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Career and Education Opportunities for Medical Equipment Technicians in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for medical equipment technicians in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area. There are currently 480 working medical equipment technicians in Tennessee; this should grow 17% to about 560 working medical equipment technicians in the state by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for medical equipment technicians are expected to grow by about 12.8%. In general, medical equipment technicians prepare, sterilize, or clean laboratory or healthcare equipment.

A person working as a medical equipment technician can expect to earn about $13 per hour or $27,130 per year on average in Tennessee and about $13 per hour or $28,410 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Medical equipment technicians earn more than people working in the category of Medical and Dental Assistance generally in Tennessee and less than people in the Medical and Dental Assistance category nationally. People working as medical equipment technicians can fill a number of jobs, such as: laboratory equipment cleaner, case cart technician, and material reprocessing associate .

The Chattanooga area is home to twenty schools of higher education, including four within twenty-five miles of Chattanooga where you can get a degree as a medical equipment technician. Given that the most common education level for medical equipment technicians is a high school diploma or GED, you can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a medical equipment technician if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Medical Equipment Technician

Medical Equipment Technician video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, medical equipment technicians prepare, sterilize, or clean laboratory or healthcare equipment. They also may perform routine laboratory tasks and operate or inspect equipment.

Medical equipment technicians clean instruments to ready them for sterilization. They also report faulty apparatus to appropriate supervisors or staff. Equally important, medical equipment technicians have to record sterilizer test results. They are often called upon to operate and maintain steam autoclaves, keeping records of loads completed, items in loads, and maintenance procedures performed. They are expected to attend hospital in-service programs pertaining to areas of work specialization. Finally, medical equipment technicians examine apparatus to uncover leaks, worn or loose parts, or other indications of disrepair.

Every day, medical equipment technicians are expected to be able to evaluate problems as they arise. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they see details at a very fine level of focus.

It is important for medical equipment technicians to start apparatus and observe gauges and apparatus operation to uncover malfunctions and to insure apparatus is operating to prescribed standards. They are often called upon to maintain records of inventory and apparatus usage. They also disinfect and sterilize apparatus such as respirators and oxygen and dialysis apparatus, using sterilizers and washers. They are sometimes expected to purge wastes from apparatus by connecting apparatus to water sources and flushing water through systems. Somewhat less frequently, medical equipment technicians are also expected to organize and assemble routine and specialty surgical instrument trays and other sterilized supplies, filling special requests as needed.

Medical equipment technicians sometimes are asked to examine apparatus to uncover leaks, worn or loose parts, or other indications of disrepair. And finally, they sometimes have to record sterilizer test results.

Like many other jobs, medical equipment technicians must be thorough and dependable and believe in cooperation and coordination.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chattanooga include:

  • Dental Assistant. Assist dentist, set up patient and equipment, and keep records.
  • Medical Assistant. Perform administrative and certain clinical duties under the direction of physician. Administrative duties may include scheduling appointments, maintaining medical records, billing, and coding for insurance purposes. Clinical duties may include taking and recording vital signs and medical histories, preparing patients for examination, drawing blood, and administering medications as directed by physician.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Medical Equipment Technician Training

Northwestern Technical College - Rock Spring, GA

Northwestern Technical College, 265 Bicentennial Trail, Rock Spring, GA 30739. Northwestern Technical College is a small college located in Rock Spring, Georgia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,335 students. Northwestern Technical College has a one to two year program in Medical/Clinical Assistant which graduated ten students in 2008.

Miller-Motte Technical College-Chattanooga - Chattanooga, TN

Miller-Motte Technical College-Chattanooga, 6020 Shallowford Road Suite 100, Chattanooga, TN 37421. Miller-Motte Technical College-Chattanooga is a small college located in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 603 students and an admission rate of 93%. Miller-Motte Technical College-Chattanooga has an associate's degree program in Allied Health and Medical Assisting Services, Other Specialties which graduated forty-nine students in 2008.

Dalton State College - Dalton, GA

Dalton State College, 650 College Drive, Dalton, GA 30720-3797. Dalton State College is a small college located in Dalton, Georgia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 4,892 students. Dalton State College has a one to two year program in Medical/Clinical Assistant which graduated twenty students in 2008.

Virginia College-School of Business and Health - Chattanooga, TN

Virginia College-School of Business and Health, 721 Eastgate Loop Rd., Chattanooga, TN 37411. Virginia College-School of Business and Health is a small college located in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 562 students and an admission rate of 91%. Virginia College-School of Business and Health has a one to two year program in Medical/Clinical Assistant which graduated seven students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Flexible Endoscope Reprocessor: The CBSPD is committed to the certification of healthcare sterile processing and distribution personnel regardless of their workplace setting.

For more information, see the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution website.

Biomedical Electronics Technician: Biomedical electronics technicians are expected to obtain knowledge of the principles of modern biomedical techniques, the proper procedure in the care, handling and maintenance of biomedical equipment and to display an attitude/behavior expected of an electronics technician who works in a hospital or healthcare environment.

For more information, see the ETA International website.

Certified Registered Central Service Technician: The Association's certification programs are the most highly recognized for quality and comprehensiveness within the healthcare industry.

For more information, see the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management website.

LICENSES

RESPIRATORY CARE ASSISTANT

Licensing agency: Council on Respiratory Care
Address: Division of Health Related Boards, Department of Health, Cordell Hull Bldg 1st Floor, 425 Fifth Av North, Nashville, TN 37247-1010

Phone: (615) 367-6393
Website: Council on Respiratory Care Division of Health Related Boards Department of Health

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chattanooga, Tennessee photo by Avala

Chattanooga is situated in Hamilton County, Tennessee. It has a population of over 170,880, which has grown by 9.9% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chattanooga, 85, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Chattanooga are priced at $141,100 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, two hundred sixty-two new homes were built in Chattanooga, down from four hundred forty-one the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Chattanooga are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 21.5% of Chattanooga residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chattanooga is 9.5%, which is less than Tennessee's average of 10.2%.

The percentage of Chattanooga residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 58.2%, is more than both the national and state average. Stuart Heights Baptist Church, Kings Point Church and Stanley United Methodist Church are some of the churches located in Chattanooga. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Non-Charismatic Churches Independent.

Chattanooga is home to the Creeks Bend Golf Club and the Concord Golf Course as well as Warner Park and Ross Landing City Park. Shopping malls in the area include Northgate Mall, Northgate Crossing Shopping Center and Lee Plaza East Shopping Center. Visitors to Chattanooga can choose from Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, Crystal Air Sport Motel and Hampton Inn Chattanooga I-75 North for temporary stays in the area.