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Biomedical Technician

Kaihangarau Utauta Whakaora

Alternative titles for this job

Biomedical technicians make, modify, maintain and repair mechanical and electronic medical equipment such as clinical machines, surgical instruments and implants.

Pay

Biomedical technicians with one to six years' experience usually earn

$36K-$48K per year

Biomedical technicians with more than six years' experience usually earn

$48K-$85K per year

Source: PSA and DHB, 'Collective Agreement', 2017.

Job opportunities

Chances of getting a job as a biomedical technician are good due to a shortage of workers.

Pay

Pay for biomedical technicians varies depending on their qualifications and experience. 

  • Trainee biomedical technicians usually start on the minimum wage.
  • Biomedical technicians with one to six years' experience usually earn $36,000 to $48,000 a year.
  • Biomedical technicians with more than six years' experience usually earn $48,000 to $85,000.

Source: Public Service Association and Auckland Region District Health Boards, 'Allied, Public Health and Technical Multi-Employer Collective Agreement to 06 October 2017', 2017.

 

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)

What you will do

Biomedical technicians may do some or all of the following:

  • advise and consult with medical staff about their equipment requirements
  • make surgical equipment and tools
  • install and test medical equipment
  • examine, maintain and repair equipment
  • do quality assurance and electrical safety checks on equipment
  • train staff to use equipment and give technical advice and assistance
  • help design and develop implants for use during operations – for example, artificial joints.

Skills and knowledge

Biomedical technicians need to have:

  • knowledge of medical equipment, its use and care
  • knowledge of biomedical technology
  • practical skills in mechanics, engineering, electronics and testing equipment
  • a basic understanding of physiology and medical terms.

Working conditions

Biomedical technicians:

  • work regular business hours, but may be on call
  • work in hospital workshops, clinics, and departments.

What's the job really like?

Phillip Start

Phillip Start

Biomedical Technician (Electronic)

Keeping the hospital equipment running

"Most of the time we do preventive maintenance. We've got a whole variety of equipment around the hospital like infusion pumps, defibrillators and cardiac monitors. Every piece of equipment gets tested annually.

"A lot of repair work is actually about problem solving – pulling out a service manual and pinpointing where a fault lies."

Life-and-death situations

"We can also be faced with life-and-death situations. For example, when a ventilator breaks down doctors and nurses will ring us. We can't fix it on the spot, because you can't say, "Can that patient wait half an hour – I need to fix it." We swap it over, and then get it repaired.

"There is a lot of teamwork in this job. The senior biomeds show you how to service common faults in the equipment. And if the equipment has an electronic and a mechanical breakdown, we'll work with the mechanical division to co-ordinate the repairs."

Entry requirements

To become a biomedical technician you need one of the following:

  • New Zealand Diploma of Engineering (in electrical, electronic or mechanical engineering)
  • Bachelor of Engineering Technology.

Biomedical technicians who are registered as electrical service technicians must take a refresher course every two years to keep their licence up to date.

Secondary education

NCEA Level 2 is required to enter tertiary training. Useful subjects include biology, construction and mechanical technologies, design and visual communication, digital technologies, mathematics and physics.

Personal requirements

Biomedical technicians need to be:

  • careful, methodical, well organised and responsible
  • practical and logical
  • able to work without direct supervision and show initiative
  • customer-focused and mindful of patients' rights and comfort
  • good communicators
  • skilled at analysis and problem-solving
  • good with computers.

Coming in from an electronics background – I really needed to learn about the medical equipment itself. I learnt the trade on the job. I like challenges so I thought I'd take it up.

Photo: Phillip Start

Phillip Start

Biomedical Technician (Electronic)

Useful experience

Useful experience for biomedical technicians includes:

  • work with a medical equipment company
  • mechanical, electrical and engineering work
  • computer work. 

Physical requirements

Biomedical technicians need to have good hand-eye co-ordination and normal colour vision.

Registration

Biomedical technicians who work with electrical and electronic equipment need to be registered as electrical service technicians with the Electrical Workers Registration Board, or work towards this once they are employed. They also need an annual practising licence.

Experienced biomedical technicians can apply to the Engineering Associates Registration Board to become a registered engineering associate.

Find out more about training

Institute of Professional Engineers NZ (IPENZ)
(04) 473 9444 - ipenz@ipenz.org.nz - www.ipenz.org.nz
Check out related courses

What are the chances of getting a job?

Demand for biomedical technicians is rising due to:

  • experienced staff often leaving for better paid positions overseas
  • not enough people training to be biomedical technicians
  • an ageing population with more health problems
  • increasing use of sophisticated medical devices in the health industry.

Most biomedical technicians work for hospitals

About two-thirds of biomedical technicians work for district health boards. Others work for:

  • private hospitals
  • equipment suppliers in the private sector.

Sources

  • Auckland Bioengineering Institute website, accessed June 2017, (www.abi.auckland.ac.nz).
  • Canterbury District Health Board Careers website, accessed June 2017, (www.cdhbcareers.co.nz).
  • Counties Manukau Health, '2015 Health Workforce Report', accessed June 2017, (www.countiesmanukau.health.nz).
  • Engineering Education to Employment, 'Our Shortfall in ITP-Educated Engineers', June 2017, (engineeringe2e.org.nz).
  • Futureintech website, accessed June 2017, (www.futureintech.org.nz).
  • IPENZ Engineers New Zealand, 'Demand Drives Surging Salaries for Engineers', accessed June 2017, (www.ipenz.nz).
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 'Occupation Outlook Engineering Professionals', accessed June 2017, (www.mbie.govt.nz).
  • University of Canterbury Centre for Bioengineering website, accessed June 2017, (www.bioengineering.canterbury.ac.nz).

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)

Progression and specialisations

Biomedical technicians can progress into managerial or biomedical engineering positions.

A biomedical technician tests a circuit board

Biomedical technicians test medical equipment for safety

Last updated 14 December 2017