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Biomedical engineers combine engineering principles with medical and biological sciences to design and create equipment, devices, computer systems, and software used in healthcare.Duties
Biomedical engineers typically do the following:
Biomedical engineers design instruments, devices, and software used in healthcare; bring together knowledge from many technical sources to develop new procedures; or conduct research needed to solve clinical problems.
They often serve a coordinating function, using their background in both engineering and medicine. For example, they may create products for which an indepth understanding of living systems and technology is essential. They frequently work in research and development or in quality assurance.
Biomedical engineers design electrical circuits, software to run medical equipment, or computer simulations to test new drug therapies. In addition, they design and build artificial body parts, such as hip and knee joints. In some cases, they develop the materials needed to make the replacement body parts. They also design rehabilitative exercise equipment.
The work of these engineers spans many professional fields. For example, although their expertise is based in engineering and biology, they often design computer software to run complicated instruments, such as three-dimensional x-ray machines. Alternatively, many of these engineers use their knowledge of chemistry and biology to develop new drug therapies. Others draw heavily on mathematics and statistics to build models to understand the signals transmitted by the brain or heart.
The following are examples of specialty areas within the field of biomedical engineering:
Bioinstrumentation uses electronics, computer science, and measurement principles to develop devices used in the diagnosis and treatment of disease.
Biomaterials is the study of naturally occurring or laboratory-designed materials that are used in medical devices or as implantation materials.
Biomechanics involves the study of mechanics, such as thermodynamics, to solve biological or medical problems.
Clinical engineering applies medical technology to optimize healthcare delivery.
Rehabilitation engineering is the study of engineering and computer science to develop devices that assist individuals with physical and cognitive impairments.
Systems physiology uses engineering tools to understand how systems within living organisms, from bacteria to humans, function and respond to changes in their environment.
Some people with training in biomedical engineering become professors. For more information, see the profile on postsecondary teachers.
Biomedical engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering or bioengineering from an accredited program in order to enter the occupation. Alternatively, they can get a bachelor’s degree in a different field of engineering and then either choose biological science electives or get a graduate degree in biomedical engineering.Education
Prospective biomedical engineering or bioengineering students should take high school science courses, such as chemistry, physics, and biology. They should also take math courses, including algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus. Courses in drafting or mechanical drawing and in computer programming are also useful.
Bachelor’s degree programs in biomedical engineering and bioengineering focus on engineering and biological sciences. Programs include laboratory-based courses, in addition to classroom-based courses, in subjects such as fluid and solid mechanics, computer programming, circuit design, and biomaterials. Other required courses may include biological sciences, such as physiology.
Accredited programs also include substantial training in engineering design. Many programs include co-ops or internships, often with hospitals and medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturing companies, to provide students with practical applications as part of their study. Biomedical engineering and bioengineering programs are accredited by ABET.Important Qualities
Analytical skills. Biomedical engineers must be able to analyze the needs of patients and customers to design appropriate solutions.
Communication skills. Because biomedical engineers sometimes work with patients and frequently work on teams, they must be able to express themselves clearly. They must seek others’ ideas and incorporate those ideas into the problem-solving process.
Creativity. Biomedical engineers must be creative to come up with innovative and integrative advances in healthcare equipment and devices.
Math skills. Biomedical engineers use the principles of calculus and other advanced topics in mathematics, as well as statistics, for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.
Problem-solving skills. Biomedical engineers typically deal with and solve problems in complex biological systems.Advancement
Biomedical engineers typically receive greater responsibility through experience and more education. To lead a research team, a biomedical engineer generally needs a graduate degree. Some biomedical engineers attend medical or dental school to specialize in applications at the forefront of patient care, such as using electric impulses in new ways to get muscles moving again. Some earn law degrees and work as patent attorneys. Others pursue a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) and move into managerial positions. For more information, see the profiles on lawyers and architectural and engineering managers.
|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Biomedical Sales Engineering Technical Superviosor||ECO America, Inc.||Miami, FL||Oct 01, 2009||$60,000|
|Biomedical Sales Engineering Technical Supervisor||ECO America, Inc.||Miami, FL||Oct 25, 2007||$60,000|
|Biomedical Technician||Biocanton, LLC||Canton, MA||Sep 12, 2015||$58,895|
|Biomedical Technician||Fladger & Assoc. Inc.||Wilmington, DE||Jan 28, 2013||$54,617|
|Biomedical Technician||Fladger & Assoc. Inc.||Bear, DE||Jun 30, 2012||$54,617|
|Biomedical Engineer Technician/Information Systems||Diagnostic Mobile X-Ray Inc.||Edmond, OK||Oct 01, 2010||$54,507|
|Biomedical Electronics Technician||Future Medical Services, Corp||Miami, FL||Nov 10, 2010||$44,595|
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A day in the life of a Biomedical Engineer - Chapter 1
Biomedical Engineering Technology
Becoming a Biomedical Equipment Technician (BMET)