SPRINGFIELD — Starting this fall, Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) will offer a new degree in biomedical engineering technology, which addresses a demand for workers trained to repair, maintain, and manufacture medical equipment.
The program — the only two-year, associate-degree program of its kind in the region — will prepare students for a variety of in-demand healthcare jobs, including biomedical equipment and biomedical device manufacturing technicians and medical sales representatives. Students who receive their associate in science degree in biomedical engineering technology also can choose to transfer to a four-year college or university to pursue a degree in engineering technology or a related field.
“With existing engineering technology programs in civil, computer systems, electrical, mechanical, and optics/photonics, it made excellent sense for us to add biomedical to our unique array of offerings,” said STCC President John Cook.
Added Adrienne Smith, dean of the School of Engineering Technologies and Mathematics at STCC, “what distinguishes our program is that no state community college or university in Massachusetts hosts a biomedical engineering technology program with two concentration tracks. Students can choose a concentration in biomedical equipment technology or biomedical device manufacturing.”
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of medical-equipment repairers is projected to grow 5% from 2016 to 2026. Growth in the field is linked to both a greater demand for healthcare services and increasing complexity of the equipment workers maintain and repair, according to the BLS. The aging Baby Boomer population has also fueled a demand for all types of workers in the healthcare industry. A job seeker with an associate degree in biomedical equipment technology or engineering should have the best opportunity to get hired, according to the BLS.
Western Mass. is home to many hospitals and biomedical technology and healthcare-related companies that often need qualified biomedical equipment repair technicians, Smith said. “Not only will the biomedical engineering technology program serve this industry, but it will be the only associate degree program in the region to do so.”
Representatives from STCC, Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, and the Biomedical Engineering Alliance & Consortium in Hartford, Conn., developed the curriculum. The biomedical equipment technology option (70 credit hours) will train students to repair and maintain equipment, while the biomedical device manufacturing option (66 credit hours) will train students to manufacture devices.
Northern Conn. residents interested in the degree may be eligible for a tuition break through the New England Regional Student Program, which allows eligible residents living outside of Massachusetts to pay tuition rates that are close to in-state rates.
Anyone who is interested in applying to STCC’s new biotechnology engineering technology degree program or has questions may call Admissions at (413) 755-3333, or apply online at stcc.edu/admissions/applynow.asp.