Biomedical engineers work to analyze problems and design solutions in biology and medicine. Engineers in this field may work developing instruments, devices, or software to address clinical problems. Ultimately, these innovations will help to improve patient care. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the following as some of the most important job duties for this occupation:
- Design new systems and products for use in the medical field, such as prosthetics, artificial organs, or diagnostic machines.
- Evaluate the effectiveness, efficiency, and safety of biomedical equipment.
- Collaborate with medical and other scientists to apply aspects of engineering to biological systems in humans and animals.
- Maintain biomedical equipment and train clinical workers how to use it.
Biomedical engineering jobs require knowledge of a variety of fields. Therefore, curriculums in this area cover topics ranging from computer technology to health care delivery systems. Common fields for jobs as biomedical engineers may include medical equipment and supplies manufacturing, scientific research and development, and pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing. Those who pursue a doctorate may also work as college professors.
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Becoming a Biomedical Engineer
Careers in biomedical engineering require at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited program in this specific area of study. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accredits these programs. Choosing a high-quality program, such as one approved by ABET, will ensure you receive substantial training in engineering design as well as an opportunity to practically apply your skills through co-ops or internships. Employers will also be looking for this when they review applicants.
Those training for entry level biomedical engineering jobs will need a solid foundation in mathematics and the natural sciences. In addition, students will complete design workshop classes to apply the theories and concepts they learn throughout the program. Below are a few examples of specific classes you might expect to take with this major:
- Quantitative Physiology
- Tissue Engineering
Biomedical engineers will also need strong problem-solving and communication skills. Those interested in pursuing a career in advanced research or academia will need to continue on to a graduate program. Most supervisory positions require at least a master's degree, if not a doctorate.