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Biomedical Technician & Technologist
Biomedical technicians maintain complex mechanical and electronic medical equipment in hospitals and other health sector institutes, and may make, modify or repair specialized clinical accessories, surgical instruments and surgical implants.

Biomedical technicians advise and consult surgeons and other medical staff about their equipment requirements. They make surgical equipment and tools for medical practitioners. They install and test, maintain and repair medical equipment. They carry out quality assurance checks on equipment and conduct electrical safety checks on equipment.

Biomedical technicians are often involved in training other staff in the use of equipment and give technical advice and assistance. They may deliver lectures on electrical safety and the application of clinical equipment.

They also work with other staff to design and develop implants for use during operations such as artificial joints or titanium plates to replace sections of bone in head injuries.

Biomedical technicians need practical skills in engineering and electronics, and skills in mechanics, testing equipment and making calculations. They should have good organizational ability and also be good communicators.

Biomedical technicians need to know about mechanics and electronics, and the way medical equipment works. They must also know about the use and care of equipment, and should have a sound understanding of computers. They should have a basic understanding of physiology and medical terminology, and must keep up to date with biomedical technology.

Biomedical technicians usually work in hospital workshops and clinics. Equipment used by biomedical technicians includes electronic testing equipment and electrical tools and mechanical workshop equipment such as drills and lathes. They usually work regular hours but may be on call.

Biomedical technicians gain many of their skills on the job and participate in courses and workshops to keep their knowledge up-to-date. They may be sent overseas to train in the use of specialized equipment, and then use this training to educate others in their work environment.

Biomedical technologists work in laboratories and provide analytical information important for the prevention and cure of diseases to medical doctors and pathologists.

Satisfying Aspects
- finding new products and processes
- variety of work
- the challenges of dealing with waste products constructively

Demanding aspects
- working in unpleasant conditions and sometimes with hazardous chemicals, such as waste products

A biomedical technician or technologist should:
- be an extremely careful, methodical and accurate worker
- have interest in and aptitude for medical science
- show concern for human welfare
- be practical and analytical
- be responsible and conscientious
- have good judgement and decision-making ability
- be willing to work shifts and do after-hours emergency work
- be willing to adhere strictly to professional code of ethics
- have good hand-eye coordination and normal colour vision

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics, Physical Sciences
Recommended Subjects: Life Sciences

Diploma: N.Dip in Engineering majoring in mechanical, electronic or computer engineering - offered at most universities of technology - CPUT, CUT, DUT, TUT and VUT.

- South African Institute for Medical Research
- hospitals
- private pathologists
- universities (medical and veterinary)
- research institutions
- industrial firms
- government departments
- blood transfusion services

The Society of Medical Laboratory Technologists of South Africa
P O Box 6014
Roggebaai, 8012
Tel. (021) 419-4857