Medical Equipment Repairers

Summary

medical equipment repairers image
Medical equipment repairers adjust and repair medical equipment.
Quick Facts: Medical Equipment Repairers
2012 Median Pay $44,570 per year
$21.43 per hour
Entry-Level Education Associate’s degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Moderate-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2012 42,300
Job Outlook, 2012-22 30% (Much faster than average)
Employment Change, 2012-22 12,800

What Medical Equipment Repairers Do

Medical equipment repairers install, maintain, and repair patient care equipment.

Work Environment

Although medical equipment repairers usually work during the day, they are sometimes expected to be on call, including evenings and weekends. Because repairing vital medical equipment is urgent, the work is sometimes stressful. Those who work in a patient-caring environment are potentially exposed to diseases and other health risks.

How to Become a Medical Equipment Repairer

Employers generally prefer candidates who have an associate’s degree in biomedical technology or engineering. Depending on the area of specialization, repairers may need a bachelor’s degree, especially for advancement.

Pay

The median annual wage for medical equipment repairers was $44,570 in May 2012.

Job Outlook

Employment of medical equipment repairers is projected to grow 30 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Greater demand for healthcare services and the use of increasingly complex medical equipment will drive employment growth. Those who have an associate’s degree in biomedical equipment technology or engineering should have the best job opportunities. 

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of medical equipment repairers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about medical equipment repairers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Medical Equipment Repairers Do About this section

Medical equipment repairers
Medical equipment repairers often test and calibrate equipment.

Medical equipment repairers install, maintain, and repair patient care equipment.

Duties

Medical equipment repairers typically do the following:

  • Test and calibrate parts and equipment
  • Repair and replace parts
  • Perform preventive maintenance and service
  • Keep records of maintenance and repairs
  • Review technical manuals and regularly attend training sessions
  • Explain and demonstrate how to operate medical equipment
  • Manage replacement of medical equipment

Medical equipment repairers, also known as biomedical equipment technicians (BMET), repair a wide range of electronic, electromechanical, and hydraulic equipment used in hospitals and health practitioners’ offices. They may work on patient monitors, defibrillators, medical imaging equipment (x rays, CAT scanners, and ultrasound equipment), voice-controlled operating tables, and electric wheelchairs, as well as work on medical equipment that dentists and eye doctors use.

If a machine has problems or is not functioning to its potential, the repairer may have to adjust the mechanical or hydraulic parts, or adjust the software in order to recalibrate the equipment.

To do their work, medical equipment repairers use a variety of tools. Most use hand tools, such as screwdrivers, wrenches, and soldering irons. Others use electronic tools, such as multimeters (an electronic measuring device that combines several measures) and computers, depending on the repair. Much of the equipment that they maintain and repair use specialized software, and repairers use that software to calibrate the machines.

Many doctors, particularly specialty practitioners, rely on complex medical devices to run tests and diagnose patients, and they must be confident that the readings are accurate. Therefore, medical equipment repairers sometimes perform routine scheduled maintenance to ensure that sophisticated equipment, such as x rays and CAT scanners, are in good working order. For less complicated equipment, such as electric hospital beds, workers make repairs as needed.

In a hospital setting, medical equipment repairers must be comfortable working around patients because repairs occasionally must take place while equipment is being used. When this is the case, the repairer must take great care to ensure that their work activities do not disturb patients.

Although some medical equipment repairers are trained to fix a variety of equipment, others specialize in repairing one or a small number of machines.

Work Environment About this section

Medical equipment repairers
Medical equipment repairers often must work in a patient-caring environment.

Medical equipment repairers held about 42,300 jobs in 2012. About 15 percent were self-employed.

The industries that employed the most medical equipment repairers in 2012 were as follows:

Professional and commercial equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers26%
Electronic and precision equipment repair and maintenance15
Hospitals; state, local, and private14
Ambulatory health care services7
Health and personal care stores6

Medical equipment repairers work for wholesale suppliers and at hospitals, electronic repair and maintenance shops, and health and personal care stores. Because repairing vital medical equipment is urgent, the work can be stressful.

Medical equipment repairers who work as contractors often have to travel—sometimes long distances—to perform needed repairs. Repairers often must work in a patient-caring environment, which has the potential to expose them to diseases and other health risks.

Work Schedules

Although medical equipment repairers usually work during the day, they are sometimes expected to be on call, including evenings and weekends. Most work full time, but some repairers have variable schedules.

How to Become a Medical Equipment Repairer About this section

Medical equipment repairers
Workers fine tune medical diagnostic equipment.

Employers generally prefer candidates who have an associate’s degree in biomedical technology or engineering. Depending on the area of specialization, repairers may need a bachelor’s degree, especially for advancement.

