization.
All doctors generally rely on highly complex medical equipment, for example, to run tests on patients, or to diagnose them. Therefore, they need to be confident that all readings are complete and accurate. To ensure this, medical equipment repairers frequently perform periodical routine checks and maintenance to make sure that all sorts of highly sophisticated equipment (e.g. CAT scanners or X-ray devices) are functioning properly. Equipment that is not so sophisticated will only require their repair attention as needed.
They also generally carry out preventive maintenance programs, keep records of repairs and maintenance data, and demonstrate and explain (how to operate) specific medical equipment. To keep up to par with new techniques and technological developments, they regularly need to attend diverse training courses.
BMET’s maintain and repair a broad range of hydraulic, electronic, or electro-mechanical equipment and devices that are used in healthcare centers, doctor’s offices, and hospitals. They are working with all sorts of medical equipment, such as defibrillators, patient monitors, X-rays, ultrasound gear, or CAT scanners.
They typically also maintain and repair various types of operating tables or electric wheelchairs, and perform maintenance and repair jobs on medical equipment used by eye doctors or dentists. In case a machine or a piece of equipment is not working properly or is damaged, the BMET will assess the problem and he may need to adjust or replace certain hydraulic or mechanical parts. Sometimes, the software needs to be adjusted or reset to be able to optimize the equipment.
Medical equipment repairers usually can be found working in healthcare-related settings such as hospitals, elderly homes, doctor’s offices, dentists’ clinics, opticians’ offices, and at various healthcare centers. Some of these professionals are employed by the equipment manufacturing industry, but most are working for wholesale suppliers.
In hospital settings, BMET’s sometimes will be working around patients as occasionally repairs are needed while the specific piece of equipment is actually being used, and it goes without saying that in such case, the repairer needs to take ultimate care to make sure that any of their activities will not disturb the patient.
Medical equipment repairers are using a wide variety of very specific tools, often hand-held tools, such as wrenches, soldering irons, screwdrivers, but they also frequently need to use specific electronic tools or equipment, for example, computers or multimeters, electronic measuring devices that are capable of measuring multiple functions. Many machines and medical equipment that these professionals service, maintain, and repair, are using highly specialized software, and repairers must be able to deal with software issues as well.
In 2014, there were around 42,500 professional BMET’s (Medical equipment repairers) in the US, and around 15 percent of those were self-employed, and ran their own small businesses. A similar percentage was employed by medical facilities and health and personal care stores, while the majority worked for suppliers of professional equipment and maintenance shops.
Medical equipment repairers working as contractors often need to travel long distances to perform carry out service and repair jobs, and sometimes they need to work in a patient-caring setting, causing stress and potentially exposing them to health risks. Medical equipment repairers are usually working daytime hours, though sometimes they may be on call on evenings or on weekends. Most of these professionals have full-time positions, though more and more BEMT’s work part-time and have variable schedules.
The employment opportunities of medical equipment repairers will grow much faster than the opportunities for other occupations over the coming decade. There is expected to be a far greater demand for all sorts of healthcare-related services and the implication of new technologies and the development of increasingly complex equipment, especially in the medical sector, will strongly drive employment options. In 2014, BMET’s made a median hourly wage of some $22, whereas their average annual income in that year was around $46,260.
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