How to Become a Medical Equipment Repairer: Duties, Responsibilities, Schooling, Requirements, Certifications, Job Outlook, and Salary
Wherever you work in the medical industry—whether you’re a doctor, nurse, EMT, paramedic, or other healthcare professional—there’s one problem they all experiences at some point in their careers… broken equipment.
The medical field is filled with breakthrough technology and machines that do incredible things, but as a rule, all tools eventually break, which is why there will always be a need for Medical Equipment Repairers. And if you’re an EMT looking for your next career move, becoming a medical equipment repairer could be a great fit.
(Check out our full list of alternative jobs for EMTs and paramedics)
Medical equipment repairers, or biomedical equipment technicians (BMET), handle the installation, repair, and maintenance for a wide range of medical equipment. The medical tools can range from electronic to hydraulic to electromechanical, and can include life-supporting equipment (defibrillators, ventilation machines), medical imaging equipment (x-rays, CAT scans), and occasionally dental and eye equipment.
BMETs often work near hospital patients as they repair or install equipment, so workers with a background in medicine (such as EMTs and paramedics) have an advantage in the field.
Medical Equipment Repairer Requirements
How to Become a Medical Equipment Repairer
One advantage to becoming a medical equipment repairer is that no certification is required.
States don’t require you to pass an exam, but some BMETs may decide to pursue optional certifications in specific technologies to increase their chances of being hired.
Depending on the type of equipment you’ll be fixing, some employers may require additional training for specific machines and devices. However For basic medical equipment, like electronic wheelchairs and hospital beds, this training is typically given on-the-job with no additional education required and the training lasts an average of three to six months.
For more complex machines and technology, some hospitals may require BMETs to complete an associate degree in biomedical engineering technology or engineering. A few machines, such as CAT scans, may even require a bachelor’s degree.
Medical Equipment Repairer Might Be A Good Fit If…
- You are mechanically inclined
- You enjoy problem solving
- You are patient and methodical when approaching a problem
- You don’t mind working around patients and in hospitals
- You have steady hands and are good with small tools
- You are organized
- You prefer a 9-to-5 work shift
- You like learning on the job
Medical Equipment Repairer Duties & Responsibilities
What Does a Medical Equipment Repairer Do?
The primary job of a medical equipment repairer is to install, maintain, and repair life-supporting, imaging, and patient care machinery and technology within a hospital or clinic setting.
Common responsibilities for medical equipment repairers include:
- Installing medical equipment
- Testing and calibrating equipment
- Repairing and replacing parts
- Performing routine maintenance
- Keeping records of repairs and maintenance
- Reviewing technical manuals and attending training sessions
- Teaching others how to operate medical equipment
Medical Equipment Repairer Job Description
What Is a Typical Day For a Medical Equipment Repairer?
A medical equipment repairer’s day begins and ends with a list. As the day starts, the BMET first checks for memos, emails, or other messages to make sure there are no emergency repairs that require immediate attention. If so, the day begins by repairing these first.
Barring any emergencies or unique situations, the rest of the day will be spent on routine maintenance and repairs for various types of medical equipment, in order of importance.
Because much of the equipment is essential to patient care, there is a sense of urgency in the work. Machines have to be fixed quickly and correctly so they can return to action with as little delay as possible.
Medical Equipment Repairer Hours
Unlike EMTs and paramedics, medical equipment repairers typically work a regular 40-hour work week with a 9-to-5 schedule. Occasionally, a BMET will be called in during a night shift or over the weekend in emergency repair situations.
Medical Equipment Repairer Uniform
Because a BMET works with machines and not patients, scrubs are not required for the job. “Business casual” tends to be an industry standard for this profession, but this can vary depending on your employer.
Medical Equipment Repairer Education
What Training Is Required to Become a Medical Equipment Repairer?
Because state certification isn’t required for BMETs, job requirements are entirely up to your future employer, and the amount of training required depends on the type of hospital equipment you’ll be responsible for maintaining. If the hospital is looking for a general engineer to fix basic mechanical issues, you may be able to step right into the job and train while you go.
If the hospital needs someone to maintain more complex machinery and technology, additional education will be required—most often, an associate degree in biomedical technology.
Medical Equipment Repairer Programs
BMET training can be acquired at a community college or vocational school. During your courses, you’ll study:
- Electronic Circuits and Devices
- Digital Circuits and Microprocessors
- Computer Programming
- Data Communication
- Signal Processing
- Medical Diagnostics and Imaging
- Biomedical Equipment
For students earning a full bachelor’s degree in biomechanical engineering technology, additional courses on medical machinery and programming would be required.
