Preparing for a Career in the Medical Device Industry

Interview by Jodie Elrod
Interview by Jodie Elrod
Are you considering a career switch to the medical device industry? PrepMD offers training to become a medical device clinical specialist or sales representative in cardiac rhythm management or electrophysiology. Read more about their services here. Tell us about the PrepMD program. What career opportunities are available to train for? Matt O’Neal (Managing Partner): At PrepMD our goal is to teach, inspire, and connect talented individuals with the medical device community. Through a comprehensive and demanding training program, we prequalify our graduates for hire by industry or hospital-based employers. PrepMD delivers its on-site curriculum in a newly constructed 8,000 square foot facility, filled with innovative and high technology educational features. The core of our curriculum currently focuses on the Cardiac Rhythm Management (CRM) and Electrophysiology (EP) account manager or clinical representative career opportunities. While those are our primary targeted opportunities, we believe the experience our students gain through completing our core curriculum, simulated lab environment, business training, and clinical field rotations makes them extremely attractive for not only the CRM and EP positions, but also interventional cardiology and hospital/office-based positions. In addition to training individuals for new careers, PrepMD also offers: •PrepStart™ to bridge corporate training support •Hospital and Allied Health Professional (AHP) training •Continuing Education Programs •Market Development Training •Corporate Scholar Programs All of these can be tailored to the needs of our individual clients. Explain the curriculum format of the program. What time commitment is needed? Matt O’Neal (Managing Partner): Currently, the PrepMD training consists of 26 weeks of curriculum delivery, embedded with approximately 1,020 hours of course work conducted within classroom and on-site laboratory sessions, including clinical rotations in academic and private practice medical centers. Didactic classroom and laboratory sessions are 80 minutes in length, with 4 classes and/or lab sessions provided each day, 5 days each week. Clinical rotations are observational, beginning at approximately 10 weeks into the cycle, and are conducted within a variety of medical center environments where CRM/EP therapies are practiced. Who are the ideal candidates for this program? Who should contact PrepMD? Bob Mattioli (Managing Partner): As Matt said, our goal is to teach, inspire, and connect talented individuals with the medical device space. Our ideal candidate has three main qualities. One, they are passionate about getting into the industry and committed to the training process. Two, they have a track record of success, represented by professional, academic and extracurricular excellence. Third, they should be geographically flexible. Candidates who have a bachelors degree from an accredited college or university, have been responsibly employed for a minimum of 2-5 years, and have a strong interest in pursuing a career in the CRM/EP segment of the medical device industry should contact PrepMD. What is the first step to begin training with PrepMD? How is one chosen for enrollment? Bob Mattioli (Managing Partner): Selection for PrepMD training begins with the submission of a candidate’s application and resume, which can be conveniently uploaded to our website. The candidate will be contacted by a member of the PrepMD faculty to schedule an initial telephone interview to gauge the applicant’s level of interest. Once the application is compete, including transcripts, letters of recommendation and application fee, a formal interview is scheduled. This interview can be conducted either in person at our Braintree facility, by phone or by video conference. Admissions officers will review all applications, and candidates will be notified in a timely manner. Where is the training located? Are there options available for those outside Massachusetts? Greg Lisi (Director of Business Development): Classroom and simulation training takes place at the PrepMD facilities in Braintree, Massachusetts, just 7 miles from downtown Boston, with clinical rotations based out of a variety of medical centers and facilities in and around the area. Fortunately, as word is getting out about the PrepMD training experience, we have been receiving applications and inquiries from all regions of the country. Applicants have come from as far away as the Carolinas, Georgia, Texas, Colorado, Minnesota, as well as the New England states. Out-of-state students can select local temporary residence options covering the duration of the 26-week program, examples of which are detailed on our website. Many candidates want to come here for 6 months to take advantage of the training experience plus everything the area has to offer. As you know, the Boston area is home to the Boston AF Symposium as well as a frequent host of the Heart Rhythm Society's Annual Symposium. We are excited to have PrepMD serve as a new training and educational link between the region and the larger medical device community. What are the components of the