Biomedical Technician Training Programs and Courses Overview
Biomedical technicians, also called biomedical equipment technicians, install, maintain and repair biomedical equipment, such as heart-lung machines, pacemakers and prosthetic devices. A biomedical technician may train physicians, nurses and other personnel to use medical equipment. A formal college degree, on-the-job training and certification prepares aspiring biomedical technicians for careers in biomedical technology.
Biomedical Technician Training Requirements and Recommendations
As reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the level of education and training students pursue depends on the area of biomedical technology in which they aspire to work. In some areas, a 2-year degree is sufficient, while in other areas biomedical technicians need a 4-year degree. For instance, those working on diagnostic machines will require a more advanced degree and training than those working on the electronics for hospital beds.
In many cases, biomedical technicians receive on-site or classroom instruction from medical equipment manufacturers. The duration of this training is dependent on the type of equipment the technician is working on. The BLS reports that novice biomedical technicians generally spend 3-6 months working closely with supervisors and other experienced technicians.
The most common degree in biomedical technology or biomedical engineering technology is the associate's degree, the BLS states. In some cases, a bachelor's degree might be required for technicians working on more sophisticated diagnostic or life-support equipment. Biomedical technician training includes the development of technical and diagnostic skills, the ability to effectively handle and organize information and the demonstration of manual dexterity.
An Associate of Science (A.S.) or Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) is awarded to those who complete a 2-year program in biomedical engineering technology. Program coursework for an associate's degree in biomedical technology covers biomedical equipment, electronics, electric circuits, mathematics, digital electronics, bioinstrumentation and physics. Some programs include an internship as part of the curriculum.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree programs in biomedical engineering technology are not as common as 2-year degree programs. Bachelor's degree programs address biomedical equipment installation, maintenance, repair and calibration. Communications, management and computers are also included in the curriculum of some programs.
Internships with hospitals, clinics, medical diagnostic centers, treatment centers, biotechnology companies, biomedical research institutes and pharmaceutical companies provide hands-on experience for aspiring biomedical technicians. Some employers might prefer applicants with experience in installing, repairing and maintaining electronic or mechanical equipment.
Licenses and Certifications
The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) offers a voluntary certification for biomedical technicians (www.aami.org). The Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician (CBET) credential is available to those who meet educational and experience requirements and pass an examination administered by the AAMI. Some employers prefer candidates who possess certification; certification can also lead to job advancement.
Workshops and Seminars
Biomedical technician seminars are conducted by many medical equipment manufacturers. These seminars provide information about equipment updates and new devices. State biomedical associations typically hold annual conferences and seminars which cover the latest advances in the field of biomedical technology. The AAMI hosts an annual conference and also provides Web-based seminars for biomedical technicians.
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