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Biomedical Engineer
Summary Job Description Education Skills, Abilities and Interests More Information
Job Description

Job CategoryArchitecture & Engineering

Job Description Many biomedical engineers do research, along with life scientists, chemists, and medical scientists, on the engineering aspects of the biological systems of humans and animals. Biomedical engineers also design devices used in various medical procedures, such as the computers used to analyze blood or the laser systems used in corrective eye surgery. They develop artificial organs, imaging systems such as ultrasound, and devices for automating insulin injections or controlling body functions.

Most engineers in this specialty require a sound background in one of the more basic engineering specialties, such as mechanical or electronics engineering, in addition to specialized biomedical training. Some specialties within biomedical engineering include biomaterials, biomechanics, medical imaging, rehabilitation, and orthopedic engineering.

Working ConditionsBiomedical engineers are employed in education, industry, hospitals, research facilities of educational and medical institutions, and government regulatory agencies. They often serve a coordinating or interfacing function, using their background in both the engineering and medical fields.

In industry, they may create designs where an in-depth understanding of living systems and of technology is essential. They may be involved in performance testing of new or proposed products. Government positions often involve product testing and safety, as well as establishing safety standards for devices. In the hospital, biomedical engineers may provide advice on the selection and use of medical equipment and supervise its performance testing and maintenance.

They may also build customized devices for special health-care or research needs. In research institutions, biomedical engineers supervise laboratories and equipment and participate in or direct research activities in collaboration with other researchers with such backgrounds as medicine, physiology, and nursing. Some biomedical engineers are technical advisors for marketing departments of companies, and some are in management positions. They generally work indoors in environmentally controlled conditions, must be very exact and highly accurate in performing their jobs, are often required to wear protective or safety equipment, and require the use of their hands to handle and control objects, tools, or controls.

Salary RangeThe median annual wage of biomedical engineers was $81,540 in May 2010. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $49,690, and the top 10 percent earned more than $126,990.