We have an average-sized incoming group of new students in our program this fall. Since they are about eight weeks into their first semester of the program, I thought it would be fun to get a snapshot of who they are and what they know about the career field. I made up a short (and rudimentary) survey and the results from the 46 students who took it should not be taken as scientific fact. There are definitely limitations and delimitations to this short study (which I will not get into as to not bore you) and the results should just be taken at face value. Hopefully, it will provide some interesting reading.
Of the 46 students present the day I gave the survey, 37 are male (roughly 80 percent) and nine are female. This is about average for an incoming group in our program. Ages can be seen in the chart on page 55.
There were 22 students ages 18-20; 10 students ages 21-25; 5 students ages 26-30; 1 student ages 31-40; 5 students ages 41-50; and 3 students over the age of 50. The average was 24.89 years of age. This is definitely a younger group than we have seen in previous years as our overall student age has averaged 28 years.
The educational levels of these students can be seen in the next chart .
Of the 46 students, 2 had some high school, 18 were high school grads, 20 had attended some college before attending our program (college transfer), 2 had associate degrees prior to enrolling in our program, 3 had a bachelor’s degree before enrolling and 1 had a graduate degree in science. Seven of the 46 students had previously served in the military and either were high school graduates and/or had some college before enrolling.
One question in the survey asked, “How did you hear about the Biomedical Equipment Technology career field?” Results can be found in the chart labeled Method of Influence.
As you can see, the overwhelming majority of students still find out about us through word of mouth. More disturbing to me (and an area where I need to redouble my efforts) is that only a few heard about the career field through their high school counselors and/or teachers. Three is better than none, but more teachers and counselors need to be introduced to Biomedical Equipment Technology.
I also asked in the survey, “From what you know so far about the career field, for what type of employer do you see yourself working when you graduate?” Yes, this is a long-shot question for beginning students but I threw it in anyway. And some clearly stated a particular type of employer even at this early stage.
I thought these results were interesting even if they might have been influenced by family members or friends already in the field.
The next question asked, “From what you know so far about the career field, do you intend to pursue a four-year degree and/or certification while working?” Since a few of the students already have degrees, the chart isn’t spot on but you get the idea.
I was happy to see that most, if not all, students realize the importance of continuing education and/or certification.
The survey also asked whether or not you are flexible to relocate for the right job opportunity. No need for a chart here. Most of the students (34) are willing and able to relocate. Six listed “maybe” as an answer and six stated “no.” Just a quick note here, all students are told prior to enrolling about the need to be flexible about relocation.
The survey also asked some questions that required a written response from the students instead of just a box to check. For example, “From what you know about the career field so far, what do you think is the most important characteristic for a Biomedical Equipment Technician to possess to be successful?” A variety of answers made for some interesting reading. Here are a few of them: “a strong desire to succeed,” “customer service skills,” “prior experience in electronics,” “good problem solving ability,” “willingness to adapt to a variety of situations,” “being a fast learner,” “being task-oriented,” “thinking clearly under pressure,” “ability to communicate with people,” “patience,” “being detail oriented,” “professionalism,” “integrity,” “having the right attitude,” “being a team player,” “being a life-long learner,” “common sense,” “a mechanical and electrical aptitude,” and “troubleshooting skills.”
I also asked, “What employer/job characteristics are most important to you? In other words, what will be most important to you when looking for a potential employer?”
Here are a few of the answers: “fair salary,” “good work environment,” “location,” “growth potential,” “stability,” “personal challenge,” “advancement opportunities,” “organization that shows it cares about its employees,” “provides guidance and training/education opportunities,” “good leadership,” “cares about work/life balance,” “good health benefits,” “how they treat their customers,” and “good retirement benefits.”
Another question was, “What excites you about this career field?” The most common answers were: “helping people,” “job security,” “variety of career options,” “love of technology,” “working environment,” and “making money.” Several mentioned that this career field allowed them to make a difference in healthcare without direct patient contact.
And the final question asked, “Do you have any concerns about this career field?” Lots of interesting responses but here are a few: “job location,” “finding the right job,” “workplace safety hazards,” “relocation expenses,” “concerned about BMET surveys in magazines saying BMETs not enjoying their jobs,” “age being a factor,” “the overwhelming variety of equipment,” “the effect of Obamacare,” “the job bubble for BMETs bursting,” and of course, “Ebola.”
As I mentioned at the beginning, this survey and its results were only meant to be informational and perhaps entertaining. It does give us as faculty several things to discuss with our students. And perhaps you the reader would be interested in visiting as a guest speaker to discuss some of these topics. Let me know!
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