If you like working with machines as much as you like working with people,
a career in biomedical engineering technology may be a perfect fit.
A biomedical engineering technologist or technician works with doctors
and biomedical engineers to use, maintain, troubleshoot or repair biomedical
equipment -- like a heart pacemaker, an X-ray machine or a machine needed
in experiments on DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid).
Most biomedical engineering technology programs (also called biomedical
equipment technician programs) are only two years long, but you can
expect to upgrade your training throughout your career.
You may want to check if a program is geared toward certification in
Certification is formal recognition by the International Certification
Commission for Clinical Engineering and Biomedical Technology (ICC). It tests
technicians on theoretical and practical knowledge of the principles of biomedical
equipment technology specialties in a written exam.
Typical courses in this program include technical communication, algebra,
calculus, statistics, organic chemistry, biochemistry, analytical chemistry,
human anatomy and physiology, biophysics, and electricity and electronics.
Throughout the program, students get hands-on laboratory experience
and training in engineering problem-solving methodology.
Many programs have an internship component to provide on-the-job
training. Bruce Duncan, coordinator of biomedical engineering at a hospital,
supervises the internships of many biomedical engineering technology students.
He says the program is a busy one, with 35 hours per week of classes and
labs, "compared to about half that at a university. The students' time is
very fully occupied. There is somewhat less independent study than is expected
in a university program."
The program requires high school physics and chemistry as well as lots
of math and English. Anthony Chan, director of a biomedical engineering
technology program, adds that extracurricular activities using computers,
electronics or hand tools would be useful as well.
In addition to tuition, students can expect to pay about $1,000 for
books and supplies during each of the two years. Supplies include simple
hand tools and electronic parts for labs.
Students are also encouraged to join professional associations in their
state. A fee is charged for membership.
Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Installation,
Maintenance and Repair Occupations
Biomedical Engineering Network
Offers resources, information on jobs, grants and more
What is Biomedical Research?
Learn more about the topic from the Foundation for Biomedical