Healthcare Technology Management (HTM) Week • May 16–23, 2021
Students in the Biomedical Equipment Technology program at Dakota County Technical College are trained to work in the field of healthcare technology management (HTM) as biomedical equipment technicians, more commonly known as BMETs.
As a student in the program, you will learn 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 BMET program graduate, you will be qualified to maintain critical medical equipment found in a variety of healthcare settings, including:
- Medical centers
- Research universities
- Contract service providers
- Biomedical equipment manufacturers
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 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.
BMETs 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.
Healthcare Technology Management (HTM) Week, May 16–23, 2021, promotes awareness of—and appreciation for—the critical work of professionals who manage and maintain the vast assortment of health technology found in healthcare delivery organizations.
This year’s events are planned by AAMI’s Technology Management Council (TMC) to show appreciation for the heroic and selfless work of HTM Professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
More about BMETs…
Biomedical equipment technicians work with medical professionals at all levels to assure the safe and effective use of sophisticated medical devices. According to Minnesota State CAREERwise Education, typical BMET work tasks include:
- Interpreting blueprints, specifications, or diagrams to inform installation, development or operation activities
- Reading technical information needed to perform maintenance or repairs
- Calculating requirements for equipment installation or repair projects
- Determining types of equipment, tools, or materials needed for jobs
- Inspecting mechanical equipment to locate damage, defects, or wear
- Testing mechanical equipment to ensure proper functioning
- Testing mechanical systems to ensure proper functioning
- Maintaining repair or maintenance records
- Monitoring work areas or procedures to ensure compliance with safety procedures
- Lubricating equipment to allow proper functioning
Typical working conditions promote:
- Freedom to make decisions without supervision
- Having face-to-face discussions
- Working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions
- The importance of being accurate or exact
- Using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools, or controls
- Dealing with external customers
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job as a BMET?
“Knowing what you are doing is allowing the patient care staff to provide the best care for each patient. Our work helps save lives.”
Healthcare Engineer (BMET)
Mayo Clinic and Saint Marys Hospital
2002 Dakota County Technical College Graduate
BMET Faculty: 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 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.
Sean Tupper: BMET perspective…
A 2002 DCTC graduate, Sean Tupper was hired by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, as a computer network support technician in Equipment Services at Saint Marys Hospital.
Sean’s work put him in contact with biomedical equipment technicians in the hospital’s Healthcare Technical Management (HTM)–BioMed department. Also called BMETs, the technicians explained their role at the hospital servicing an array of medical equipment, a crucial component of patient care.
“I decided that the job would be a good fit for me,” Sean said. “I was able to change my career without changing employers, changing where I live or getting more education.”
Thanks to his networking knowledge and experience, Sean made a smooth transition to his new job. In a month, he was already on call to service patient monitoring equipment. He is certified to do warranty work on Philips biomedical equipment.
“My job title was recently changed to healthcare engineer,” Sean said. “We do all our repair work in-house at Saint Marys. Our department is always looking for qualified techs. The demand for healthcare engineers is very strong.”
Sean Tupper • Q & A
What advice would you give students considering biomed technician as a career path?
Biomed tech is a rewarding occupation with large growth potential and good starting pay.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job as a BMET?
The patient care team not only depends on data from the devices we maintain, but also relies on and trusts our BioMed group, knowing we are there to support them.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job as a BMET?
Knowing what you are doing is allowing the patient care staff to provide the best care for each patient. Our work helps save lives.
Medical Equipment Repairers
Adjust or fix medical equipment.
Above the statewide median of $21.49/hour.
Seven-county Twin Cities metro
In Minnesota, there are 1,270 workers employed in this small career, which is currently in very high demand and seeing high growth compared to other careers. Growth rate in Minnesota is 8.1 percent. There will be a need for about 1,001 new Medical Equipment Repairers to meet market demand between 2018–2028. This includes the demand due to replacement (workers leaving the occupation or retiring) as well as growth.
Job title examples:
- Radiology Service Engineer
- Biomedical Equipment Technician (BMET)
- Biomedical Equipment Specialist
- Durable Medical Equipment Technician (DME Tech)
- Field Service Technician
Learn more about Biomedical Equipment Technology at DCTC by contacting:
Biomedical Equipment Technology Faculty
Academic and Financial Aid Advisor