Biomedical Equipment Technician Schools
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The job title biomedical technician can sound a bit alarming to someone with no experience in the medical field. But the truth is that it can be one of the most interesting ways to get involved in healthcare for people who are more mechanically minded, and less interested in direct patient interaction.
A biomedical technician, also known as a biomedical equipment technician (BMET), is someone who specializes in calibrating, maintaining, and repairing the medical machinery used in a healthcare facility. One great thing about this particular healthcare profession is that there are many paths to get there. For instance, someone working in the healthcare field already may decide to pursue biomedical technician training and earn a certificate in the field at nights and on weekends. On the other hand, it is just as easy for a graduating high school senior to enroll at a local community college and pursue an associate’s degree with little to no prior knowledge of the subject. The most important thing any biomedical technician can bring to the job is a passion for fixing things.
Biomedical technicians can learn a lot from formal training, but there is always a hands-on element. That’s why degree programs in this specialty have a practicum or internship requirement for graduation. Not only is it a great way to learn, it can help students foster important professional connections.
Keep reading to learn the details of how to study to become a biomedical technician and start towards this interesting career.
|Biomedical Technician fast facts|
|Projected Jobs Created||2,000|
|Projected Job Growth||4%|
|Average Salary (Median)||$52,260|
|Entry-Level EDU||Associate's Degree|
|Sourced from BLS, June 2018|
Degree & certification Programs
Most biomedical technicians begin their careers by earning an associate’s degree from an accredited biomedical technology program. These programs take two years, on average, and include some hands-on training in addition to classroom activities. Upon completion of an associate’s degree program, students are able to begin seeking work in the field of biomedical technology. Although there are a few bachelor’s degree programs that offer relevant training, these are much less common. However, in the coming decade, it may become more common for more extensive training to be required of new biomedical technicians.
Following are a few accredited programs that provide a strong foundation for anyone seeking a career as a biomedical technician.
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis: The program at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IU-PUI) in Indianapolis, Indiana was formerly called biomedical engineering technology but is now called healthcare engineering technology management. Despite the name change, the school still provides the same strong education in biomedical technology. IU-PUI offers both an associate of science (AS) degree, which takes two years to complete, and a bachelor of science (BS) degree program, which takes four years to complete. The BS program is one of the few in the field offered in the US and therefore is a good option for those who want the broadest opportunities upon graduation or who plan to continue their formal education past the undergraduate level.
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College: At Cincinnati State Technical and Community College in Cincinnati, Ohio, students can study in the school’s electrical engineering technology – biomedical equipment (BMT) program. The associate of applied science (AAS) program takes an average of six semesters to complete. Graduates are prepared to find entry-level work in the field but may choose to enroll at a university to complete a bachelor’s degree with their transfer credits.
Penn State New Kensington: The Pennsylvania State University operates a New Kensington (PSNK) campus that offers a two-year biomedical engineering technology program, resulting in an associate of science degree. The PSNK training program includes classroom training as well as hands-on medical equipment instruction and an internship at one of more than 50 approved healthcare facilities in the Pennsylvania region. This program is also one of the few in the country to have earned accreditation from the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
State Technical College of Missouri: State Technical College of Missouri, located in Linn, Missouri, offers a biomedical engineering technology option as part of its electronics engineering technology program. The one-semester program culminates in a certificate and includes courses in diagnostic imaging and biomedical instrumentation systems as well as an internship component.
Texas State Technical College: With campuses in both Harlingen and Waco, Texas, the biomedical equipment technology associate degree from Texas State Technical College is an ideal choice for students in that region. The associate degree program requires 60 credit hours, which take place over the course of approximately 20 months. The final semester of the program includes a hands-on internship experience to ready students for the workforce.
Los Angeles Valley College: At Los Angeles Valley College (LAVC) in Valley Glen, California, students can earn an associate’s degree or a certificate in biomedical equipment technology as part of the school’s electronics program. Upon graduation, students are able to seek work in the biomedical technology field or transfer to one of California’s many four-year institutions to further their studies.
