Medical Equipment Technician Careers: Job Description & Salary Info

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What are the pros and cons of a medical equipment technician career? Get real job descriptions, salary statistics and job outlook information to decide if a career as a medical equipment technician is right for you.
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The Pros and Cons of a Medical Equipment Technician Career

Medical equipment technicians (also known as biomedical equipment technicians or medical equipment repairers) test, calibrate, maintain and perform repairs on a wide range of electronic and electromechanical devices. To learn more about the pros and cons of a career as a medical equipment technician, just keep reading.

Pros of a Medical Equipment Technician Career
Good salary (average annual earnings $48,540; associate's degree typically required)*
Healthy job outlook (30% projected growth from 2012-2022)*
Ability to work independently and make decisions**

Cons of a Medical Equipment Technician Career
Long hours may include nights and weekends*
On-call duty may be required*
Potential exposure to diseases**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*Net Online

Essential Career Information

Common Job Duties

Medical equipment technicians perform a variety of tasks to keep medical instruments in working order. Along with testing and calibrating equipment, they must also clean, lubricate and adjust instruments to make sure they function properly. These technicians may also be responsible for ensuring proper use of equipment to comply with safety regulations.

While working as a medical equipment technician, you might be required to attend regular training sessions to keep up with emerging technologies. You might also need to regularly review technical manuals. Medical equipment technicians are sometimes required to demonstrate correct operation of instruments to personnel. Keeping accurate records of services and repairs performed is another important responsibility.

Salary and Job Outlook Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expected robust job growth for medical equipment repairers over the coming years, with overall employment projected to increase by 30% from 2012-2022. Technological advancements in medical instruments and diagnostic equipment should ensure a strong job market for medical equipment repairers in the future. As of May 2014, the BLS reported an average annual salary of $48,540 for medical equipment repairers.

Requirements

Education and Training

Education and training requirements for medical equipment technicians can vary significantly depending on work experience and specialization. An associate's degree is typically required, with most candidates studying biomedical equipment technology or a related field. If you decide to specialize in more sophisticated equipment such as defibrillators, you might need a bachelor's degree.

Special Skills

A few specific skills will also be important in your career as a medical equipment technician. You'll need a good amount of dexterity to work with small tools, and you'll need mechanical skills to disassemble malfunctioning devices. Because repair of medical devices is often urgent, you'll also want to have good time-management skills.

What Are Employers Looking For?

If you have an associate's degree in biomedical technology and some related work experience, you might be able to find work in a range of settings. Some job listings, open as of late December 2012, can give you a basic idea of the current job market for medical equipment technicians.

  • A healthcare facility in Iowa was looking for a biomedical equipment technician to perform safety testing, repairs, calibration and planned maintenance on diagnostic and therapeutic medical equipment. The position required an associate's degree and one to two years of related experience.
  • A medical equipment company in Ohio sought a service technician to troubleshoot and perform repairs on many types of durable equipment. The position focused primarily on rehab power wheelchairs. At least two years of experience were required.
  • An electronics firm in Texas was looking for a medical equipment repair technician to work with audiology equipment. The successful candidate would repair and calibrate devices like audiometers, hearing-aid fitting systems and other products used by audiologists. The position required a minimum of a 2-year technical degree.

Standing Out in the Field

Earning a bachelor's degree in electronics or biomedical equipment technology can be a good way to stand out from other candidates in the field. You might also choose to specialize in more advanced medical devices such as CAT scanners or defibrillators. You can also enhance your qualifications by attending training seminars to update your technical knowledge.

Certification is optional for medical equipment technicians, but earning an appropriate credential can demonstrate your expertise and make you more attractive to employers. The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) offers certifications in biomedical equipment, radiology equipment and laboratory equipment.

Alternate Career Options

Medical/Clinical Laboratory Technologist

If you'd like to apply your technical skills in a laboratory setting, you might consider a career as a medical or clinical laboratory technologist. Working as a medical or clinical laboratory technologist generally involves collecting and analyzing bodily fluids by using sophisticated laboratory equipment. A bachelor's degree is typically required to become a laboratory technologist. The BLS projected average job growth for medical laboratory technologists from 2010-2020, and an average annual salary of about $58,000 for medical and clinical laboratory technologists as of May 2011.

Computer/ATM/Office Machine Repairer

A career as a computer, ATM or office machine repairer may be a good option for you if you don't find the medical field appealing. These occupations involve installing, repairing and maintaining a wide range of machines in household and professional settings. A high school diploma combined with on-the-job training is usually sufficient to become a computer, ATM or office machine repairer, although some employers prefer candidates with a technical or vocational degree. The BLS projected slower-than-average job growth for computer, ATM or office machine repairers over the coming years, with employment expected to increase by only seven percent from 2010-2020. As of May 2011, the BLS reported an average annual salary of about $38,000 for computer, ATM or office machine repairers.

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The George Washington University

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Virginia College

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American InterContinental University

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Grand Canyon University

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Saint Joseph's University

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Widener University

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