Medical equipment repairers install, maintain, and repair patient care equipment.
What they do
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 (BMETs), 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.
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 uses 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.
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 germs, diseases and other health risks.
Because repairing vital medical equipment is urgent, the work can be stressful. In addition, installing and repairing medical equipment often involves lifting and carrying heavy objects as well as working in tight spaces.
How to become a Medical Equipment Repairer
Employers generally prefer candidates who have an associate 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 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.
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).
The median annual wage for medical equipment repairers was $49,280 in May 2019. 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 $29,630, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $82,500.
Employment of medical equipment repairers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. These repairers will be needed to repair medical equipment in healthcare settings.
Similar Job Titles
Bio Medical Technician, Biomed Tech (Biomedical Technician), Biomedical Electronics Technician, Biomedical Engineering Technician (BMET), Biomedical Equipment Technician (BMET), Dental Equipment Technician, Electronic Technician, Repair Technician, Service Technician, X-ray Service Engineer
Robotics Technician, Manufacturing Production Technician, Avionics Technician, Electrical and Electronics Repairer-Commercial and Industrial Equipment, Aircraft Mechanic and Service Technician
The trade associations listed below represent organizations made up of people (members) who work and promote advancement in the field. Members are very interested in telling others about their work and about careers in those areas. As well, trade associations provide opportunities for organizational networking and learning more about the field’s trends and directions.
- American Association for Home Care - Through our HME Heroes program, AAHomecare and its members are capturing and evangelizing success stories of individual providers and health networks that have utilized HME services and products to reduce the cost of care and improve patients' lives. Tap into these stories.
- Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation - This is a diverse, non-profit community of more than 9,000 professionals united by one important mission—the development, management, and use of safe and effective health technology. AAMI is the primary source of consensus standards, both national and international, for the medical device industry, as well as practical information, support, and guidance for healthcare technology and sterilization professionals.
- National Association of Nephrology Technicians/Technologists - The NANT mission is to promote the highest quality of care for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients through education and professionalism.
Magazines and Publications
- Health Facilities Services Magazine
- Tech Nation Digital Magazine
- Medical Device News Magazine
- Medical Equipment 24x7 Magazine
- Health Tech Magazine
Keeping medical equipment accurate and in good working order…. is essential to conduct medical tests and operate life support systems… which makes the work of medical equipment repairers very important. Medical equipment repairers, also known as biomedical equipment technicians, install and repair equipment used in hospitals and medical offices… from patient monitors and defibrillators… to X-ray machines and electric wheelchairs. Repairers perform routine maintenance on sophisticated equipment, and when a machine malfunctions, they diagnose the problem… then adjust components with hand tools or modify the software in order to fix the issue. Some specialize in just a few specific machines while others work on a variety of equipment. Repairers must be comfortable working around patients, and may be exposed to health risks in medical facilities. The work can be time sensitive and stressful, as well as physically demanding. Repairs often involve lifting and carrying heavy objects or working in tight spaces. Most repairers work full time, and may be on-call evenings and weekends for urgent repairs. Those who work as contractors often travel to perform needed repairs. Most positions require an associate degree in biomedical equipment technology or engineering. For less-complicated equipment such as hospital beds or wheelchairs, repairers may learn entirely through on-the-job training, while repair work for equipment such as CAT scanners or defibrillators may require a bachelor’s degree.
Content retrieved from: US Bureau of Labor Statistics-OOH www.bls.gov/ooh,
CareerOneStop www.careeronestop.org, O*Net Online www.onetonline.org