Many readers of TechNation are aware of AAMI’s core curriculum project that was for the most part completed last year. I say for the most part as it’s still a little uncertain as to what level competencies are to be taught for different degree levels such as a two-year associate in applied science degree or a four-year bachelor’s of science degree. However, these core competencies will help guide employers and educational institutions regarding what can be expected from a graduate progressing into the HTM profession after school.
With the continued implementation of the core competencies project AAMI continues to be very proactive in the educational realm of the HTM profession. This year will be a very active year for AAMI, education and credentialing as the December 2014 edition of the AAMI News points out there are big changes on the horizon.
Many of the new changes will fall under the newly developed AAMI Credentials Institute (ACI), guided by new Director of Certification Jan paul Miller. Miller is quoted in the AAMI News, “certification will look similar to AAMI’s standards programs.” On the list of targeted accomplishments AAMI wants to enact this year, four new certification exams, becoming a lead member society for Accreditation Board of Engineering Technology (ABET) and to have all certifications accredited by American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The ACI, as a ABET lead member society, will review post-secondary curricula in biomedical technology. These cumulative actions have the potential to raise the profession and certification status of the HTM community to unprecedented levels.
The ACI will replace ICC and USCC. The Board of Examiners for biomedical equipment technology will still operate under the ICC and USCC, but will be divided into four development committees. Each committee will be responsible for each certification area. These areas being CBET, CRES, CLES and the new areas of HTM manager credentials. These new manager certifications are said to be a Certified Quality Systems Manager (CQSM) and a Certified Healthcare Technology Manger (CHTM). These two new certifications are scheduled to be offered beginning spring 2015. If all goes to plan, two more new certifications will be in place by the 2015 fall testing dates. These certifications will be in sterilization and information technology. I’m sure much more information about the new certifications will be coming throughout 2015 and the upcoming years.
I applaud AAMI for its commitment and vision in the education and certification standards for the HTM profession. As an educator I am very familiar with ABET. ABET is the recognized U.S. accreditor of college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering and technology. Having an ABET accredited program in BMET helps ensure certain levels of education are maintained, but as with any accrediting program implemented, costs are associated.
With an online preliminary search, the costs associated with ABET certification for a community college could be around $8,000 and a yearly fee of nearly $700. This seems like a very small amount of money, but for a community college facing smaller enrollment numbers and dwindling budgets this is another hurdle many BMET programs will need to address in the very near future. The ABET certification process is about an 18-month process and like any certification process is quite involved.
First, a program must show it has an assessment process for educational objectives and student learning outcomes. The program must demonstrate it has an improvement loop for continued improvements and the program must demonstrate these criteria with student work examples. Once these criteria are established the college must formally request to be accredited. Once the school requests to be accredited, an accreditation policy and procedure manual must be written and each year a self-study must be reported to ABET. This seems pretty standard, but for a one-man program like myself, where does one find the time to provide the required documents? These financial and time constraints for accreditation are very real and could put some very good BMET programs in a tough situation. This does not even touch on what type of requirements ABET and ACI may put on a college as to what equipment a graduate must be exposed to and the added expense of adding the technology to be taught.
These are just a few of the fears this BMET program director is facing. However, I do believe the process is worth the investment. I hope educational institutions will see the benefit and commit the resources to become fully certified.
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