The International Certification Commission (ICC) Exam, Part 1: Preparation

Many biomeds seem to be reluctant to take the ICC Certification exam for various reasons. Some of the reasons are economic, as surveys in the past have shown that being certified does not necessarily lead to higher salaries. Some reasons are time restrictions: We are all busy and have limited time to devote to review material. Then there’s this: “Where do you find material to review”? Yet another major reason often heard is: “I don’t get to go to the conventions where the exam is offered.”

In this series of articles we will share with you material from our “study group” here at Technology in Medicine (Holliston, Mass.), as we prepare our staff for the exam. What makes this different from most study guides is that each article will have more than one author. What we are doing is taking our “experts” in a particular area and having them prepare material for the “study groups.”

The first step that you have to take in preparation for the exam is to get the information about the exam. You do that by going to www.ptcny.com, clicking on test information and then scrolling to the ICC location. Click on Biomedical Technician; when that screen comes up, go to Print Out Application.

There are three test dates scheduled for 2003: May 3, June 18 and Nov. 1.

In May and November the test is given nationwide in about 30 locations.

The June test follows the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) convention in Long Beach, Calif. Your application has to be in about six weeks before the exam date. This is a major change in the accessibility of the exam for those wishing to take it. The test consists of five main sections.

1.    Anatomy and Physiology. Approximately 13 percent of the questions. This is further broken down into systems, i.e., respiratory, organs, blood and terminology.

2.    Safety in the Health Care Facility. About 17 percent of the questions. This section contains electrical, chemical, radiological, biological and fire hazards along with codes and standards.

3.    Fundamentals of Electricity, Electronics and Solid State Devices. About 20 percent of the questions.

4.    Medical Equipment Function and Operation. Approximately 23 percent of the questions. This is the most difficult section, as the questions can cover just about any device and application.

5.    Medical Equipment Problem Solving. About 27 percent of the questions. For most exam-takers this is the easiest section, in that this is what you do every day.

You need to do a thorough self-assessment to determine which areas you need to review the most. Be objective, and set up a plan to review those areas in which you have the least knowledge.

The articles in this series will contain a brief overview of the technology, its application and some troubleshooting tips. Expect an article each month. The last article in the series will include four or five sample exam questions, plus several medical terms.

Here are some typical questions to get you going.

1. What is the body’s first line of defense against electric shock?
A)    the nervous system
B)    the reflex system
C)    the mechanoreceptors
D)    the skin

2. An oxygen cylinder should be painted …
A)    gray
B)    orange
C)    red
D)    green

3. What should a BMET do if a device has injured a patient?
A)    do the normal testing and repair
B)    notify risk management
C)    notify the FDA
D)    notify risk management and secure the device

4. A thermistor …
A)    changes capacitance with temperature changes
B)    changes resistance with temperature changes
C)    cannot be used in AC circuits
D)    B and C above

5. The “Life Safety Code” is …
A)    NFPA 99
B)    IEC 601
C)    UL 544
D)    NFPA 101

The correct answer for all the above questions is D.

If you have a specific question about something you come across in any of the study guides that are in use, please send it to us for review and sharing with others. The email address is dharrington@techmed.com.

Good luck with the exam!