What is a Biomedical Engineering Technician?

Deborah Walker
Deborah Walker
Biomedical engineering technicians typically work in hospital or lab settings.
Biomedical engineering technicians typically work in hospital or lab settings.

A biomedical engineering technician is a person who has completed a year-long certificate program or obtained a degree in biomedical engineering technology. On a daily basis, the biomedical engineering technician is responsible for inspecting, maintaining, repairing, or replacing medical equipment used by health care professionals in hospitals, labs, clinics, and doctors' offices. Technicians in this field are typically detail-oriented, excel at math and science, and have excellent problem-solving and communication skills. Biomedical engineering technicians have very good job prospects.

To work as a biomedical engineering technician, a person must earn either an accredited one-year certificate, a two-year associate's degree, or a four-year bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering technology. Certificates and degrees can be earned via online or on-campus programs offered by for-profit technical schools, community colleges, or universities. A typical course of study includes life and physical sciences, math, English, electronics, and computer science. The rapid pace of change in medicine also means that biomedical engineering technicians should anticipate continuing education requirements throughout their professional careers.

Biomedical equipment technician certification, referred to the industry as CBET, can be earned from the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation, AAMI. The CBET credential is not mandatory. This certification may, however, give trained biomedical engineering technicians an advantage over non-certified technicians in the job market.

During the course of a biomedical engineering technician's day, he or she may test lab equipment to be sure that it is running correctly, diagnose and repair a CAT scan machine, adjust or recalibrate various types of monitors, or install an x-ray machine. When a piece of equipment needs to be replaced, a biomedical engineering technician should know how to safely dismantle it and dispose of any hazardous waste, including radioactive materials. Good manual dexterity and eyesight are essential for a biomedical engineering technician, as is the ability to work with a wide variety of large and small tools.

Biomedical engineering technicians should also understand the electrical and computer components of many different kinds of medical equipment. This is necessary so that the technician can correctly identify problems and make the appropriate repairs in the most efficient, cost-effective manner possible. The ability to communicate in writing and verbally are essential skills for a biomedical engineering technician. Higher level biomedical engineering technicians should also know how to read schematic diagrams and blueprints.

The job prospects appear to be excellent for properly trained biomedical engineering technicians. It is generally expected that the job growth rate will continue to increase over time. This is because of an aging population that requires more specialized medical care, as well as the fact that newer and more advanced medical technology is continually being introduced.

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    • Biomedical engineering technicians typically work in hospital or lab settings.
      Biomedical engineering technicians typically work in hospital or lab settings.