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Bureau of Labor Statistics

Medical Equipment Repairers

medical equipment repairers image
Medical equipment repairers adjust and repair medical equipment.
Quick Facts: Medical Equipment Repairers
2015 Median Pay $46,340 per year
$22.28 per hour
Typical 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, 2014 48,000
Job Outlook, 2014-24 6% (As fast as average)
Employment Change, 2014-24 2,900

Summary

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 $46,340 in May 2015.

Job Outlook

Employment of medical equipment repairers is projected to grow 6 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as 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. 

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for medical equipment repairers.

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

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:

  • Install medical equipment
  • 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, ventilators, anesthesia machines, and other life-supporting equipment. They also may work on medical imaging equipment (x rays, CAT scanners, and ultrasound equipment), voice-controlled operating tables, and electric wheelchairs. In addition, they repair medical equipment that dentists and eye doctors’ use.

If a machine has problems or is not functioning to its potential, repairers first diagnose the problem. They then adjust the mechanical, electronic, or hydraulic parts or modify the software in order to recalibrate the equipment and fix the issue.

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. Much of the equipment that they maintain and repair use specialized test-equipment software. Repairers use this 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-ray machines 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

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

Medical equipment repairers held about 48,000 jobs in 2014. The industries that employed the most medical equipment repairers were as follows:

Professional and commercial equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers 27%
Electronic and precision equipment repair and maintenance 19
Hospitals; state, local, and private 13
Ambulatory healthcare services 8
Health and personal care stores 4

About 1 in 7 medical equipment repairers were self-employed in 2014.

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

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. Repairers who work on more sophisticated equipment, such as CAT scanners and defibrillators, may need a bachelor’s degree.

Training

New workers generally observe and help experienced repairers for 3 to 6 months to start. As they learn, workers gradually become more independent 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. The original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) may also offer training.

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 manufacturers and employers, particularly those 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 (CLES).

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.

Technical skills. Technicians use sophisticated diagnostic tools when working on complex medical equipment. They must be familiar with both the equipment’s 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

Medical Equipment Repairers

Median annual wages, May 2015

Medical equipment repairers

$46,340

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

$42,790

Total, all occupations

$36,200

 

The median annual wage for medical equipment repairers was $46,340 in May 2015. 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 $28,290, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $76,350.

In May 2015, the median annual wages for medical equipment repairers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Hospitals; state, local, and private $53,310
Professional and commercial equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers 48,150
Electronic and precision equipment repair and maintenance 46,270
Ambulatory healthcare services 44,460
Health and personal care stores 34,540

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

Medical Equipment Repairers

Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24

Total, all occupations

7%

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

6%

Medical equipment repairers

6%

 

Employment of medical equipment repairers is projected to grow 6 percent from 2014 to 2024, about fast as 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 additional and more complex medical equipment. More medical equipment repairers should 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, 2014-24

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

Occupational Title

Medical equipment repairers

SOC Code49-9062
Employment, 201448,000
Projected Employment, 202450,900
Percent Change, 2014-246
Numeric Change, 2014-242,900
Employment by Industry[XLSX]

State & Area Data

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

Career InfoNet

America’s Career InfoNet includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations

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 2015 MEDIAN PAY
Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians

Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians

Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians repair and perform scheduled maintenance on aircraft. They also may perform aircraft inspections as required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

See How to Become One $58,390
General maintenance and repair workers

General Maintenance and Repair Workers

General maintenance and repair workers fix and maintain machines, mechanical equipment, and buildings. They paint, repair flooring, and work on plumbing, electrical, and air-conditioning and heating systems.

High school diploma or equivalent $36,630
Industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers

Industrial Machinery Mechanics, Machinery Maintenance Workers, and Millwrights

Industrial machinery mechanics and machinery maintenance workers maintain and repair factory equipment and other industrial machinery, such as conveying systems, production machinery, and packaging equipment. Millwrights install, dismantle, repair, reassemble, and move machinery in factories, power plants, and construction sites.

High school diploma or equivalent $48,410
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 $50,550

Contacts for More Info

Publish Date: Thursday, December 17, 2015

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Medical Equipment Repairers,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/medical-equipment-repairers.htm (visited July 29, 2016).

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics | Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections, PSB Suite 2135, 2 Massachusetts Avenue, NE Washington, DC 20212-0001

www.bls.gov/ooh | Telephone: 1-202-691-5700 | Contact OOH

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