full-time training curriculum? Cathy Sistrunk (Director of Education): Currently there are 5 major areas of focus for the PrepMD curriculum: • Core Curriculum (250 hours), which includes anatomy and physiology, conduction system and EKG interpretation. • Perioperative Technique (200 hours), encompassing sterile techniques, intra-operative device testing, implantation techniques, and EP study protocols, utilizing our state-of-the-art PrepLab™. • Programming/Timing Cycles/ Troubleshooting (200 hours), which deepens students’ understanding of implantable CRM devices in a unique environment in which comparative device algorithm study can be conducted in PrepMD’s “first in class” Programmer Bar™. • CRM/EP Business Lecture Series (150 hours), educating PrepMD students on the details of business planning, market development, communication skills for sales and clinical support, as well as the commercial roles and expectations of successful field personnel supporting CRM/EP device use. • Clinical Rotations (220 hours), located at major medical centers in the greater Boston area, provide opportunities to observe academic and private practice EP labs, offices, and clinics in today’s busy healthcare environment. What are the costs associated with the program? Bob Mattioli (Managing Partner): Based on our rolling admissions schedule, the candidate will be required to submit a $1,000 deposit within 30 days of acceptance to secure a position in the upcoming class. Tuition fees for the 6-month full-time course are currently set at $25,000 and are payable in full prior to the start of classes. Tuition fees include all curriculum materials, laboratory materials, workbooks, and initial texts. Also included are fees for insurance umbrellas servicing student participation in observational clinical rotations within local medical centers. Describe your background in the field. What prompted PrepMD? Matt O’Neal (Managing Partner): I was primarily motivated by three main factors that we feel represent our value proposition to industry and potential employers of PrepMD students: 1. A shortened training cycle length 2. Decreased training cycle costs 3. Increased time to productivity After many years of interviewing talented individuals who did not have the specific technical training requirements, we felt we could proactively address these three needs by constructing a unique educational experience. Collectively, PrepMD faculty has over 100 years of medical device experience. We have “carried the bag,” worked as hiring managers, and served as senior leaders of prominent CRM/EP companies. Bob brings extensive experience in the CRM and EP sector, having recently built the commercial EP business for CryoCath (now Medtronic CryoCath). While working at Guidant and Boston Scientific, I developed various training programs and curriculum designed to simulate CRM implant and follow-up scenarios in order to speed the time to productivity of new hires. After building 3 versions of these programs from 1998 to 2006, PrepMD represents the most comprehensive and innovative training program to date. What are the benefits of switching to a career in the medical device industry? Tom Kenny (Director of Corporate Training): There are numerous tangible and intangible rewards that come from being part of the medical device family. Working with skilled physicians, helping patients, and learning cutting-edge technology are just a few. I think that the time to make a move is now. When I look at the population dynamics of the country, the recent advances of clinical trials, companies’ continuing R&D investment, and the ever-increasing demands on physicians’ time and energy, it is obvious to me that the need for well-trained device reps will be here for a long time to come. All that, coupled with the reality that companies continue to struggle to find talented individuals with the skill sets on which we are training our students, only reinforces the benefits of getting the training necessary to experience all the intrinsic rewards of helping deliver lifesaving and life-improving technology while earning a good living. Is there anything else you’d like to add? Greg Lisi (Director of Business Development): First off I would like to thank you for the chance to talk about PrepMD and the opportunity it represents for people who want to get into the medical device industry. Most importantly, and on behalf of our faculty, I want to express our appreciation for the support that the CRM/EP device companies have given to PrepMD. Their participation in our corporate sponsored events, and their continued product support affirms their willingness to partner with our innovative training and placement service. As the companies experience firsthand the power of our value proposition, we remain committed to providing quality training and placement assistance, allowing them to reduce their cost of sale and focus on providing quality products and service to their patients and physicians. As the industry continues to evolve, so will PrepMD. Our core principle of helping companies place trained individuals will guide us in applying new and innovative training technologies moving forward. For more information, please visit: www.prepmd.org