Biomedical Equipment Technician (BMET)
By Allison Skoglind, allied health world contributing writer
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What is biomedical engineering technology?
More than ever before the American medical community is determined to prolong both the quality of life and life expectancy of the word’s citizens. To accommodate this demand, the medical community is constantly researching and introducing new medical technologies that effectively create superior cutting edge instruments and devices to assist in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of countless medical conditions. Not surprisingly, there is a large number of health care, medical, and engineering professionals needed to work collectively in the research, development, manufacturing, maintenance and administration of such innovative technologies and tools. As a result, what were once considered highly specialized occupations are now quickly growing and gaining enough definition to become independent disciplines. An example of one of these emerging occupations is biomedical engineering.
Just as biomedical engineering was once identified as a subfield, there are nearly a dozen interdisciplinary subfields associated with the broader field of biomedical engineering. Currently, the Biomedical Engineering Society has recognized these specialized areas of biomedical engineering:
- Orthopedic bioengineering
- Medical imaging
- Systems physiology
- Clinical engineering
- Rehabilitation engineering
- Cellular, tissue, and genetic engineering
Yet additional specializations under the biomedical engineering umbrella like bionics, biomechatronics, bionanotechnology, pharmaceutical engineering, and neural engineering are also evolving.
What is a biomedical equipment technician?
Biomedical equipment technicians or BMETs often operate under a number of different but similar sounding titles including biomedical technician, biomedical engineering technologist, biomedical technician, biomedical engineering technician, biomedical electronics technician, and medical equipment technician.
BMETs are responsible for installing and maintaining medical devices for health care service providers, and training medical staff in the use of these machines. Although these are among the major functions taught in biomedical technician schools, the distinction may blur at times between the specific tasks performed by these tech-savvy professionals and the more research and development oriented biomedical engineers.
Biomedical engineers typically hold PhDs or master of science degrees and are responsible for researching, designing, and developing medical devices such as pacemakers, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines, artificial organs and limbs, dialysis machines, corrective lenses, ocular prosthetics, infusion pumps, and cochlear implants. Biomedical equipment technicians generally hold associate of science or bachelor of science degrees and are largely dedicated to installing testing, adjusting, and maintaining these devices.
What is a biomedical engineer?
As the name suggests, a biomedical engineer is a professional that infuses knowledge derived from biological, medical, engineering, and technology sciences to research, and create, electronic and mechanical apparatuses designed to improve and promote health for patients. Right now the field of biomedical engineering is progressing so quickly that there is virtually no limit to the kinds of work that biomedical engineers can be involved in. Some of the specific work activities that are typically associated with biomedical engineers, according to the Biomedical Engineering Society, include developing and researching the benefits and functioning of artificial organs, automated patient monitoring, sports medicine, blood chemistry sensors, biomechanics of injury and wound healing, advanced therapeutic and surgical devices, application of expert systems and artificial intelligence to clinical decision-making, biomaterials design, medical imaging systems, design of optimal clinical laboratories, and the computer modeling of physiologic systems.
Biomedical Technician Schools
- Multi-Skill Health Technician
- Certificate in Patient Care Technician
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- Dialysis Technician