Biomedical Technician Job Description
Biomedical technicians service the equipment medical professionals depend upon for patient care, such as ventilators and cardiac monitors. Some techs specialize in one certain type of machinery, while others fix a broader range of items. Hospitals may directly employ biomedical techs, but many of them work for the companies that sell or lease the equipment. Others find work with firms dedicated to repair and maintenance. Biomedical techs generally work full time during standard business hours, but they might be on-call at other hours to deal with equipment emergencies. Techs responsible for the equipment of multiple clients may need to travel frequently.
Biomedical Technician Duties and Responsibilities
The responsibilities of biomedical technicians vary by their training and the setting in which they work. However, listings we analyzed show some duties common to virtually anyone in this career, including the following:
When a healthcare setting receives a new piece of equipment, a biomedical tech sets it up. The tech performs calibrations, runs tests, makes sure everything works properly, and examines the equipment for safety issues.
Equipment must function correctly. When healthcare providers notice problems or inconsistencies, they call for a biomedical tech to fix the machine. Depending on the complexity or cost of the solution, the biomedical tech may recommend replacement.
Regular examination of machinery helps to prevent problems from ever happening. This includes running tests, conducting visual inspections, lubricating components, and replacing worn parts. Creating a written or digital record of what was done on a given visit provides valuable information for future reference.
Train Staff on Machinery Use
Medical machines aren’t of much use if healthcare workers and lab techs don’t know how to use them correctly. Biomedical technicians train staff members to operate and care for new equipment.
Biomedical Technician Skills and Qualifications
Detail-oriented individuals make good biomedical techs. The machines for which they are responsible play a vital role in patient care, so accuracy is a must. Other skills necessary for the job include:
- Physical stamina – equipment can be heavy, so biomedical techs need strength to lift and carry; dexterity and hand-eye coordination also serve them well as they manipulate parts
- Deductive reasoning – drawing on their knowledge base, biomedical techs systematically figure out why a machine isn’t working correctly
- Communication skills – listening to the concerns of those who use the equipment and offering clear instructions promotes quick and accurate problem resolution
- Strong composure – healthcare practitioners depend on medical devices when treating patients, so time may be of the essence when making repairs; staying calm and focused in a stressful environment leads to good results
Tools of the Trade
As they service medical equipment, biomedical technicians may use these items:
- Basic hand tools (such as screwdrivers and wrenches)
- Electronic tools (such as multimeters)
- Computers (to run specialized test-equipment software)
Biomedical Technician Education and Training
The most common path to becoming a biomedical technician is earning an associate’s degree in biomedical technology or biomedical engineering. While these two-year programs include classroom work, a large part of the curriculum involves hands-on training through watching and assisting established technicians for several months. People who service more complex medical equipment, such as defibrillators and CAT scanners, often pursue a bachelor’s degree. To increase their chances for career advancement, many biomedical techs pursue voluntary certification which, besides an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, requires two years of work experience and passing an exam. All biomedical technicians should plan on lifelong learning to keep their skills relevant and to master new equipment as it’s introduced.
Biomedical Technician Salary and Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the national median annual salary for medical equipment repairers (which includes biomedical technicians) as $48,070, with a median hourly wage of $23.11. Biomedical technicians in the lowest 10th percentile earn about $29,000 a year, while the highest paid make more than $78,000.
According to the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook, this field is projected to grow 4 percent over the next decade. As baby boomers continue to age, they are expected to require more medical services, which will increase the need for medical equipment and its upkeep.
As you continue to explore the possibility of becoming a biomedical technician, here are some sources of further information to aid in the decision-making process:
TechCareers: Biomedical Equipment Technicians – written by the chair of the biomedical equipment technician program at Texas State Technical College Waco, this book provides plenty of answers to questions about what this career involves
A Career as a Biomedical Equipment Technician – this short book by the Institute for Career Research discusses the importance of repair techs to the field of healthcare and covers the skills and personality traits needed for success
Biomedical Device Technology: Principles and Design – the second edition of this comprehensive textbook offers in-depth information on the uses and operation of various medical equipment, along with examinations of common problems and their hazards
Biomedical Equipment Technicians and Engineers – network with like-minded professionals throughout the world with this LinkedIn group of more than 10,000 members
Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation – stay abreast of the latest trends with this organization devoted to the development, management, and safe use of health technology
Medical Equipment and Technology Association – META’s stated mission is to be “the focal point for resources, networking, and activities that will promote growth and unity for all in this profession”
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