Repair techs rank high on job list

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Friday, February 13, 2015

YARMOUTH, Maine – When provider Calvin Fuller heard that TIME.com recently named medical equipment repairer as one of “the 5 best jobs you’ve never heard of,” he wasn’t surprised.

“It’s definitely a job that a lot more people could do if they knew about it,” said Fuller, a senior technician at Addison, Texas-based Repair Express.

Medical equipment repairers who work on hospital beds and electric wheelchairs can typically learn on the job and earn, on average, $44,000 a year, according to TIME’s job description. Skills needed: troubleshooting, dexterity, analytical thinking and technical skills.

Chuck Wadsworth, the service manager at Keystone Mobility in Hummelstown, Pa., agrees with TIME’s assessment.

“There’s a lot of on-the-job training,” said Wadsworth, who has more than 10 years of experience as a medical equipment repairer. “I was an auto mechanic for a few years before I came here and I think that gave me a good start.”

Fuller, who repairs power and manual wheelchairs, scooters and the occasional hospital bed, says the job’s day-to-day challenges are as unique as the equipment he works on. 

“It’s an ever-evolving field,” he said. “There are always new types of joysticks and controllers, and there are many different makes and models—it’s all fairly proprietary. Pride doesn’t use the same exact things as Dalton or Merits.”

While Fuller concedes that his job has taken him into some “pretty rough areas” of the city at times, he says the best part is helping people. 

The job security doesn’t hurt, either. With 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day, the need for HME and those who repair it isn’t going away anytime soon.

“I’ve never laid anyone off due to a shortage of work,” said Wadsworth. “It seems like the demand only increases.”