Program Spotlight: BMET

High-demand, high-salary career in healthcare technology management field

The Biomedical Equipment Technology program at Dakota County Technical College prepares you to work in the healthcare technology management (HTM) field as a biomedical equipment technician, or BMET. You will be trained to test the performance and operating characteristics of medical electronic/electromechanical equipment of moderate to high complexity to ensure compliance with established performance and safety standards.

As a student in the program, you will have the opportunity earn a 70-credit Biomedical Equipment Technology Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree or a 27-credit Biomedical Equipment Technology certificate.

As a program graduate, you will be qualified to maintain equipment found in hospitals and medical centers. Other work environments include clinics, universities, equipment manufacturers and contract service providers. You will generally work indoors and some travel may be required. BMETs work with medical professionals at all levels to assure the safe and effective use of sophisticated medical devices.

Travis Ahlquist, the BMET program’s lead instructor, reported that biomedical equipment technicians are always an essential component when delivering first-rate medical treatment and services—even more so during the current global novel coronavirus crisis.

“As additional ICU equipment, including ventilators and infusion pumps, becomes more and more necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic, the role of the BMET is critical in ensuring the highest level of patient care in our healthcare systems,” Travis said.

BMET Instructor: Travis Ahlquist

Travis Ahlquist serves as the lead instructor in the college’s Biomedical Equipment Technology program. Travis began teaching at DCTC in 2012; he brings a wealth of professional knowledge and expertise to his classroom and labs.

Travis Ahlquist

Travis has more than eight years of experience working as a biomedical equipment technician (BMET). He served for more than 10 years in a BMET managerial role, first at Park Nicollet Health Services overseeing the Biomedical Engineering department, and then at Allina Hospitals & Clinics supervising Clinical Equipment Services.

Travis holds a B.A. in Business Management from Bethel University. He also earned an A.A.S. in Electronics Technology and an A.A.S. in Biomedical Technology, both degrees from Southeast Technical Institute.

Travis achieved ICC Certification for the Biomedical Equipment Technician. According to the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI): “ICC Certification for the Biomedical Equipment Technician (BMET) is a formal recognition by the International Certification Commission for Clinical Engineering and Biomedical Technology (ICC) that individuals have demonstrated excellence in theoretical as well as practical knowledge of the principles of biomedical equipment technology.”

Teaching philosophy: “My goal is making sure my students are proud to have graduated from a challenging and rewarding program. Knowing that we are tasked with preparing students to be the best candidates to fill high-demand positions in a critical healthcare career field is the best part of my job as BMET instructor at DCTC.”

Travis has belonged to the Junior Chamber International (JCI) for more than 26 years, serving as USA national president and a certified national trainer. When he’s not teaching or serving as a Jaycee, he enjoys camping, traveling and spending time with his family.

What Medical Equipment Repairers Do¹

Medical equipment repairers install, maintain, and repair patient care equipment.

Duties

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.

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Medical Equipment Repairers

Adjust or fix medical equipment.
WAGE

This career pays above the statewide median of $21.49/hour

Minnesota

Median: $23.97/hour
High: $31.72/hour

Seven-county Twin Cities metro

Median: $23.53/hour
High: $30.29/hour

OUTLOOK

This career is currently in high demand. This career is seeing very high growth compared to other careers. Growth rate is 3.8 percent.

There will be a need for about 1,116 new Medical Equipment Repairers to meet market demand between 2016–2026. This includes the demand due to replacement (workers leaving the occupation or retiring) as well as growth.

Medical Equipment Repairers often work in the following industries:
  • Ambulatory Health Care Services
  • Hospitals
  • Repair and Maintenance
  • Merchant Wholesalers, Durable Goods
  • Wholesale Electronic Markets and Agents and Brokers
Job title examples:
  • Radiology Service Engineer
  • Biomedical Equipment Technician (BMET)
  • Biomedical Equipment Specialist
  • Durable Medical Equipment Technician (DME Tech)
  • Field Service Technician

Minnesota State CAREERwise Education

$2,500 Workforce Development Scholarship

Scholarship amount: $2,500 per year • $1,250 each fall and spring semester

Scholarship can be used for DCTC programs, including Biomedical Equipment Technology, leading to high-demand careers.

SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION

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BMET Alumnus perspective: Hans Gunderson

Hans Gunderson


Hans graduated from DCTC in 2020. He works as a biomedical equipment technician (BMET) at United Hospital in St. Paul.

“We missed a portion of one of our more hands-on courses, but our instructor adjusted our curriculum in a way that allowed us to grasp the information well through PowerPoint and instructional videos,” Hans said. “I repair, calibrate and maintain general medical equipment to include IV pumps, sequential compression devices, pulse oximeters, etc. My role has not changed much due to the pandemic aside from an initial lull in broken equipment due to the cancellation of elective surgeries. This has normalized now.”

Hans added that the pandemic has brought additional changes to the BMET work routine, including the use of masks and the extra precautions taken to sterilize equipment before and after repair and maintenance.


Learn more about Biomedical Equipment Technology at DCTC by contacting:

Travis Ahlquist
Biomedical Equipment Technology Faculty
651-423-8378
BIO

Natalie Shrestha
Academic and Financial Aid Advisor
651-423-8537
BIO


¹ Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Medical Equipment Repairers (visited July 30, 2020)