An Introduction to Medical Service Technicians
People who prefer to work with their hands and like tinkering with machines should consider a career as a Medical Service Technician (MST), which is also known as a Biomedical Equipment Technician. This is a position for people who want to work in the healthcare field, but don’t necessarily want to be hands-on with patients. MSTs work directly with equipment and have a range of responsibilities. Let’s take a deeper look into the specifics of this exciting field.
What is an MST?
An MSTs primary responsibility is to service and maintain medical equipment. This includes CT scan machines, heart defibrillators, anesthesia units, ventilators, infusion pumps, NICU incubators, hospital beds, surgery tables, and more. Some MSTs choose to focus on equipment in specialized healthcare areas such as surgery, nuclear medicine, or radiology, while others take a more general approach.
What Do Medical Service Technicians Do?
A day in the life of an MST will vary depending on where they work. Most of their time is spent installing, inspecting, and repairing biomedical equipment. Specific responsibilities may include:
- Conducting routine maintenance on equipment
- Performing inspections
- Making repairs
- Cleaning equipment
- Conducting safety checks
- Delivering and setting up new equipment
- Calibrating equipment
- Managing HazMat and HazWaste
- Conducting diagnostics for equipment hardware and software
- Ordering new parts
These professionals actively monitor and troubleshoot problems and are subject experts on the inner workings of the equipment they service. MSTs may also show doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers how to operate the equipment.
Where do MSTs Work?
MSTs typically work in a hospital or clinic. Other employers could include the military, retail suppliers, or medical instrument manufacturers. Some MSTs choose to open their own businesses and contract with healthcare companies. No matter where they work, MSTs must all follow the same safety codes and regulations established by the U.S. government.
What Skills Do MSTs Need?
Medical Service Technicians need to possess a variety of skills to succeed in their workplaces, such as:
- Dexterity: Techs will need to work quickly to disassemble, repair, and reassemble equipment.
- Mechanical skills: MSTs must be thoroughly familiar with the inner workings of the type of equipment they are tasked to maintain.
- People skills: These professionals often must coordinate with various departments and all types of healthcare professionals.
- Physical stamina: Techs must be able to lift and navigate a variety of equipment weights and types.
- Stress management: As with many healthcare positions, time is of the essence and techs are often called in quickly when the facility is under duress.
- Detail-oriented: Techs must pay close attention to details and be able to follow procedures, industry standards, and adhere to medical standards and guidelines.
MSTs must also be willing to work flexible schedules. They usually work during the day hours, but some employers need them to be on call, which can sometimes include evenings and weekends.
How Much Do MSTs Get Paid?
According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) May 2020 Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics, the average salary for a Medical Equipment Repair person is $55,090. MST jobs are projected to grow at least 5% by 2029 which is faster than average for all occupations.
What Certifications are Needed?
Education levels in this field will vary. One-third of MSTs complete high school, obtain a certification, and immediately enter the field. Other job seekers may decide to pursue an Associate’s, Bachelor’s, or Master’s degree in the field.
During their training, students get the opportunity to learn hands-on skills such as working with a variety of medical devices and learning how to fix them. Through these exercises, they learn the fundamentals of medical equipment maintenance, medical and electronic terminology, basic instrumentation, computer networking, and other valuable skills. Many programs offer an externship course to give students real-world experience before pursuing their dream job.
Learn More About MST Training
For more than 30 years, Centura College has been dedicated to helping students gain the skills and qualifications they need to succeed. We offer MST certifications with our Associates of Applied Science in Biomedical Equipment Technology. This 15-month program* is offered at our Virginia Beach location. To learn more about how we can help you to achieve your dreams in this exciting and growing field, contact us.
*Program completion time is based on a full-time student schedule.
About Centura College
Centura College has been part of an organization dedicated to helping men and women develop careers since 1969. By training working adults in healthcare, technology, business, and trades, they connect communities with some of the fastest growing career fields in today’s marketplace. The school offers professional facilities, knowledgeable instructors, day or evening classes, job placement assistance and is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). To learn more, visit www.CenturaCollege.edu or like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/centura.edu.