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Biomedical Engineer Job Description
Biomedical engineers use their knowledge of engineering, medicine, and biology to develop solutions to medical problems or procedures. Laser eye treatments, artificial organs, prosthetic limbs, and pacemakers are all examples of projects that biomedical engineers helped develop.
The responsibilities for people in this profession vary greatly depending on their particular role and the company they work for. Some biomedical engineers spend their entire careers doing research. For example, they may try to understand the signals sent by the brain, so that other engineers can use their research to develop solutions to problems that impact that area.
Other biomedical engineers work in manufacturing facilities, where they help design the creation of biomedical products. Some also work as college professors.
While developing a solution to a problem, biomedical engineers often need to work with experts in other fields. Chemists, physicians, surgeons, and other specialists need to be consulted through the research and development process to ensure that the solutions being developed are safe, practical, and would have a meaningful impact on the lives of their patients.
Because this is such a huge field, most biomedical engineers choose to specialize in one particular area. Tissue, medical imaging, orthopedic surgery, biomechanics, and genetic engineering engineering are just a few of the many specialties available.
If you have a passion for science and a desire to help people improve their quality of life, then a career as a biomedical engineer might be a good fit for you.
Work Environment and Schedule
Most biomedical engineers work in medical manufacturing, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and research and development. There are also opportunities for employment at hospitals and colleges and universities.
The working environment for biomedical engineers varies depending on the company they work for and the type of work they do. Laboratories, offices, manufacturing facilities, and hospitals are all common work environments for people in this occupation.
Some biomedical engineers have to travel to meet with clients or visit manufacturing sites. Travel can be extensive, and it's not uncommon for these engineers to be away from home for long stretches of time. As you consider a career in this occupation, you should think about the impact it would have on your personal life. Some people love to travel to work, but it can be difficult for others to manage.
Most biomedical engineers work full time, and are often able to keep regular schedules during normal working hours. However, this is a deadline driven occupation, and long hours may be required as deadlines approach.
How to Become a Biomedical Engineer
A minimum of a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering is required for most entry level positions. However, earning a graduate degree will open up some opportunities to you later in your career that wouldn't be available without one.
Biomedical engineering programs include coursework in both engineering and biology disciplines. The exact subjects you will study vary from school to school, but normally include biomaterials, physiology, solid and fluid mechanics, and computer programming.
Before you enroll in a biomedical engineering program, you should make sure that it's accredited by ABET. If it isn't, your degree may not help you get a job after graduation.
Many employers prefer to hire candidates who have work experience, even for their entry-level positions. Getting an internship while in college can fulfill this requirement, and you should pursue one if you're able. To learn about the internship opportunities available to you, visit your college's career center.
If you're still and high school and you're considering a career in this field, taking advanced math and science courses can help prepare you for the job. Biology, calculus, chemistry, and physics all have real world applications in this occupation.
There are currently 15,700 biomedical engineers in the United States, with 1,310 new biomedical engineer job openings created each year.
Biomedical Engineer jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Biomedical Engineer Salaries
Salaries by State
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Biomedical Engineer salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most biomedical engineers make between $64,800 - $108,500 per year, or $31.16 - $52.18 per hour.