Biomedical Equipment Technician Certification (AAMI, ETA)
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The World Health Organization estimates that there are more than 10,000 different types of medical devices currently on the market. These medical devices need to be installed, calibrated, maintained, serviced, and repaired on a regular basis. The Food and Drug Administration has strict standards that must be followed to ensure all medical devices are functioning properly and safely. Thankfully, trained biomedical technicians have the skills, training, and knowledge to keep medical equipment in tip-top shape.
Biomedical technicians can come from a number of professional backgrounds. Typical professions for this field include engineers, health care professionals, or electronics technicians. Also known as biomedical equipment technicians, they are employed by hospitals, clinics, private sector companies, and government agencies.
In order to earn certification in this field, candidates must have a combination of education and work experience. While certification is voluntary, it is highly recommended as it can be required for employment or advancement. Certification also demonstrates a high level of competency in this field. Currently, there are no state licensing or certification requirements for biomedical technicians but professionals in this field have to abide by federal and state medical equipment standards.
Continue reading to learn about the two primary biomedical technician certifications.
Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician (CBET)
The Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician (CBET) is administered through the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI). This is the most common certificate obtained in this field. There are four pathways to be eligible to take this exam:
Hold an associate’s degree or higher from a biomedical equipment technology program and have two years of full-time work experience in the field
Complete a U.S. military biomedical equipment technology program and have two years’ full-time work experience in the field
Hold an associate’s degree or higher in electronics technology and have three years’ full-time work experience in the field
Have four years’ full-time work experience in the field
This exam consists of 165 questions which must be answered in three hours. Candidates will only have access to a basic calculator and scratch paper. A passing score is 116 correct questions out of 165. The fee for the exam is $350 for AAMI members and $400 for non-members. Topics covered in this exam include:
Anatomy and physiology
Fundamentals of electricity and electronics
Healthcare technology problem solving
Healthcare information technology
Additional certifications CBETs can earn through the AAMI include certified radiology equipment specialists (CRES), certified laboratory equipment specialists (CLES), certified nephrology equipment specialist (CNES), and certified healthcare technology manager (CHTM). These advanced certifications allow CBETs to work on specialized equipment or demonstrate the have the skills to manage a team.
Biomedical Electronics Technician (BMD)
The Electronics Technician Association (ETA) administers the Biomedical Electronics Technician certification (BMD). This entry-level certification is the first step in a journeyman’s career path. Anyone in this field who feels they have the necessary education and training can sit for this exam.
The cost to take this two-hour 75-question exam is $80. ETA allows one free retake of the exam after a 30 day waiting period. There are study guides available for purchase on the ETA website to help candidates prepare for the exam. Topics covered include:
The human nervous system
Cables and cabling
Medical electronics safety
Medical ultrasound instruments
ETA also offers a more advanced certification of Biomedical Imaging Equipment Technician (BIET) which can be the second step in a journeyman career path or a stand-alone certification. Anyone who feels prepared to sit for this exam can take it as there are no eligibility requirements.
Biomedical Tech Certification Renewal Requirements
CBET certification through AAMI must be renewed every three years. In order to renew, certificate holders must submit proof of 30 hours of continuing education and pay a $100 fee if they are AAMI members or a $150 fee if they are not.
ETA certificates must be maintained as they expire after four years. To renew certificate holders must pay an annual $25 fee ($100 total) and submit proof of 10 hours of continuing education or provide proof of employment in the field.
State Certification for Biomedical Technicians
Currently, there are no state certification or licensing requirements for biomedical technicians.
However, the clinical devices and technologies biomedical technicians work are on are governed by one or more federal agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), The Joint Commission (TJC), and the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC).
Biomedical technicians are responsible for ensuring that they adhere to any and all federal agency requirements especially pertaining to documentation of modifications, repairs, testing, delivery, and set up.