What's a Biomedical Equipment Technician?
“What is a Biomedical Equipment Technician? I read that is a hot job…”
BMET’s or CBET’s, as they’re called, are the folks who install, maintain, inspect, repair, and calibrate the complex diagnostic equipment health professionals rely on. They may also train staff on how to use the equipment. BMET can also stand for biomedical engineering technician. CBET stands for certified biomedical equipment technicians. Regardless, BMET’s are a critical part of the health care team, but they’re not health care providers. I make this distinction because so many rule out a career in the health professions because of the “blood and guts” that are missing for BMET’s.
Imagine the importance of the ventilator, PET scanner, MRI, EKG, or heart monitor to the patient relying on one. Now imagine the importance of the person who is qualified to train the staff to use the newest model or repair it when it isn’t functioning properly. That’s where the BMET fits in the health care puzzle. They have to have an understanding of anatomy and physiology, and basic health issues so they know what the equipment is intended to do, and how it should function. But they also have to have in-depth knowledge of the inner workings of the sensors, scanners and other equipment, as well as the computers that drive them.
It’s a career that’s at the intersection of a health career and a technology career. The career field is expected to grow by 22% (much faster than the average for all professions) between 2006 and 2016, based on Bureau of Labor Statistics projections in the Occupational Outlook Handbook. And according to Liz Wolgemuth in her December 11, 2008 article for usnews.com (U.S. News and World Report online), it’s one of “The 30 Best Careers for 2009”. So if you like to tinker, and are interested in a health care career, this could be your ticket.
Education for this career begins with a training program or an associate’s degree in biomedical technology, so all that is required is a high school diploma. Academic programs in this field are available across the country. Career advancement can be achieved by attaining certification (U.S. Certification Commission), specializing in a particular area (e.g. nuclear medicine, radiology, dialysis, etc.), or completing a bachelor’s degree in engineering, technology or other fields. Dr. Roger Bowles, Professor and Department Chair of Biomedical Equipment Technology at Texas State Technical College, recommends completing a bachelor’s degree… “The extra effort is worth it, as directors average over $80K per year”.
Because this is a relatively young profession, jobs tend to evolve some over time. As diagnostic equipment becomes even more complex, the need for BMET’s will only increase. For this reason, the educational requirements are likely to strengthen over time, making more highly educated candidates much more valuable.
BMET’s work for hospitals, health clinics, military medical facilities, equipment designers, manufacturers and service companies, and may also work on dental equipment. Google “biomedical technician” for more information.
One example of a particularly intriguing program in this field is the Information Technology Biomedical Technician program at MedVance Institute. Four of MedVance’s ten locations in the U.S. boast this program.
Article sources listed below:
“The 30 Best Careers for 2009” – U.S. News and World Report, byLiz Wolgemuth
BMET Demand and Requirements are Up
What is a BMET - from Association for the Advancement of Medical Imaging
Biomedical Equipment Technician - from mshealthcareers.com
BMET's article - by medhunters.com
Biomedical Technician Certification
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