Medical Equipment Repairers Overview
With an employment growth rate projected at 27 percent, many job opportunities are expected. An associates degree in biomedical equipment technology or biomedical engineering is usually required by an employer and a bachelor's degree is necessary for advancement. Working as a medical equipment repairer could mean having to work around the clock in case of emergency.
Nature of the Work for Medical Equipment Repairers
The job of a medical equipment repairer involves dealing with a variety of electronic, electromechanical, and hydraulic equipment found in hospitals and other medical environments. Medical equipment repairers perform tasks such as maintaining, adjusting, calibrating, and repairing such machinery. Medical equipment repairers may also work on other pieces of equipment such as voice-controlled operating tables, ophthalmic equipment and ultrasound equipment.
Tools including multimeters, specialized software, and specially designed computers as well as hand tools, soldering irons, and other electronic tools are used by medical equipment repairers on a regular basis.
The work of a medical engineering repairer can also include fixing or adjusting malfunctioning equipment, such as a broken wheelchair. Mechanical or hydraulic components will sometimes have to be adjusted by medical engineering repairers when certain things are not functioning properly.
A majority of the medical equipment used by medical equipment repairers is powered by electricity. Though electricity powers a majority of the equipment, medical equipment repairers should be familiar with all systems, especially since some have mechanical and hydraulic components.
Though medical equipment repairers will help with repairs, they can also perform routine scheduled maintenance to make sure that all the equipment is working and functioning correctly. Maintenance is an important part of the job for medical equipment repairers since many doctors, such as practitioners, relies on their equipment to provide proper readings for their patients. Though regularly scheduled maintenance may be part of the job, job repairs, such as fixing an electric hospital bed, will call a medical equipment repairer when specifically needed.
Medical equipment repairers perform a number of their repairs in hospitals with patients. They must be comfortable around patients while trying not to disturb them as well. Medical equipment repairers can either become specialized in their repairs or learn how to repair a wide variety of equipment and machines. Medical equipment repairers can be employed in hospitals and electronic equipment repair and maintenance companies. These electronic repair and maintenance companies are responsible for servicing equipment found in the offices of gynecologists, orthodontists, veterinarians and other health practitioners.
The usual hours for a medical equipment repairer are during the day. Though they may work during the day, some are expected to be on call in case of emergency or irregular hours, for instance those working in a hospital. Medical equipment repairers who work as contractors will sometimes have to travel.
The work environment for medical equipment repairers may involve working near patients who may be ill. Risks include exposure to diseases can be cause for concern. Though medical equipment repairers can work to fix equipment and feel gratified afterward, urgent repairs can sometimes cause stress for medical equipment repairers.
Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement for Medical Equipment Repairers
An associate’s degree in biomedical technology or biomedical engineering is preferred by most employers.
Though an associate’s degree is preferred for medical equipment repairers, those fixing less complicated equipment can learn a lot on the job. For medical equipment repairers working on complicated equipment, a bachelor’s degree is preferred and often necessary.
Medical equipment repairers usually begin their careers by observing and assisting experienced repairers. This lasts over a 3 to 6 month period and may progress from machine to machine. While still under supervision, medical equipment repairers may begin performing independently after assisting. Medical equipment repairers must study a machine’s technical specifications and manual since every machine is different and complex. For those looking for training online or in a classroom, medical device manufacturers may also provide training for medical equipment repairers.
Medical equipment repairers must frequently attend seminars, actively study and complete certification exams due to changes in technology and advances in equipment.
Important qualities for medical equipment repairers to have are manual dexterity, technical aptitude, the ability to work under pressure as well as the ability to problem solve and are able to diagnose and repair equipment quickly. The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) offers certification in three specialty areas—Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician (CBET), Certified Radiology Equipment Specialists (CRES), and Certified Laboratory Equipment Specialist (CLEB) are a few associations that will offer certifications to medical equipment repairers. Medical equipment repairers who wish to become certified must have the education and experience requirements necessary to take the exam. Medical equipment repairers who become certified will have an advantage because employers may find this certification attractive. Many employers will pay for their medical equipment repairers to become certified, such as hospitals.
Medical equipment repairers can advance in many ways, by demonstrating competency at lower levels so they can repair complex equipment, becoming supervisors or managers, teaching training courses on products or acting as a mentor for new employees.
Top 10 Most Popular Biomedical Technology/Technician Schools
1. Community College of the Air Force (Montgomery, Alabama)
2. Texas State Technical College, Waco (Waco, Texas)
3. Schoolcraft College (Livonia, Michigan)
4. DeVry University (Multiple Campus Locations)
5. Chattahoochee Technical College (Marietta, Georgia)
6. Stanly Community College (Albemarle, North Carolina)
7. Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute (Hudson, North Carolina)
8. Instituto Tecnologico de Puerto Rico, Ponce (Ponce, Puerto Rico)
9. Southeast Technical Institute (Sioux Falls, South Dakota)
10. Tennessee College of Applied Technology at McKenzie (Mckenzie, Tennessee)
Employment and Job Outlook for Medical Equipment Repairers
Number of People in Profession
Changing Employment (2008-2018)
Employment is projected to grow much faster than average (increase 20% or more).
There will be many opportunities for medical equipment repairers since this occupation will grow faster than the average for all occupations.
Since healthcare will increase due to age groups growing faster than the total population, healthcare will increase meaning more available jobs for medical equipment repairers. Many pieces of equipment and machinery will need repairs, such as hospital furniture and beds as well as CAT scans and patient monitoring equipment.
Advances in equipment used by practitioners and technicians for vision, teeth, and other body parts will also need medical equipment repairers to make sure everything is working correctly.
The number of available jobs with workers leaving the occupation will mean growing opportunities for medical equipment repairers. Though there may be many qualified applicants, the number of jobs is expected to outnumber applicants, the best prospects being for those with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical equipment technology or engineering.
Since it is difficult to find qualified medical equipment repairers in rural areas, those willing to relocate will have even more opportunities.
Earnings and Salary for Medical Equipment Repairers
Median annual wages for medical equipment repairers are $42,300. The middle 50 percent earn between $32,110 and $55,330. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $25,750, and the highest 10 percent earn more than $67,540.
Annual Salary for Medical Equipment Repairers
On average, Medical Equipment Repairers earn $42,300 per year.
Hourly Wage for Medical Equipment Repairers
On average, Medical Equipment Repairers earn $20.34 per hour.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook