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An Inside Look at Biomedical Technician Jobs

Jun 07, 2010

You want opportunity. You want challenges. But if you're looking for a career in the huge healthcare field, there are so many choices. Which path is right for you? This FAQ guide will give you an insider's look at biomedical technician jobs.

Is this job the right fit for me?

When you were in high school, were you a bona fide math geek? Did you willingly do homework in classes like electronics or industrial arts? Because of the nature of biomedical technician jobs, candidates should have a solid background in science and technology. In addition, because these techs work with a variety of others, such as sales, service technicians, and engineers, good communication skills are also a must.

Where do these technicians work?

The healthcare industry is massive and provides plenty of settings to choose from. Here are just a few of the places you'll find job opportunities:

  • Hospitals – As one of the most common workplaces for biomedical technician jobs, hospital settings offer many opportunities for these professionals, from simple electric wheelchair repairs to highly complex maintenance on sophisticated imaging equipment. Techs in hospitals may be expected to be on-call in case a critical life-saving technology breaks down. In addition, medical equipment repairers employed by hospitals should be prepared to work around patients, including those with serious medical conditions.
  • Medical equipment services – These private companies repair medical equipment used by a variety of providers, including physicians, orthodontists, dentists, and diagnostic centers. Those who work in this setting don’t just service human healthcare, either; they also service equipment for four-legged patients by repairing medical equipment used by veterinarians.

What are the hours like?

Typically, biomedical technicians work during the day. Since equipment is sometimes in use 24/7, such as in hospitals, some professionals will find themselves on-call, required to repair the technology as needed.

Is this a stressful job?

Biomedical technicians find themselves in a wide range of situations, depending on the type of work they choose. Some tasks, such as fixing a creaky hospital bed, might not generate much stress. On the other hand, the vital role of medical equipment in diagnosing conditions and administering therapy can make its repair critical. In addition, the technology can be quite sophisticated (CAT scanners, MRIs, etc.), meaning that it's imperative that repairs and maintenance are done correctly. These qualities can make biomedical technician jobs more stressful than other occupations. However, for those who enjoy a challenge, it's an ideal career path.

Will there be a job for me after I finish school?

Biomedical technician jobs are a growing field within a growing industry. Overall, the healthcare sector is expected to add more than 3 million jobs by 2018. In fact, the Department of Labor says that biomedical techs can expect "excellent job opportunities" in the coming years, growing at a rate much faster than average.

Of course, there are no guarantees you'll find a job in this or any field. However, you can rest assured that if you do all the right things—complete school, present yourself as a professional, etc.—there is a good potential for a range of job opportunities well into the future. Do I need to go to school to qualify for these positions?

Some entry-level positions don't require applicants to hold a college degree. However, these technicians are often limited to fixing wheelchairs and maintaining hospital beds. Most positions require a minimum of an associate's degree in applied sciences. Because medical technology is becoming more and more sophisticated, however, some positions may require a bachelor's degree.

Be aware that technology is constantly changing, which means that if you want a job in biomedical tech, you should expect to continue your education throughout your career. You don't necessarily need to take more college credits, though. Techs can update their skills through self-study programs, workshops, seminars, and non-credit courses.

Do I need to obtain professional certification?

While biomedical technicians aren't required to earn a professional stamp of approval, there are several organizations that award certification. Candidates must meet requirements for education as well as experience. In addition, testing may be required to earn the certificate. Keep in mind that some employers may offer in-house certification training.

Even though certification isn't always necessary, the programs allow technicians to demonstrate a level of capability that can lead to more responsibility and a higher salary. It can also make a job candidate more marketable to a prospective employer.

If you're looking for a career that offers a solid salary and excellent opportunities—now and in the future—consider a career as a biomedical technician.

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