Biomedical engineers combine their sophisticated and technical knowledge of biology, engineering, and medicine to design and evaluate health-related products and systems. If you’re seeking a career in the biomedical engineering field, you can look forward to joining a profession on the rise. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of biomedical engineering jobs is expected to increase much faster than the average for all other occupations. As more companies invest substantial funds into biomaterials research, job candidates with Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in biomedical, biotechnology, and bioengineering science will be in great demand.
Education and Training
Hundreds of colleges and universities in the U.S. have graduate programs that provide Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in biomedical engineering with an emphasis on biomedical research. Unlike many other engineering specialties, the Department of Labor reports that a graduate degree is recommended or required for many entry-level jobs within biomedical engineering. Because of the mounting interest in this field, biomedical engineers with only a bachelor’s degree are more likely to face stiffer competition.
The Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) reports that many students continue their education in graduate school where they obtain valuable biomedical research experience at the master’s and doctoral levels. Other types of graduate biomedical programs or engineering programs may also prepare you for work in this growing field.
Working as a Biomedical Engineer
Many biomedical engineers are involved in research that creates and evaluates medical systems and products that may save lives or improve patient comfort. They may work to develop or maintain medical equipment and devices that can diagnose or treat patients’ health problems. Examples include pacemakers, prostheses, dialysis machines, and medical imaging equipment.
Some biomedical engineering jobs may involve tissue engineering and the creation of artificial organs. Choosing the appropriate material to place in the human body is one of the most difficult tasks faced by the biomedical engineer. A comprehensive understanding of the properties and behavior of living materials is vital in the design of artificial implant materials.
As a biomedical engineer, you may be employed in the following industries: medical equipment and supplies manufacturing; pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing; scientific research and development services; general medical and surgical hospitals; and navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing.
A strong scientific background, engineering expertise, and biomedical training are all key components that job candidates will possess. Good communication skills and attention to detail are also helpful. Salary ranges for biomedical engineering jobs can vary depending on the exact work you do and the industry you’re in. The Occupational Outlook Handbook, provided by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, offers more specific salary data and averages.
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