Certification in healthcare technology management (HTM), or in anyone’s chosen field, carries a number or benefits. By taking the initiative to get certified, a person demonstrates their knowledge competency in the field, initiative to pursue the certification, and commitment to lifelong learning. Some employers reward certification with a pay increase. Also, listing a certification on a resume is a way to make an applicant stand out from the field. Until now, however, biomeds were not able to attain certification until they had two years of work experience in the field following completion of their degree or four years of work experience without a degree. However, that is no longer the case. AAMI recently introduced a the new Certified Associate in Biomedical Technology (CABT) certification. It allows HTM professionals to obtain certification as they begin their career.
CABT certification is a new, entry-level certification that provides a bridge to the Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician (CBET) certification. The CABT is ideal for new graduates, career changers, HTM professionals without enough experience for CBET certification or anyone looking to start a career in HTM. It provides an opportunity for people considering a lateral career move. The only requirement for taking the CABT exam is a high school diploma or GED. Obtaining a CABT certification requires passing a 100-question test, which covers anatomy and physiology, medical devices as related to patient care, safety in health care, fundamentals of electricity and electronics, reasoning and problem solving, and healthcare IT. The certification is good for five years. It is not renewable because after five years the CABT certified professional will have the skills and experience necessary to take the CBET exam and attain CBET certification.
The CABT certification, specifically, offers a number of benefits. It gives HTM professionals the opportunity to become certified from the moment they decide to enter the field. It also provides a career changer with validation of his or her competencies to help in getting an HTM job. In addition to verifying competencies, it shows that the individual has the motivation to pursue certification and the dedication to prepare for the exam. This new certification can also benefit employers by helping them to find candidates that meet the minimum knowledge competencies in the topics covered on the exam.
AAMI developed the CABT certification in response to an increasing demand for qualified biomeds to fill positions created by a wave of retirements. The CABT provides an opportunity for those who may not have an HTM degree to demonstrate competency in fundamental skills necessary for an entry-level job.
For those interested in pursuing the CABT certification, it is offered on-demand, year-round. Unlike other AAMI certifications, those interested can take the exam from their home with a live proctor. AAMI is offering a BMET 101 course that will help interested individuals, especially those looking to change careers, prepare for the exam.
Given the advantages of CABT certification and the minimum requirements needed to take the exam, I will definitely be recommending this certification to my students and recent graduates. I am hopeful that it will prove to be a useful tool for encouraging more people to consider HTM jobs and for filling the anticipated vacancies in the field.
Joie Marhefka, Ph.D., is the biomedical engineering technology program coordinator at Penn State New Kensington. She sends a special thank you AAMI’s Danielle McGeary for her help with this column.
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