Biomedical equipment repair program provides alternative avenue to medical field
10.30.2015 | By Andrea Vasquez
Houston is home to the largest medical center in the world, comprised of 21 hospitals, 14 support organizations, 10 academic institutions, and three public health organizations, just to name a few. Medical equipment repair technicians are an essential necessity to this innovative medical metropolis. San Jacinto College has been addressing the industry’s need for qualified technicians through its biomedical equipment repair technology program.
Now in its second year, the biomedical equipment repair technology program prepares students to work on machines that are in hospitals, doctors’ offices, operating rooms, physical therapy facilities, and a variety of other medical field settings. Aside from running maintenance diagnostic testing on the medical equipment, technicians also repair and install equipment, and train medical professionals at all levels on how to use new machinery. The biomedical equipment repair technology program also provides quality training in the computer and electronics technology areas that are most widely used in medical equipment operation and repair.
“I honestly didn’t even know this was a career in the medical field until I was looking at the San Jacinto College course catalog,” said 55-year-old biomedical equipment repair student Joseph Watson. Like Watson, 39-year-old Curtis Brown also hadn’t heard of the career itself, but was eager to enroll in the program. “I’ve worked at Houston Methodist Hospital years ago as a patient transporter, and I’ve always wanted to get back into working in a hospital setting so I think this will be a way for me to do that.”
The same can be said for students Ivan Verduzco, 20, and Mohammed Ali, 21, both of whom entered the program coming from health science programs. “I’ve always known that I wanted to be in Houston’s medical industry,” said Verduzco, a former piano technician. “At first I planned to major in nursing, but I realized that the technical side is really what I’m good at. When I looked into this program, I knew it would be a great fit.” Ali, previously pursuing a pharmacy associate degree, thought there was something missing in his career aspirations and found that piece in the biomedical equipment repair program. “I want to be in the medical field, and I like working with computers, so when I found this program at San Jacinto College, I decided to pursue this field.”
The program has made strides in the biomedical equipment repair industry, providing students with internship opportunities to get a real-world feel of working in the medical industry. Last semester, both Watson and Brown did internships at St. Joseph Medical Center. “Once you’re working in the hospital environment, you see firsthand how rewarding this career field is,” said Watson. “We’re behind the scenes helping the lifesavers save lives.”
Another aspect of work experience students receive is through collaboration with other departments on campus. Biomedical equipment repair technology students have repaired equipment used in the cosmetology salon, nursing, and physical therapy classes.
“We do a lot of work with circuitry and computers,” said Brown. “Electrical safety is one of the most important things we learn. The more work you do, the more your confidence level builds, and you feel comfortable learning about and working on newer machines.”
Biomedical equipment repair program instructor, Michael Brown, says that the best part of preparing these new technicians is seeing them get their foot in the door. “Our program is one of the most unique medical field training programs in the Houston area,” said Brown. “Industry is picking up on the fact that we’re training students for these jobs, so when I find out that they’re getting jobs, I know I’ve done my job.”
The biomedical equipment repair technology program has three technical certificate options available and an associate of applied science degree option. Professionals with an associate degree and at least two years of work experience can become a certified biomedical equipment technician (CBET) through the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI). According to the Texas Workforce Commission, technicians in the Gulf Coast region can earn an average of $24.13 an hour and $50,183 annually.
For more information on San Jacinto College’s biomedical equipment repair technology program, visit sanjac.edu/career/biomedical-equipment-repair-technology.
Pictured above: Joseph Watson (left) and Curtis Brown (right). Photo credit: Andrea Vasquez, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations and government affairs department.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.