How to Become a Medical Equipment Repairer
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 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.
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).
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.