Education

Education requirements for medical equipment repairers vary, depending on a worker’s experience and area of specialization. However, the most common education is an associate’s degree in biomedical equipment technology or engineering. Those who repair less-complicated equipment, such as hospital beds and electric wheelchairs, may learn entirely through on-the-job training, sometimes lasting up to 1 year. Others, particularly those who work on more sophisticated equipment, such as CAT scanners and defibrillators, may need a bachelor’s degree.

Training

New workers generally start by observing and helping experienced repairers for 3 to 6 months. As they learn, workers tend to work more independently while still under supervision.

Each piece of equipment is different, so medical equipment repairers must learn each one separately. In some cases, this requires studying a machine’s technical specifications and operating manual. Medical device manufacturers also may provide technical training.

Medical equipment technology is rapidly evolving, and new devices are frequently introduced. Repairers must continually update their skills and knowledge of new technologies and equipment through seminars and self-study.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although not mandatory, certification can demonstrate competence and professionalism, making candidates more attractive to employers. It can also increase a repairer’s opportunities for advancement. Most employers, particularly in hospitals, often pay for their in-house medical repairers to become certified.

Some associations offer certifications for medical equipment repairers. For example, 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).

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Medical equipment repairers must effectively communicate technical information by telephone, in writing, and in person when speaking to clients, supervisors, and co-workers.

Dexterity. Many tasks, such as connecting or attaching parts and using hand tools require a steady hand and good hand–eye coordination.

Mechanical skills. Medical equipment repairers must be familiar with medical components and systems and how they interact. Often, repairers must disassemble and reassemble major parts for repair.

Physical stamina. Standing, crouching, and bending in awkward positions are common when making repairs to equipment. Therefore, workers should be physically fit enough as to not tire.

Technical skills. Technicians use sophisticated diagnostic tools when working on complex medical equipment. They must be familiar with both the equipments’ internal parts and the appropriate tools needed to fix them.

Time-management skills. Because repairing vital medical equipment is urgent, workers must make good use of their time and perform repairs quickly.

Troubleshooting skills. As medical equipment becomes more intricate, problems become more difficult to identify. Therefore, repairers must be able to find and solve problems that are not immediately apparent.

Pay About this section

Medical Equipment Repairers

Median annual wages, May 2012

Medical equipment repairers

$44,570

Other installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

$38,750

Total, all occupations

$34,750

 

The median annual wage for medical equipment repairers was $44,570 in May 2012. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,550, and the top 10 percent earned more than $72,080.

In May 2012, the median annual wages for medical equipment repairers in the top five industries in which these repairers worked were as follows:

Hospitals; state, local, and private$48,870
Electronic and precision equipment repair and
maintenance
46,610
Professional and commercial equipment and supplies
merchant wholesalers
44,980
Ambulatory health care services43,830
Health and personal care stores 35,050

Although medical equipment repairers usually work during the day, they are sometimes expected to be on call, including evenings and weekends. Most work full time, but some repairers have variable schedules.

Job Outlook About this section

Medical Equipment Repairers

Percent change in employment, projected 2012-22

Medical equipment repairers

30%

Other installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

12%

Total, all occupations

11%

 

Employment of medical equipment repairers is projected to grow 30 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will stem from both greater demand for healthcare services and the increasing types and complexity of the equipment these workers maintain and repair.

A significant factor in the greater demand for healthcare services is the aging population. As people age, they usually need more medical care. With the expected increase in the number of older adults and with people living longer, health professionals are prescribing more medical tests that use new, complex equipment.

Changes in technology are bringing hospitals and health professionals more types of equipment and more complex equipment. Medical equipment repairers will be needed to maintain and repair CAT scans, electrocardiograms, magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasounds, x-ray machines, and other new equipment. They also will be needed to maintain and repair the sophisticated machines that private practitioners and technicians use to diagnose and treat problems with eyes, teeth, and other parts of the body. Some repairers will be needed to maintain and repair less complex health equipment, such as electric beds and wheelchairs.

Job Prospects

A combination of rapid employment growth and the need to replace workers who leave the occupation each year will result in excellent job opportunities over the coming decade.

Candidates who have an associate’s degree in biomedical equipment technology or engineering should have the best job prospects. Job opportunities should be even better for those who are willing to relocate, because often there are relatively few qualified applicants in rural areas.

Employment projections data for medical equipment repairers, 2012-22
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2012 Projected Employment, 2022 Change, 2012-22 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Medical equipment repairers

49-9062 42,300 55,100 30 12,800 [XLS]

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of medical equipment repairers.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help 2012 MEDIAN PAY Help
Computer, ATM, and office machine repairers

Computer, ATM, and Office Machine Repairers

Computer, ATM, and office machine repairers install, fix, and maintain many of the machines that businesses, households, and other consumers use.

Some college, no degree $36,620
Medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians

Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians

Medical laboratory technologists (commonly known as medical laboratory scientists) and medical laboratory technicians collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue, and other substances.

See How to Become One $47,820
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Medical Equipment Repairers,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/medical-equipment-repairers.htm (visited October 31, 2014).

Publish Date: Wednesday, January 8, 2014