Biomedical engineers apply engineering principles to problems in biology and medicine. They work in the field of genetics to, among other things, better our understanding of disease processes and how to genetically engineer replacement organs in research and treatment efforts. Biomedical engineers also design devices that increase the effectiveness of medical procedures and rehabilitation. Some engineers work at evaluating new products and machines developed by private corporations.
Some biomedical engineers use their expertise to develop newer, more efficient ways to deliver drugs, vaccines, and gene samples to patients. They develop new methods to accurately target the delivery of drugs to the right location, in the right amount, and at the right time. Other engineers work with genetically modified tissues, such as artificial skin, that can replace damaged tissues.
Biomedical engineering is very complex, and as such has developed many sub-specialties. Among these are bioinstrumentation, biomaterials, biomechanics, tissue engineering, and systems physiology. Anyone interested in biomedical engineering will certainly find a very specific field that intrigues them while still being able to cross over to other fields with relative ease.
As our understanding of genetics increases, so too will the need for biomedical engineers who can take advantage of new innovations. The sophisticated nature of their work and the specialization it requires will secure career opportunities for most biomedical engineers.
Working Conditions & Context
Biomedical engineers are employed in both the private and public sectors. Their work is primarily research-oriented, and they spend a great deal of time in laboratories, researching and coordinating their projects.
Biomedical engineers are frequently employed by universities, either as faculty or as recipients of research grants. When employed by government agencies, they most commonly work on testing and safety evaluation.
Working environments for engineers are almost always indoors, under controlled conditions, due to the sensitive and precise nature of their labors.
A typical Salary Range for this career is $47,640 - $121,970 annually.
The Median Income for this career is about $77,400 annually.
A biomedical engineer should first understand the principles of engineering, then those of the life sciences. Learning each will allow a successful biomedical engineer to bridge the gap between them. It is also vital that an engineer have good communication skills, as often projects are conducted as part of a large team.
In college, a student usually selects engineering as a major and then chooses a concentration within that field. Many universities offer biomedical engineering, though many more do not. Most students will elect to continue their education with graduate studies. Many graduate schools offer specialization in biomedical engineering.
Continuing education is very important in the biomedical engineering field. New information is generated everyday, and it is important for the serious engineer to put considerable effort into staying abreast of new developments.
Pursuing higher degrees is highly recommended. Biomedical engineering is a career in which success can be measured by the extent of an individual's education.
Certification & Licensing:
The American Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) is the official accreditation body for biomedical engineering programs in the United States.
The Biomedical Engineering Network
The National Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Accreditation Board of Engineering Technology
The Biomedical Engineering Society
** More than a minimum degree may be required for some careers.