The Rise of the B.S. Biomedical Engineering Technology Degree

For many years the technical needs of the hospital and physician’s office have been met by a group of professionals with the titles of Biomedical Equipment Technician, Biomedical Engineer or Clinical Engineer. With the exception of the Clinical Engineer these dedicated professionals typically were educated with an A.S. in BMET or at the excellent military Biomedical Equipment Technician training school. ( See DOD Biomedical Equipment Technician Training School ) Recently as a result of a shortage of properly trained BMET graduates with an A.S. in EET ( Electronic Engineering Technology) and significant hands on experience in other industries have been accepted at the position.

Historically the BMET maintained and managed a wide range of equipment ranging from the hospital gurnee to patient monitoring equipment. The position required hands on mechanical and electronics skills and continues to require them today. Advanced skills were obtained on the job through mentoring or training. Clinical Engineers typically managed the Clinical Engineering Department and had responsibility for hospital wide systems such as HVAC, electrical power systems and capital construction.

As time has passed the technical needs of the hospitals have mushroomed to a wider range and more complicated set of equipment, higher demands for physician and nurse training and the new demands for networked medical equipment including automated medical laboratories. Radio based communications equipment and its impact on medical instrumentation is a constant worry requiring knowledge in wireless communication. Increased training has filled in the gap. Although there are exceptional BMET’s that have made the transition the increased depth and breadth of knowledge needed has clearly surpassed the education that can be provided with the two year A.S. degree. One university identified this need and created a B.S. BMET degree to fill it four years ago.

Having decided to participate in the Century of Biology DeVry University executives charged its Academic Department with creating two biomedical programs. Attempting to leverage their successful Electronic Engineering Technology and Computer Information Systems programs the Academic Department personnel decided on pursuing the BMET related and healthcare information system related positions. This was the first time DeVry had attempted degrees with medical applications. Not having any experience in the field they did a thorough study of the BMET related positions and decided that a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering Technology was the appropriate degree. As a result they became the only educational institution to offer the B.S. in BMET in the United States in 2004. Their B.S. BMET programs were the only B.S. degrees accredited by the ABET, Inc. in 2007. No others existed at that time. An interested potential student can find the hiring statistics of their graduates at their website. At a recently reported 90% success rate the hiring statistics appear to support the decision to proceed with a B.S. level degree.

Following in DeVry’s footsteps other universities like Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) are in the process of creating their own equivalent B.S. level programs.


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