How to Become a Medical Equipment Repairer: Duties, Requirements, Certifications, Job Outlook, and Salary
Wherever and however you work in the medical industry—whether you’re a doctor, nurse, EMT, paramedic, or other healthcare professional working in the field, a clinic, or a hospital—there’s one problem you’re bound to experience at some point…broken equipment.
The medical field is home to breakthrough technology and machines that do incredible things. However, 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 a unique and rewarding career move, becoming a medical equipment repairer could be a great fit.
(For other exciting post-EMT career ideas, check out our complete list of alternative jobs for EMTs and paramedics)
Medical equipment repairers, or biomedical equipment technicians (BMET), handle the vital installation, repair, and maintenance of various medical equipment. The tools can range from electronic to hydraulic to electromechanical. They may include life-supporting equipment (defibrillators, ventilation machines), medical imaging equipment (X-rays, CAT scans), and occasionally dental and eye equipment. The range of equipment is massive, making this a career that’s as varied as it is necessary.
BMETs often work near hospital patients as they repair or install equipment, so workers with backgrounds 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 benefit to becoming a medical equipment repairer is that no certification is required.
States do not require you to pass an exam, but some BMETs pursue optional certifications in specific technologies to increase their chances of being hired.
Depending on the type of equipment, some employers may require additional training for specific machines and devices. However, for standard medical equipment, like electronic wheelchairs and hospital beds, training is typically given on the job over an average of three to six months, with no additional education required.
For more complex machines and technology, some hospitals may require BMETs to complete an associate degree in biomedical engineering technology or engineering. However, some devices, such as CAT scans, may 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?
Just as it sounds, 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.
Typical 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?
Like so many professionals in the medical field, 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 emergencies do arise, those become priority.
Barring any emergencies or unique situations, the day will include routine maintenance and repairs for the various types of medical equipment in their facility, in order of importance.
When equipment is essential to patient care, there is always a sense of urgency in the work. Machines must be fixed quickly and correctly with as little delay as possible.
Medical Equipment Repairer Hours
One of the appealing things about being a medical equipment repairer over being an EMT is the regular work hours. Unlike EMTs and paramedics, medical equipment repairers typically work a standard 40-hour work week with a 9-to-5 schedule. Only occasionally will a BMET be called in during a night shift or over the weekend for emergency repair situations.
Medical Equipment Repairer Uniform
Because a BMET works with machines instead of patients, scrubs are not required. Many BMETs appreciate that “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 necessary for BMETs, job requirements are entirely up to your potential employer. The training they require depends on the hospital equipment you’d be responsible for maintaining. If the hospital is looking for a general engineer to fix fundamental mechanical issues, you may be able to step right into the job and train while you go.
Unsurprisingly, the more complex and vital a device may be, BMETs will need more training to maintain it. Therefore, an associate degree in biomedical technology may be required if the hospital needs someone to support more complex machinery and technology.
Medical Equipment Repairer Programs
To get a leg up on other candidates, consider acquiring BMET training at a community college or vocational school. During your training, you’ll study:
- Electronic Circuits and Devices
- Digital Circuits and Microprocessors
- Computer Programming
- Data Communication
- Signal Processing
- Medical Diagnostics and Imaging
- Biomedical Equipment
Additional medical machinery and programming courses are required for students pursuing a full bachelor’s degree in biomechanical engineering technology.
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 Become a Medical Equipment Repairer?
The time it takes to earn a postsecondary degree in biomechanical engineering technology depends on where and how you study. Programs can last from one to two years for an associate degree and four years for a bachelor’s degree.
On-the-job training varies by location and institution 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 resumes. While certification isn’t required to work on medical machinery, students who successfully pass these exams may experience more significant job opportunities and career prospects.
Optional certification is always a smart way to demonstrate competency in a particular field. It helps your future employer feel secure in their hire—or draw their interest in the first place. It’s a way of demonstrating your interest, determination, and qualifications.
Medical Equipment Repairer Required Skills
Besides the individually applied educational and certification requirements, successful medical equipment repairers typically exhibit the following skills:
- Communication – Not everyone will be as well-versed as you will be when it comes to the ins and outs of medical equipment, so you’ll need to avoid 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 necessary.
- Mechanical Skills – You should have a keen eye for and interest in how things work.
- Physical Stamina –You will be working in, on, and under machines of all sizes and lifting and installing heavy equipment.
- Time Management – Just like with your 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 are in textbooks. You’ll need to have a mechanical mind and 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 biomedical equipment repair. For starters, the equipment you repair may include some of the tools you used while working in the field. Like EMTs and paramedics, BMETs must think on their feet to resolve unexpected challenges that can arise at any time. EMTs also have the advantage of having direct patient care experience, so working in a hospital and around patients shouldn’t be a difficult transition.
Relevant EMT Qualifications:
- Proof of Performance – Your experience as an EMT proves that you have what it takes towork 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, you may already be familiar with much of the equipment you’ll be repairing as a BMET. Knowing how the technology should work is a significant advantage when providing maintenance or repair support.
Medical Equipment Repairer Salary
How Much Does a Medical Equipment Repairer Make?
In 2021, a medical equipment repairer made an average salary* of $56,000 per year ($27 an hour), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As with most jobs, your experience level will determine your salary*, and obtaining additional education or an optional certification in the field may also be an excellent way to increase your salary.
And, of course, your location and job type will also impact your pay.
Highest Paying 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 Pay||Average Salary|
|Scientific Research & Development||$34.10||$70,930|
|Medical and Surgical Hospitals||$33.18||$69,010|
|Management of Companies and Enterprises||$33.03||$68,690|
|Outpatient Care Centers||$26.42||$54,950|
Highest Paying States for Medical Equipment Repairers
Location is another factor that can drastically influence your financial compensation. Here are the states that offer the highest salaries for medical equipment repairers:
|State||Average Hourly Pay||Average Salary|
Highest Paying Cities for Medical Equipment Repairers
Here are the cities where BMETs can earn the highest salary:
|City||Average Hourly Pay||Average Salary|
|San Jose, CA||$40.40||$84,030|
|San Francisco, CA||$39.26||$81,660|
|Salt Lake City, UT||$35.98||$74,840|
|Santa Rosa, CA||$35.92||$74,720|
|Santa Barbara, CA||$35.32||$73,470|
Beginning Your Career as a Medical Equipment Repairer
Becoming a BMET can be a satisfying step up in pay and responsibility for EMTs and paramedics with a knack for repair and engineering.
Suppose you’re not already an EMT and want to gain the real-world experience employers look for before leaping into medical equipment repair. In that case, 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 opportunities for medical equipment repairers and EMTs are growing, and hard-working, intelligent, and dedicated employees are always in demand.