What is a Biomed?

Commonly called a “Biomed,” a Biomedical Equipment Technician (BMET) goes by many names. Among them are Clinical Engineer, BMET, Biomedical Engineer and Medical Equipment Repairer. We are the unsung heroes in hospitals and the HTM (Healthcare Technology Management) field in general. Many people have never even heard of a Biomed before you tell them what one is. The purpose of this page is to inform the average person on who we are and what we do.

According to 24×7 Magazine’s 2019 salary survey, the median pay in 2019 for a BMET I was $48,700 or approx. $23.41/hr. The vast majority of employers prefer at least an Associate’s Degree in Biomedical Equipment Technology/Electronics for entry-level postions; however with a largely aging workforce, predictions are that in the near future there will be more jobs than there are qualified technicians to fill them. This is predicted to create opportunity for individuals with transferrable skills.

See AAMI’s interactive map featuring nationwide training programs HERE.

The career field itself is also commonly called Biomed. “HTM” which stands for “Healthcare Technology Management” is another name for the career field.

AAMI’s HTM in a Box is designed to promote the HTM field.

Finally, this video shows some of the sights and sounds related to being in Biomed.

Certifications, Continuing Education & HTM Associations

The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) is the organization through which technicians obtain professional certifications. Certified Biomedical Equipment Technicians (CBET,) Certified Radiology Equipment Specialists (CRES,) and Certified Healthcare Technology Managers (CHTM’s) all maintain their professional certifications by acquiring CEU’s through educational classes, attending seminars/symposiums, online webinars, etc.

HTM Associations help facilitate the certification processes as well as create an environment for education, networking, and collaboration among HTM professionals. Many HTM associations put on symposiums where vendors and instructors provide educational classes to the attendees. The purpose is to stay current on trends and information as well as share information within the field. There’s also the added benefit of accruing CEU’s towards re-certification.

The CABMET annual symposium takes place every year in August, and we invite all those interested in the advancement of Biomedical Equipment Technology to attend.

The end goal is the improvement of patient care. Everything we do is for the benefit of the patients we serve.

Potential Career Paths

The below excerpt was taken from: “Journal of Clinical Engineering :: American College of Clinical Engineering :: Clinical Engineering Division; Walter Reed Army Medical Center” 

The biomedical engineering technician applies electrical, electronic, mechanical, chemical, optical, and other engineering principles to perform maintenance service, repairs and overhaul of all medical equipment and medical systems. Examples of equipment may include imaging, hemodialysis, physiological monitoring systems; EKG’s, EEG’s, physical therapy, lasers, sterilizers, dental equipment, etc. Due to the diversity of the equipment specialization is sometimes required.

The field of biomedical engineering is the application of engineering techniques in the solution of medical problems. The profession is interdisciplinary and combines technology and the life sciences.

RESPONSIBILITIES
The responsibilities of a BMET may include installation, calibration, inspection, preventive maintenance, and repair of biomedical and related technical equipment. Additional responsibilities may include operation of equipment, equipment control and safety. In research facilities, BMETs may also be involved in the modification of equipment.

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
Most BMETs are employed by hospitals, clinics, research labs, medical equipment manufacturers, and service organizations.

PREPARATION
The requirement to become a BMET is generally the completion of a 2-year BMET program leading to an Associate of Science (AS) degree from an accredited institution. All accredited institutions that offer an AS in BME (Biomedical Engineering) provide instruction in both engineering technology (traditionally electrical engineering and computer engineering) and the life sciences (specifically human anatomy & physiology). In addition, BMETs need effective oral and written communication skills. To be effective, BMETs must know the relevant codes and standards that apply to both biomedical equipment and to healthcare facilities.

RELATED PROFESSIONALS
A Clinical Engineer is a professional who supports and advances patient care by applying engineering and management skills to healthcare technology. Clinical Engineers manage personnel, finances, instrumentation and projects to promote the safe and cost-effective application of technology. Such a person while having an administrative function also participates professionally with physicians, nurses, administrators, and other personnel of a healthcare facility. The preparation requires at least a 4-year degree (Bachelor of Science) in engineering with significant knowledge in physiology, medicine, and clinical care of patients. Clinical Engineers are heads of most clinical/biomedical engineering departments of healthcare facilities. Clinical Engineers who work in a healthcare facility are sometimes also referred to as Biomedical Engineers.

A Biomedical Engineer applies electrical, mechanical, chemical, optical, and other engineering principles to understand, modify, or control biologic (i.e., human and animal) systems, as well as design and manufacture products that can monitor physiologic functions and assist in the diagnosis and treatment of patients. The Biomedical Engineer usually works in a corporate or university setting in the design and development of devices applicable to living organisms. The preparation requires at least a 4-year degree (Bachelor of Science), although most Biomedical Engineers in university settings hold a post-graduate degree.

Generalized Job Descriptions

Jr. BMET: Biomedical Equipment Technician I
An entry-level or junior BMET. Works under close supervision. Performs skilled work on preventive maintenance, repair, safety testing, and recording functional test data. Not certified. Usually has less than four years of experience.

BMET: Biomedical Equipment Technician II
A BMET who usually has an AS (2-year) degree or higher and several years of related or equivalent experience. Has good knowledge of schematics and works independently on repairs, safety testing and preventive maintenance (PM). Maintains records, writes reports, and coordinates outside repairs. Average experience is eight years.

Sr. BMET: Biomedical Equipment Technician III
A highly experienced or specialized BMET usually having an AS (2-year) degree or higher. Has substantial experience and may be certified (CBET). Does highly skilled work of considerable difficulty. Has comprehensive knowledge of practices, procedures, and types of equipment. Average experience is twelve years.

Equipment Specialist: Lab Equipment Specialist (LES) or Radiology Equipment Specialist (RES)
A highly specialized BMET having special training, or equivalent experience in lab equipment (LES) or radiology equipment (RES). Usually has an AS (2-year) degree or higher. Performs highly skilled work of considerable difficulty and many hold certifications as CLES or CRES.

BMET Supervisor
A BMET who supervisors others. Has a significant amount of training or education or equivalent experience. Most have a BS (4-year) degree or higher. Schedules and assigns work to subordinates, but also continues to do highly skilled repairs. Has comprehensive knowledge of practices, procedures, and types of equipment. Average experience is thirteen years.

Clinical Engineer
A graduate engineer holding a BS, MS or PhD. Performs engineering-level work of considerable difficulty. Has the ability to modify devices, and do analysis of devices and systems.

Director/Department Manager
Most are educated or experienced as clinical engineers (CE) or BMETs, but others may be trained in administration or business or have extensive healthcare supervisory experience. Most have a significant amount of technical or management experience, and have the skills to select high-tech equipment, and acquire, maintain, and repair equipment. Supervisors BMETs, CEs and support personnel. May also be the Chief Technology Officer or Vice President for Healthcare Technology.

Opportunity abounds in Biomed!