By Mike Barragan
Ask BMETs what they do on the job, and they’ll most likely tell you that they’re problem-solvers. After all, these healthcare technicians are responsible for keeping medical devices up and running – and at the ready for patient diagnosis and treatment.
Does that sound like a potential career path for you? If so, the timing is perfect due to a shortage of talent needed to fill non-clinical healthcare roles today – with much opportunity to grow in the years to come.
What is a BMET?
BMET stands for biomedical equipment technician. While the role primarily focuses on maintaining and repairing medical equipment, there’s much more to this career path than you might think. To start, the job comes with immediate growth opportunities, room for specialization, and support of patient care and safety without having to be on the clinical side of treatment. While an important duty is being on call to fix a device when it’s not working properly, an equally important responsibility is conducting critical preventive care to meet regulatory requirements that ensure patient safety. In a hospital, medical technology is generally the second largest expenditure, so keeping it optimized is critical.
BMETs (also often called “biomeds”) work with a variety of medical machines, from patient monitors to ventilators, from ultrasound instruments to x-ray equipment. Beyond just caring for the equipment, these technicians also educate nurses and other medical staff members on how to operate these devices safely and correctly. The potential trajectories for a BMET career are endless, and you can explore many current open roles on our Far West Staffing Services Jobs Page.
What are the requirements to become a BMET?
Whether you’re a recent high school graduate or are ready for a mid-career job change, the BMET field can be more readily accessible than other medical careers, particularly in direct patient care. For starters, you’ll need at least an associate’s degree, which takes about two years (bonus points if the degree is in biomed, engineering technology or a related discipline). There are many programs to earn this degree (or apprenticeship of equal value) online, and the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation, the industry’s advocacy group, is a great resource for learning more about how to get started. If you already hold an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, this step might not be necessary, but you’ll benefit from reviewing the basic curriculum before you begin applying for jobs. In some cases, having a bachelor’s degree can expedite the process of becoming a specialist in a certain type of machinery.
Once you’ve met degree requirements, the next step is to get some hands-on experience working with the equipment. At Far West, our team is happy to advise potential candidates on how to best obtain this experience, and in some cases, it might be on-the-job training in a temporary role or in a depot equipment repair location.
Becoming a BMET can open a lifelong journey of learning. Once you’ve entered the field, you’ll find opportunities to pursue additional certifications and training. Given that this is a technology-focused career path, you’ll need to keep up to date with the ever-changing equipment and environment. With experience, you’ll become a point person for other team members and educate them on the ongoing updates in the field.
What are the levels of BMET?
BMET I is the entry-level job for those wishing to start a career in Healthcare Technology Management (HTM). During these early industry years, technicians learn the ropes and gain hands-on experience under careful supervision. The more dedicated you are in this phase of your career, the easier your job will be down the road.
From there, you can advance to BMET II. These roles are often reserved for confident, independent workers who have logged hundreds of hours under the proper supervision as a BMET I. As they master new competencies, technicians find plenty of room for growth, including many certifications and additional training.
BMET III is the most senior role on this professional path before becoming a specialist, supervisor or manager. Most hiring managers are looking for candidates with proven experience, coupled with training. These veteran technicians are well-versed in HTM practices and procedures, as well as strong team leaders; they often perform the most highly skilled work on the most complex devices.
How can you thrive in a BMET career?
The rule of thumb we like to say when it comes to thriving in a BMET career is to JKL: Just keep learning! The more training, certifications and specialties you can invest in now, the more value you’ll bring to your employer, which will ultimately lead to improving the patient’s care and experience overall. Some areas of specialization include life support devices, diagnostics machinery, surgical instruments, anesthesia and patient monitoring systems. Experienced BMETs also contribute unparalleled insight into the overall health of a hospital’s medical technology and provide informed recommendations on where capital dollars should be best invested.
The hard skills required to be a great BMET can be taught on the job or through training, but the soft skills matter a lot too. Expect to be surprised daily, know how to keep cool in stressful situations, find new ways to be resourceful and always be a team player.
Ready to get started?
Today’s modern medical care would not (and could not) exist without highly capable BMETs. In this field, BMETs take care of the equipment that providers use to take care of their patients. While a BMET doesn’t directly touch the patient, their work in keeping HTM humming plays a critical role in patient lives and livelihoods. If you love problem-solving, working with your hands, keeping up with the latest technology and caring for patients in a non-clinical way, this could be the perfect career for you.
Contact Mike Barragan to learn how to become a BMET today.