|Activities||Apply knowledge of engineering, biology, and biomechanical principles to the design, development, and evaluation of biological and health systems and products, such as artificial organs, prostheses, instrumentation, medical information systems, and health management and care delivery systems.|
|Median Income||$81,540 per year in 2010|
|Work Context & Conditions||Biomedical engineers are employed in education, industry, hospitals, research facilities of educational and medical institutions, and government agencies. They often serve a coordinating or interfacing function, using their background in both the engineering and medical fields. |
|Minimum Education Requirements||Bachelor's Degree|
|Skills||Monitoring, Critical Thinking, Equipment Selection, Mathematics, Active Learning, Judgment and Decision Making, Operation Monitoring, Operations Analysis, Coordination, Reading Comprehension, Speaking, Technology Design, Science, Quality Control Analysis, Complex Problem Solving|
|Abilities||Oral Expression, Number Facility, Visualization, Deductive Reasoning, Problem Sensitivity, Written Comprehension, Near Vision, Speech Clarity, Mathematical Reasoning, Information Ordering, Inductive Reasoning, Written Expression, Oral Comprehension, Fluency of Ideas, Category Flexibility, Originality|
|Job Category||Architecture & 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 Conditions||Biomedical 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 Range||The 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.|
|Education Required||Biomedical engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from an accredited program to enter the occupation. Alternatively, they can get a bachelor’s degree in a different field of engineering and then either get a graduate degree in biomedical engineering or get on-the-job training in biomedical engineering.|
Prospective biomedical engineering students should take high school science courses, such as chemistry, physics, and biology. They should also take mathematics, including calculus. Courses in drafting or mechanical drawing and computer programming are also useful.
Bachelor’s degree programs in biomedical engineering focus on engineering and biological sciences. Programs include laboratory-based courses in addition to classes in subjects such as fluid and solid mechanics, computer programming, circuit design, and biomaterials. Other required courses include in-depth training in biological sciences, including physiology.
Accredited programs also include substantial training in engineering design. Many programs include co-ops or internships, often with hospitals, to provide students with practical applications as part of their study. Biomedical engineering programs are accredited by ABET (formerly the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology).
|Recommended High School Courses||Biology, Mathematics, English, Chemistry, Physics|
|Postsecondary Instructional Programs||Administration and Management, Public Safety and Security, Education and Training, Mathematics, Design, Physics, Production and Processing, Engineering and Technology, Chemistry, Mechanical|
|Certification and Licensing||None|
Skills, Abilities, & Interests
|Investigative||Involves working with ideas and requires an extensive amount of thinking. |
|Social Status||Looked up to by others in their company and their community.|
|Achievement||Get a feeling of accomplishment.|
|Creativity||Try out your own ideas.|
|Security||Have steady employment.|
|Ability Utilization||Make use of individual abilities.|
|Working Conditions||Good working conditions.|
|Activity||Busy all the time.|
|Autonomy||Plan work with little supervision.|
|Responsibility||Make decisions on your own.|
|Monitoring||Assess how well someone is doing when learning or doing something.|
|Critical Thinking||Use logic and analysis to identify the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches.|
|Equipment Selection||Determine the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.|
|Mathematics||Use math to solve problems.|
|Active Learning||Work with new material or information to grasp its implications.|
|Judgment and Decision Making||Be able to weigh the relative costs and benefits of a potential action. |
|Operation Monitoring||Watch gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.|
|Operations Analysis||Analyze needs and product requirements to create a design.|
|Coordination||Adjust actions in relation to others' actions.|
|Reading Comprehension||Understand written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.|
|Speaking||Talk to others to effectively convey information.|
|Technology Design||Generate or adapt equipment and technology to serve user needs.|
|Science||Use scientific methods to solve problems.|
|Quality Control Analysis||Conduct tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.|
|Complex Problem Solving||Solving novel, ill-defined problems in complex, real-world settings.|
|Oral Expression||Able to convey information and ideas through speech in ways that others will understand.|
|Number Facility||Able to add, subtract, multiply, and divide quickly and correctly.|
|Visualization||Able to imagine how something will look after it's moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.|
|Deductive Reasoning||Able to apply general rules to specific problems to come up with logical answers, including deciding whether an answer makes sense.|
|Problem Sensitivity||Able to tell when something is wrong or likely to go wrong. This doesn't involve solving the problem, just recognizing that there is a problem.|
|Written Comprehension||Able to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.|
|Near Vision||Able to see details of objects at a close range (within a few feet of the observer).|
|Speech Clarity||Able to speak clearly so listeners understand.|
|Mathematical Reasoning||Able to understand and organize mathematical problems and to know which mathematical methods or formulas to use to solve them.|
|Information Ordering||Able to correctly follow rules for arranging things or actions in a certain order, including numbers, words, pictures, procedures, and logical operations. |
|Inductive Reasoning||Able to combine separate pieces of information, or specific answers to problems, to form general rules or conclusions. This includes coming up with a logical explanation for why seemingly unrelated events occur together.|
|Written Expression||Able to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.|
|Oral Comprehension||Able to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.|
|Fluency of Ideas||Come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).|
|Category Flexibility||Generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.|
|Originality||Come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.|
|Related Jobs||Engineer, Chemical|
|Job Outlook||Employment of biomedical engineers is projected to grow by 62 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. However, because it is a small occupation, the fast growth will result in only about 9,700 new jobs over the 10-year period.|
The aging baby-boom generation is expected to increase demand for biomedical devices and procedures, such as hip and knee replacements, because this generation seeks to maintain its healthy and active lifestyle. Additionally, as the public has become aware of medical advances, increasing numbers of people are seeking biomedical advances for themselves from their physicians.
Biomedical engineers will likely experience more demand for their services because of the breadth of activities they engage in, made possible by the diverse nature of their training.
Biomedical engineers work with medical scientists, other medical researchers, and manufacturers to address a wide range of injuries and physical disabilities. Their ability to work in different activities with other professionals is enlarging the range of applications for biomedical engineering products and services, particularly in healthcare.
|More Information||Biomedical Engineering Society|
|References||Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Biomedical Engineers, |
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/biomedical-engineers.htm
Biomedical Engineering Society, 8401 Corporate Dr., Suite 110, Landover, MD 20785-2224, on the Internet at http://www.bmes.org.
O*NET on the internet at http://online.onetcenter.org/link/summary/17-2031.00