Your First Biomed Job
After Completing School or “The Service”
You are in college progressing towards that Biomed degree or you are in the Service as a technician and pondering, “How do I get that first civilian Biomed position in California?” These questions are often sent to cmia.org. There is no pat answer, in speaking with newly employed Biomeds each has a unique story but there are a number of common threads. Finding a job is a process hopefully you are using the following techniques in landing a “first” job.
It is never too early to start the process. Students, learn firsthand the functions of employed Biomeds; obtain experience during school breaks as an intern, a volunteer or just to follow a Biomed during daily activity. Biomeds planning to leave the military and students living away from what they hope is the first job can establish contacts and track openings through diligent web searches, then reinforce your knowledge during vacations with visits to potential employers, learn if there are additional or different training to be more beneficial. Tackle job-hunting aggressively; finding a position is full-time job.
Local hospital Biomed departments: Locate the hospitals in your area with Biomed departments often called Biomedical or Clinical Engineering. Attempt to contact each department head directly to gather intelligence about department size, how they announce openings, opportunities for part timework (either as an employee or through an agency), internships, volunteerism and the “brass ring,” an informational interview for you to learn more, but in reality to improve your chances at landing a job. The California Department of Public Health maintains a searchable database of licensed general hospitals at http://hfcis.cdph.ca.gov/search.aspx?st=h|8. A listing of Veterans Administrations hospitals may be found at http://www2.va.gov/directory/guide/state.asp?STATE=CA and military hospitals at http://www.tricare.mil/mtf/main1.aspx
Volunteer: Hospitals typically have large volunteer organizations. The stereotype “Candy Stripper” tasks are still present, others are working in technical and patient service departments. While Biomed activities are most beneficial to you, just gaining experience will yield medical jargon and hospital cognizance. Appropriate positions may not be listed by the Volunteer organization however its manager is usually accessible and has better access to department heads.
Internship: Colleges may require an internship as a qualification for graduation. If not a prerequisite, they are an excellent method for obtaining experience for your resume. Locating an internship is not unlike locating a job. Don’t be surprised that hospital internships are unpaid. Third party and OEMs discussed below also offer Internships.
CMIA.org: The CMIA and its website can be an important resource of landing that first job. CMIA.org jobs page offers current full and part-time Biomed positions in hospitals, third party and OEM organizations. Even if you are unable to apply for the current position the announcement provides information on what jobs are out there and valuable contacts for the future. The same page provides a link to add your own resume for employers to review. It works because we are asked by individuals to remove it for they landed a position and still are contacted by employers. The only requirement is that you belong to the CMIA. Student membership is only $15 per year and California active military is free.
OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) produce capital medical equipment supported by the Biomed from x-ray imaging systems to patient monitors, beds to sterilizers, and microscopes to beds. Most service what they sell but may offer only depot maintenance. A staff of Field Service Technicians (FST) will install, upgrade and maintain equipment. FSTs are trained to be experts in a selection of equipment as opposed the typical Biomed generalist. OEMs look for technical (e.g., AAEE or BSEET or an ex-military technician) over medical knowledge and experience. Some corporations provide extensive training to the FST in their equipment and the medical technology served by their products. Technicians go where equipment is installed which may require extensive traveling. Service is a large portion of corporate revenue, and some have branched out to maintain similar equipment from their competitors and even replacing the hospital’s Biomed department. Large companies tend to erect an electronic barrier to job seekers due to large numbers of inquires and corporate management’s desire to project impartiality. They provide a web presence as a portal to the hiring process and the company. The sites include information about the company, a listing of current opportunities and an agent or profile to make responding to openings quicker with the ability to email of new postings matching your profile. Hiring managers receive responses to the openings and select resumes for further consideration. Thus knowing local management is an asset in the selection process.
Third Party Maintenance Organizations: These are a diverse array of companies from those who replace an entire hospital’s onsite Biomedical/Clinical Engineering department, to those displacing the OEM’s services to everything in between in the civilian, government and military arena. The OEM service provider may also remanufacture or enhance original equipment for resale or rental. Examples of all may be found on the left side of cmia.org pages the former include Linc Health, Binovia and UHS. Third Party maintenance services providers Digitec, Conquest Imaging, United Medical Instruments, and Platinum. The larger organizations employing hundreds of Biomeds will hire new graduates, those leaving the Service and some offer paid internships. Contact mangers of local branches, if not for an immediate position, for consideration when something does develop. Conversing with local hospital Biomed department managers and attending local CMIA chapter meetings are also avenues to obtain contacts of Third Party Maintenance Organizations.
Employment Agencies: Some organizations employ outside agencies to capture experienced personnel. The operative word for students seeking employment is “experienced”. Agencies are rarely tasked with locating entry level talent. However Biomeds and electronics technicians about to leave the service with approximately 2 years of experience are encouraged to contact then forward their resumes to agencies specializing in Biomeds and OEM Field Service personnel. While they may not have a current match to your experience they do keep resumes for future opportunities. Agencies often cover the entire country so you should consider relocating. 24x7 Magazine includes a listing, search their Buyers Guide for "Recruitment Firms".
A Hidden Resource: Often hospitals and OEMs keep an arm’s length distance from the new hire process. They prefer the "Try Before You Buy" technique. Employment of Third Party HR organizations each providing multiple recruiting and workforce solutions allows employers to solve short term demands or to test candidates for permanent positions with reduced resources and hassle from the search through the termination process. Which of the hundreds of HR organization to pursue? Individual hospitals and OEMs use only one or possibly a few. Thus one must find out which ones are used either from the employers or the HR firm. They may be of no assistance if the ultimate employer provides the candidates, using the HR firm as a paper mill.
When you land that first position share your experience and let us know if the above proved helpful in your search and make suggestions for additional content. Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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