The professions of clinical engineering and biomedical equipment technician were pioneered in the early 1960s as the number of electronic (and potentially hazardous) medical devices in hospitals multiplied. In 1967, the first two-year post-high school curriculum for BMETS was designed by the Technical Education Research Center (TERC) and the brand-new Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI).
The Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician (CBET) exam was created by the AAMI in 1971. The examination later became the responsibility of the International Certification Commission for Clinical Engineering and Biomedical Technology (ICC), which was formed by the AAMI in 1983.
In 1992, the certification program was revised to require renewal every three years in order to increase the credential's value and credibility.
Function of the Test
The CBET certification is a nationally recognized professional credential for Biomedical Equipment Technicians.
The CBET exam is designed to test candidates' knowledge in the theory of operation, underlying physiological principles, and safe application of biomedical equipment. Certification as a CBET may enhance candidates' career prospects. The ICC argues that achieving certification demonstrates a "significant commitment to career and competence" to one's employers. According to a 2005 survey of AAMI members, certified BMETs earned 5.7% more than non-certified BMETs.
The eligibility requirements for CBET certification are somewhat complex, as there are multiple separate "routes" to eligibility which balance the candidate's level of education and work experience. The CBET exam is typically taken by career Biomedical Equipment Technicians (BMETs) who have at least two to four years of full-time BMET work experience, as this is the minimum level of work experience needed to qualify for certification. Candidates with no work experience may take the examination, provided they have an appropriate educational background in biomedical equipment technology; however, they will not become fully certified unless they meet the minimum full-time BMET work experience requirement within five years.
According to the ICC Directory of Certificants, 6,637 people hold the CBET certification as of August 2014. According to the ICC Directory of Newly Certified individuals, 293 people earned the CBET between January 2013 and August 2014.
The CBET exam is administered by computer in the United States and Canada, but it is administered in paper-and-pencil format elsewhere. Both versions of the test have a three hour time limit. Test scores are sent within four weeks of the close of the testing period.
Unsuccessful candidates who wish to retake the examination may take it during the next regularly scheduled examination period. There is no limit to the number of times candidates may take the examination, but the full application fee must be paid each time.
Candidates who require special accommodations for disabilities may request accommodation by completing and submitting a Request for Special Accommodations form to PTC at least eight weeks prior to the intended testing date.
|Sections of the CBET|
|CBET Subject Areas||Percentage|
|Anatomy and Physiology||12%|
|Public Safety in the Healthcare Facility||15%|
|Fundamentals of Electricity and Electronics||13%|
|Healthcare Technology Function and Operation||25%|
|Healthcare Technology Problem Solving||25%|
|Healthcare Information Technology||10%|
Testing for the CBET Exam takes place at PSI testing centers. There, each candidate must present a valid, government issued photo ID for admission. While in the testing area, no electronic devices, books, papers, and recording devices are allowed. Only simple, basic calculators with no programming options are allowed. For the duration of the test, test-takers are not allowed to leave the testing area except to use the bathroom.
The Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician Exam is a computer based exam taken at PSI testing centers. The CBET exam contains 165 questions that have to do with six major domains: Anatomy and Physiology; Public Safety in the Healthcare Facility; Fundamentals of Electricity and Electronics; Healthcare Technology Function and Operation; Healthcare Technology Problem Solving; and Healthcare Information Technology. The time allotted to complete all 165 questions is three hours.
- Sample CBET Questions
- Which of the following is NOT part of the respiratory system?
- A. Trachea
- B. Mitral valve
- C. Alveolar sacs
- D. Larynx
- The peripheral nervous system includes all of the following EXCEPT the
- A. Autonomic nervous system
- B. Spinal cord
- C. Cranial nerves
- D. Brachial plexus
- Electrical signals are conducted throughout the myocardium of the heart by which of the following?
- A. Muscle cells
- B. Nerve cells
- C. Connective cells
- D. Epithelial cells
- Which of the following increases the risk of fire in a surgical theater?
- A. Oxygen and nitrous oxide
- B. Surgical drapes
- C. Electrocautery and lasers
- D. All of the above
- Choose the list of SI units that is ordered correctly, from smallest to largest:
- A. Nanoliters, picoliters, microliters, milliliters, liters, femtoliters
- B. Millisieverts, microsieverts, centisieverts, sieverts, femtosieverts
- C. Micropascals, decipascals, centipascals, pascals, kilopascals, femtopascals
- D. Microwatts, milliwatts, megawatts, gigawatts, terawatts
- When an infusion pump is set to administer a drug at a high rate of infusion during scheduled, short periods that are separated by longer interval, low-rate infusion, this is called
- A. Continuous infusion
- B. Oscillating infusion
- C. Intermittent infusion
- D. Standard infusion
The 2014 version of the CBET exam consists of 165 questions.
The AAMI reports that the passing score for the CBET exam is set on a yearly basis. According to the 2014 handbook, the passing score for the CBET exam is 116 out of 165. This implies that guesses are not penalized on the CBET exam and that all questions are weighted the same, but the AAMI does not explicitly report how the CBET exam is scored.
According to a 2007 interview with the chair of the BMET board responsible for the CBET exam, the pass rate is generally around 50%, and the pass rate in May 2006 was 62%.
Answers to Sample Questions
1;B 2;B 3;A 4;D 5;D 6;C
- AAMI and the Engineering Community August 25 2014
- International Certification Commission Handbook for Applicants August 25 2014
- ICC Directory of Certificants August 25 2014
- ICC/ USCC Directory of Newly Certified August 25 2014
- Certification Handbook 14 July 2014
- CBET Certification FAQ 14 July 2014
- AAMI: Certification FAQs August 25 2014
- Certification: Can We Ensure Competence? August 25 2014