Optional certification exams can also be taken through the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) to become a Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician (CBET), Certified Radiology Equipment Specialist (CRES), or a Certified Laboratory Equipment Specialist (CLES).
How Long Does It Take to Be a Medical Equipment Repairer?
The length of time required to earn a postsecondary degree in biomechanical engineering technology depends on where you study. Programs can last from one to two years for an associate degree, and up to four years for a bachelor’s degree.
On the job training also varies by location and can last anywhere from a few months to a year.
Medical Equipment Repairer Certification
The AAMI offers three programs for medical repair technicians who want to add certification credentials to their resume. While certification isn’t required to work on medical machinery, successfully passing these exams could lead to greater job opportunities and career prospects.
Optional certification is a way to demonstrate competency in a particular field, so your future employer may feel secure in their hire. It’s a way of saying “you know your stuff”.
Medical Equipment Repairer Required Skills
Besides the educational and certification requirements, medical equipment repairers should exhibit the following skills to achieve success:
- Communication – Not everyone will be as well-versed as you when it comes to the ins and outs of medical equipment, so you’ll need to be able to set aside the shop-talk (i.e. technical jargon) and communicate clearly and concisely to your peers and employers.
- Dexterity – BMETs work with precision tools and tiny parts, so steady hand-eye coordination is a must.
- Mechanical Skills – You should have an eye for how things work and why.
- Physical Stamina – You will be in, on, and under machines regularly—as well as lifting and installing heavy equipment.
- Time Management – Just like with patients in emergency medicine, you’ll need to be able to triage the day’s mechanical problems and manage your time effectively to solve the day’s challenges.
- Troubleshooting – Not all answers will be found in textbooks. You’ll need to be able to think on your feet to find solutions to unique mechanical problems.
From EMT to Medical Equipment Repairer
How Will My EMT Experience Help Me Become a Medical Equipment Repairer?
EMT and paramedic experience can be a helpful first step into the world of biomedical equipment repair. The equipment you repair may even include some of the tools you used while working in the field. Like EMTs and paramedics, BMETs have to think on their feet to resolve unexpected challenges that can arise at any time. EMTs also have the advantage of direct patient care experience, so working in a hospital around patients shouldn’t be a difficult transition.
Relevant EMT Qualifications:
- Proof of Performance – Your experience as an EMT proves that you can work successfully in a medical environment.
- Patient Care – You have experience working directly with patients, so a hospital setting won’t be a culture shock.
- Communication – Your experience communicating with doctors, dispatchers, and equipment technicians as an EMT can help you communicate more effectively as a BMET.
- Familiarity with Equipment – As an EMT, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with most of the equipment you’ll be repairing as a BMET. Knowing how the technology should work is a big advantage when providing maintenance or repair support.
Medical Equipment Repairer Salary
How Much Does a Medical Equipment Repairer Make?
A medical equipment repairer makes an average salary of $53,130 per year ($25.54 an hour) according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the field is expected to grow by 5% in coming years.
Your level of experience will determine your salary, and obtaining additional education or an optional certification in the field may also increase this amount.
Your location and job type will also impact your pay as a BMET.
Highest Paid Industries for Medical Equipment Repairers
Here is a list of occupational settings where BMETs can work, ranked in order of average salary:
|Industry||Average Hourly Wage||Average Salary|
|Scientific Research & Development||$30.62||$63,690|
|Management of Companies & Enterprises||$30.33||$63,080|
|Commercial Equipment & Supplies Wholesalers||$26.26||$54,620|
|Outpatient Care Centers||$24.99||$51,970|
Location is another factor that will influence your financial compensation.
Highest Paying States for Medical Equipment Repairers
|State||Average Hourly Wage||Average Salary|
Highest Paying Cities for Medical Equipment Repairers
|City||Average Hourly Wage||Average Salary|
|San Francisco, CA||$33.33||$69,330|
|Chapel Hill, NC||$32.89||$68,410|
|New York, NY||$32.51||$67,620|
Beginning Your Career as a Medical Equipment Repairer
Becoming a BMET can be a natural step up in pay and responsibility for EMTs and paramedics with a knack for repair and engineering.
If you’re not already an EMT and would like to gain real-world experience before taking the leap to medical equipment repairer, you can start by training for EMT certification.
Emergency medical services are an excellent way to test the waters before fully committing to a career in healthcare. The fields for both medical equipment repairers and EMTs are growing, and hard-working, smart, and dedicated employees are always in demand.