List of Biomedical Technician Schools
|School||City||State||Website||Total grads (2013)|
|City College of San Francisco||San Francisco||California||http://www.ccsf.edu||92|
|Southern California Institute of Technology||Anaheim||California||https://www.scitech.edu/||75|
|Texas State Technical College-Waco||Waco||Texas||http://www.waco.tstc.edu||67|
|Mech-Tech College||Caguas||Puerto Rico||https://www.mechtech.edu/||67|
|Ponce Paramedical College Inc||Ponce||Puerto Rico||http://www.popac.edu||38|
|Howard Community College||Columbia||Maryland||http://www.howardcc.edu||35|
|Brown Mackie College-Tucson||Tucson||Arizona||https://www.brownmackie.edu/||29|
|Texas State Technical College-Harlingen||Harlingen||Texas||http://www.tstc.edu/||26|
|Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis||Indianapolis||Indiana||http://www.iupui.edu||26|
|Brown Mackie College-Cincinnati||Cincinnati||Ohio||https://www.brownmackie.edu/||25|
|Florida State College at Jacksonville||Jacksonville||Florida||http://www.fscj.edu||23|
|Brown Mackie College-Fort Wayne||Fort Wayne||Indiana||https://www.brownmackie.edu/||22|
|Berkeley City College||Berkeley||California||http://www.berkeleycitycollege.edu/wp/||22|
|Bates Technical College||Tacoma||Washington||http://www.bates.ctc.edu/||22|
|American River College||Sacramento||California||http://www.arc.losrios.edu/||22|
|Stanly Community College||Albemarle||North Carolina||https://www.stanly.edu/||21|
|Solano Community College||Fairfield||California||http://www.solano.edu||20|
|Santa Fe College||Gainesville||Florida||http://www.sfcollege.edu||19|
|Joliet Junior College||Joliet||Illinois||http://www.jjc.edu/Pages/default.aspx||19|
|ECPI University||Virginia Beach||Virginia||http://www.ecpi.edu||19|
|Anoka-Ramsey Community College||Coon Rapids||Minnesota||http://www.anokaramsey.edu||18|
|Brown Mackie College-Louisville||Louisville||Kentucky||https://www.brownmackie.edu/||18|
|Spokane Community College||Spokane||Washington||http://www.scc.spokane.edu||17|
|Seattle Community College-North Campus||Seattle||Washington||http://www.northseattle.edu||17|
|Milwaukee Area Technical College||Milwaukee||Wisconsin||http://www.matc.edu/||16|
|Dakota County Technical College||Rosemount||Minnesota||http://www.dctc.edu/||16|
|Pennsylvania State University-Penn State New Kensington||New Kensington||Pennsylvania||http://www.nk.psu.edu/||15|
|Owens Community College||Perrysburg||Ohio||https://www.owens.edu||15|
|Illinois Institute of Technology||Chicago||Illinois||http://web.iit.edu/||14|
|Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute||Hudson||North Carolina||http://www.cccti.edu||14|
|Pasadena City College||Pasadena||California||http://www.pasadena.edu||13|
|Ozarks Technical Community College||Springfield||Missouri||http://www.otc.edu||13|
|Los Angeles Valley College||Valley Glen||California||http://www.lavc.edu||13|
|Texas State Technical College-Marshall||Marshall||Texas||http://www.marshall.tstc.edu||12|
|College of San Mateo||San Mateo||California||http://www.collegeofsanmateo.edu||12|
|Cincinnati State Technical and Community College||Cincinnati||Ohio||http://www.cincinnatistate.edu||12|
|Western Technical College||La Crosse||Wisconsin||http://www.westerntc.edu/default.aspx||11|
|Aims Community College||Greeley||Colorado||http://www.aims.edu||11|
|Southeast Technical Institute||Sioux Falls||South Dakota||http://www.southeasttech.edu||10|
|Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Murfreesboro||Murfreesboro||Tennessee||http://www.tcatmurfreesboro.edu||9|
|Mountwest Community and Technical College||Huntington||West Virginia||http://www.mctc.edu||9|
|DeVry College of New York||New York||New York||http://www.devry.edu||9|
|Delgado Community College||New Orleans||Louisiana||http://WWW.DCC.EDU||9|
|Broward College||Fort Lauderdale||Florida||http://www.broward.edu/Pages/home.aspx||9|
|Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology||Boston||Massachusetts||http://www.bfit.edu/||9|
|LIU Post||Brookville||New York||http://www.liu.edu||7|
|DeVry University-Pennsylvania||Fort Washington||Pennsylvania||http://www.devry.edu||7|
|North Arkansas College||Harrison||Arkansas||http://www.northark.edu||6|
|Fortis Institute-Fort Lauderdale||Lauderdale Lakes||Florida||https://www.fortis.edu/||6|
|Fortis College-Baton Rouge||Baton Rouge||Louisiana||https://www.fortis.edu/||6|
