By Derick Davis
After my position at my previous job was closed, I decided it was time for a career change. I graduated from college years ago with a BBA in Finance, but finding a job in my field became increasingly difficult. For years, my brother-in-law had been telling me that I should look into starting a career in the biomedical field. He is currently an imaging technician with Aramark, and whenever I ask him, “How is work?” he always replies, “Great!!” I have always liked fixing things, so I did some research on the field, and what I found out is that this field offers several things that I have been looking for, which include:
1) Job stability: According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, it is predicted that the job growth in this field will be 10% to 14% over the next several years. In addition, the medical industry is constantly growing, and with our country’s population getting older and needing more health care, it requires personnel that are trained to maintain the equipment in the hospitals—and that is what biomeds are trained to do. Without this equipment functioning properly, hospitals cannot operate.
2) Earnings potential: The earnings potential for biomeds is very good compared to other career fields. Entry-level biomeds can start out around the mid 40s, and the pay scale goes higher with just a few years of experience.
3) Benefits are very good: Great medical insurance, 401(k), car allowances for those who travel, as well as a cell phone and a laptop are among some of things an employer provides to biomeds.
4) Satisfaction: My last position in sales was challenging, but not really satisfying. At the end of the day, who was I really helping besides the company? Being able to repair equipment that a hospital uses to treat patients is very rewarding, especially if you like helping others.
I found out that to become an entry-level biomedical technician it requires at least an AAS in Electronics, so I enrolled in the biomedical equipment training program at Texas State Technical College in Waco, Tex. It had been years since I was last in college, (before the Internet), so I am dating myself here. I wondered if I would be one of the oldest students in the class and thought that it would be awkward if I was. I found out that in today’s society that more middle-aged and older people are going back to school to increase their skill set. In my classes, the age group varies from students just out of high school to students who have grandchildren, so I fit right in. Also, at my age life has slowed down quite a bit from when I was in my 20s, so I have more time to focus on school.
With the Internet, there are sites to expand your network and manyresources that can help students be successful.
Today, there are so many resources out there that can help students be successful. Applying for financial aid is so much easier and can be done online, versus in the past, when you had to fill out long forms and wait for an answer in the mail. You can organize your class schedule with Microsoft Outlook or an online calendar that can e-mail you reminders when that next assignment is due, and classes are available online, so you can do your homework and tests anywhere there is a computer. Grades are posted online, so you know a lot quicker how you did on an exam versus waiting days or weeks for a teacher to grade papers. You can find answers to just about anything online quickly, whereas before you had to go to the library and spend countless hours going through books and periodicals. These things make it a lot easier to tailor school around one’s busy schedule.
What I really like about our school is the lab training that is provided where you get the “hands-on” experience of repairing equipment. Our professors have years of experience from working in the field and provide students with valuable insight and knowledge. The professors are extremely helpful as well as my fellow students. We have learned how to use oscilloscopes, digital multimeters, how to troubleshoot circuits, how to calibrate and perform safety tests on equipment, and how to perform routine periodical maintenance on equipment. Another great feature of the program is that you are placed in an internship before you graduate. This is a great way to get experience in a hospital and, often, interns are offered jobs once they complete the internship. With sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc, expanding your professional network has never been easier, and they can be great resources when it comes time to look for work.
If those of you currently in the biomedical field know of someone who is looking for a career change, or if they are in a dead end job, let them know about this great field and the opportunities it offers for both men and women. Also mention that they do not have to have a 4-year degree to get started in the field. A lot of people have gotten in with 2-year degrees and have gone on to have good careers in the field. 24×7 Soapbox December 2012
Derick Davis is a fifth-semester biomedical imaging student at Texas State Technical College in Waco, Tex, Class of 2013. For more information, contact the editor.