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