|Quinsigamond Community College||Worcester||Massachusetts||http://www.qcc.edu||5|
|Brown Mackie College-Birmingham||Birmingham||Alabama||https://www.brownmackie.edu/||5|
|Stark State College||North Canton||Ohio||http://www.starkstate.edu||4|
|Southwestern College||Chula Vista||California||http://www.swccd.edu/||4|
|New Mexico State University-Alamogordo||Alamogordo||New Mexico||http://nmsua.edu||4|
|Muskegon Community College||Muskegon||Michigan||http://www.muskegoncc.edu||4|
|Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical||Winona||Minnesota||http://www.southeastmn.edu||4|
|Gateway Community College||New Haven||Connecticut||http://www.gatewayct.edu/||3|
|DeVry University-New Jersey||North Brunswick||New Jersey||http://www.devry.edu||3|
|Contra Costa College||San Pablo||California||http://www.contracosta.edu||3|
|Brown Mackie College-Miami||Miramar||Florida||https://www.brownmackie.edu/||3|
|Miami Dade College||Miami||Florida||http://www.mdc.edu/main/||2|
|Delaware Technical Community College-Terry||Dover||Delaware||https://www.dtcc.edu/our-campuses/dover||2|
|DeVry University-Missouri||Kansas City||Missouri||http://www.devry.edu||1|
|Western Iowa Tech Community College||Sioux City||Iowa||https://www.witcc.edu/index.cfm?||1|
|Skyline College||San Bruno||California||http://skylinecollege.edu||1|
|San Diego Miramar College||San Diego||California||http://www.sdmiramar.edu/||1|
|Saint Paul College||Saint Paul||Minnesota||http://www.saintpaul.edu/Pages/default.aspx||1|
|Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences||Tulsa||Oklahoma||http://www.healthsciences.okstate.edu||1|
|Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College||Ogden||Utah||http://www.owatc.edu||1|
|Mississippi Delta Community College||Moorhead||Mississippi||http://www.msdelta.edu||1|
Hybrid & online programs
Many students looking to study biomedical technology may already be working in healthcare or another related field, which can make it difficult to attend regular classroom sessions. Luckily, many institutions have recognized this and have begun to offer online options for some or all of their biomedical technician courses. It should be noted that most programs to require some type of hands-on training or practicum experience prior to graduation.
Owens Community College: At Owens Community College, students can earn an associate of applied science (AAS) degree in biomedical electronics. The 64 to 65-credit degree is offered entirely at the school’s Toledo, Ohio campus, or as a hybrid program that features both online coursework and Toledo-based classroom experiences.
University of Vermont: Although the University of Vermont does not offer an entire degree program in biomedical technology, it does offer four courses in the subject, three of which can be completed online: patient care equipment technology, advanced medical equipment systems, and health technology management. These biomedical equipment technician courses are designed specifically for healthcare workers that are already employed and want to learn more about the field. One hands-on course is also offered, medical equipment applications, quality assurance and troubleshooting, which can be completed as an independent study for those who cannot make it to campus in Burlington.
core & Elective Courses
Though biomedical technician schools can have somewhat varied programs, there are a number of areas that are included in nearly all proper training. These courses fall into the main categories of biomedical technology-specific courses, mathematics, general science courses, and electives.
The courses that focus on biomedical technology and equipment include titles like:
Shop skills for biomedical equipment
Solid state devices
Diagnostic imaging systems
Students should keep in mind that although the titles of courses are different from school to school, the general biomedical equipment topics covered are the same.
In terms of more general courses, many students will be required to take courses such as algebra, physics, and chemistry. In those programs that allow time for electives, students may be able to select non-technical courses from the humanities or arts catalog. However, these electives are more common in the two to four-year training programs and are not likely to be found in the shorter certificate programs available.
Biomedical technician programs do not allow students to specialze. Rather, those who wish to pursue work with a certain type of machinery will be required to pursue that specialty with the internships they select during the course of their schooling as well as the types of jobs they seek upon graduation.
There are two main accrediting bodies for biomedical technology schools in the U.S.: The Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE) and the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). The ATMAE offers accreditation in a huge variety of technology-based programs, from biomedical technician programs to architectural science programs to web analyst degrees. For a full listing of ATMAE accreditation offerings, visit their program search. The organization also offers accreditation beginning at associate of applied science and extending up through master of science (MS) programs. ATMAE accreditation includes an application from the program as well as a thorough on-site visit, comprised of a team of at least three experts, who evaluate the school for its curriculum, facilities, faculty, and more. The ATMAE accreditation is currently using its 2019 Accreditation Handbook to evaluate all new applicant schools.
Like ATMAE, ABET offers accreditation to many different types of programs. The ABET accreditation process includes a self-study, completed by program administrators, as well as an on-site visit to determine eligibility. With ABET, the process takes approximately 18 months to complete. A full explanation of that process is available on the ABET site.
Interested students should also keep in mind that schools can seek overall institutional accreditation in addition to the program-specific accreditation provided by bodies such as the ATMAE and ABET. Institutional accreditation takes into account many facets of the school and generally comes from an organization that is recognized by the US Department of Education. Some such accrediting bodies are the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACCJC), and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), but there are also many more examples throughout the country. Each school website should link to those organizations from whom they have earned their accreditation.
According to the BLS, the job outlook for biomedical technicians is a bit slower than average. From 2016 to 2026, the position is expect to grow by just 4 percent, which is lower than the overall employment growth predicted of 7 percent (BLS 2017). Advancements in medical technology will continue to lead to more advanced medical equipment that will need regular service and maintenance from trained biomedical technicians, although those with more education and experience will have a better time competing for jobs.
The growth of the aging population in the United States, as well as increased overall access to healthcare, is expected to lead to an increased demand for virtually all healthcare professionals, including biomedical technicians. Both consumers and physicians will continue to stress the need for non-invasive procedures and sophisticated diagnostics, which necessitate more complex machinery and the people to repair those machines. Because of this, the need for biomedical technicians may grow faster over the next decade.
As the complexity of machines continues to increase, biomedical technicians entering the field may be more inclined to specialize in one type of machine or one area of diagnostics, because there will simply be more things to know about the inner workings of these highly sophisticated machines.
|Career Facts||Biomedical Technician|
|Related Careers||Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technician|
|Common Job Titles||Bio Medical Technician, Biomedical Technician (Biomed Tech), Biomedical Electronics Technician, Biomedical Engineering Technician (BMET), Biomedical Equipment Technician (BMET), Dental Equipment Technician, X-Ray Service Engineer|
|Technology & Equipment||Pressure Indicators, Ventilator Accessories, Voltage or Current Meters, Office and Productivity Software|
|Sourced from BLS, June 2018|
Licensing & Certification
There is no standard licensing or certification procedure for biomedical technicians. Rather, like many of the medical technologist careers, those that wish to improve their career options by obtaining officially recognized biomedical technician certification may do so. The most common certification for biomedical technicians in the U.S. comes from the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI). According to the AAMI, certification for a Biomedical Equipment Technician "demonstrates that successful applicants have the knowledge to ensure a safe, reliable healthcare environment. It also demonstrates to employers a significant commitment to career and competence."
Although there is no requirement that any biomedical technician obtains this certification, certified technicians may find that there are more and better-paying career opportunities available to them. Further, those biomedical technicians who are currently working and wish to improve their position in the workplace may wish to pursue certification. Indeed, in order to apply for certification, there is a work experience prerequisite, with a minimum of two years of full-time BMET work in addition to an associate's degree from a biomedical academic program, or four years full-time work as a BMET. Information about other avenues for certification are available on the Certification FAQ page of the AAMI website. Those technicians who wish to be certified but do not yet qualify may become certification candidates, which can help to alert employers to how seriously those individuals take their career and advancement opportunities.