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Biomedical Engineers picture    Biomedical Engineers image

Biomedical Engineers

Biomedical engineers use a combination of biology, medical knowledge and engineering principles and practices to create devices and procedures to solve health and medical related problems. They assist in the development and improvement of a wide array of medical instruments and devices such as kidney machines, heart valves and lasers utilized in eye surgeries.

Biomedical engineering includes the fields of image processing, biomechanics, 3D modeling, clinical engineering, medical imaging, bioinstrumentation, genetic engineering and cellular research. Other fields are systems physiology, rehabilitation engineering, biomaterials and tissue engineering.

Some biomedical engineers perform research at universities and hospitals. Some biomedical engineers are employed at hospitals and monitor and maintain complex medical systems. Some of these engineers are employed by companies that make biomedical equipment.

Responsibilities

  • Advise hospital administrators regarding the planning, acquisition and the use of medical equipment
  • Coordinate automated patient monitoring
  • Evaluate the efficiency, effectiveness and safety of biomedical equipment
  • Create computer simulations or models of human biobehavioral systems in order to gather data for measuring or controlling life processes
  • Work with medical imaging systems
  • Design optimal clinical laboratories
  • Learn and apply sports medicine techniques
  • Research new materials to be used for products
  • Design and develop medical diagnostic and clinical instrumentation, equipment and procedures
  • Perform research on the engineering aspects of biological systems of humans and animals

Job Characteristics

Biomedical engineers work in modern well-equipped research centers, hospitals and manufacturing facilities. Many engineers work 40 hours a week. They may have to work overtime to meet deadlines. Biomedical engineers should be creative, analytical and detailed oriented. They should also be able to work well as part of a team.

Employment Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected a 72 percent employment growth for biomedical engineers from 2008 to 2018 which is much faster than the average for all occupations. The aging of the population and an increasing emphasis on health issues will increase demand for better medical equipment and devices designed by biomedical engineers. In addition, the median annual earnings for biomedical engineers in 2008 was $77,400.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

Biomedical engineers need at least a bachelor's degree. Some colleges and universities provide classes and degrees in biomedical engineering. Some biomedical engineering programs provide internships. Some biomedical engineers earn a degree in subjects such as chemical, industrial, electrical or mechanical engineering. Specialized biomedical training is needed.

Some candidates obtain an advanced degree in biomedical engineering or a related subject. Many biomedical engineers, especially those working in research laboratories, need a graduate degree. A broad background is an asset in the field.

Some of the common course programs and areas of study at biomedical engineering schools are physical chemistry and cell structure, molecular bioengineering, medical imaging, biomedical instrument design, biomolecular architecture, cell mechanics, and mechanics of biomaterials. Beneficial courses include physiology, biology, biophysics, biochemistry and medical instrumentation.

Candidates for the occupation should also have a strong background in technical and medical technology. They should also have advanced mathematics skills.

The Accreditation Board for Education and Technology provides accreditation to biomedical engineering programs. The Biomedical Engineering Society is another organization that approves and regulates biomedical engineering degree programs and studies in biomedical sciences.

Biomedical engineers may need to be licensed by the state where they are working. Every state requires licensure for engineers that offer their services directly to the public. Licensure typically requires a degree from an ABET accredited engineering program, four years of relevant work experience and passing a state examination.

Resources

Major Employers

The primary employers are biomedical equipment manufacturers, universities, hospitals and government agencies.

Schools for Biomedical Engineers are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Biomedical Engineers Skills

Below are the skills needed to be biomedical engineers according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Skill NameImportanceCompetence
Critical Thinking4.254.75
Reading Comprehension4.125.12
Complex Problem Solving4.124.62
Judgment and Decision Making4.124.75
Active Listening4.124.38

Biomedical Engineers Abilities

Below are the abilities needed to be biomedical engineers according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Ability NameImportanceCompetence
Inductive Reasoning4.124.75
Deductive Reasoning4.124.75
Written Comprehension4.124.88
Problem Sensitivity44.75
Oral Comprehension45

Biomedical Engineers Knowledge

Below are the knowledge areas needed to be biomedical engineers according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Knowledge AreaImportanceCompetence
Engineering and Technology4.876.5
Computers and Electronics4.375.9
Mathematics4.375.8
Design4.275.8
Biology4.25.6

Biomedical Engineers Work activities

Below are the work activities involved in being biomedical engineers according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

   
Work ActivityImportanceCompetence
Making Decisions and Solving Problems4.675.83
Analyzing Data or Information4.665.73
Getting Information4.595.8
Interacting With Computers4.574.87
Processing Information4.385.8

Biomedical Engineers Work styles

Below are the work styles involved in being biomedical engineers according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

   
Work StyleImportance
Integrity4.63
Cooperation4.43
Attention to Detail4.4
Persistence4.37
Analytical Thinking4.37

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for
Biomedical Engineers

Listed below are the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in Biomedical Engineers jobs , as of 2017

   
Metro AreaTotal EmploymentAnnual Mean Salary
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim1,130 $95,440
San Diego-Carlsbad820 $100,660
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward760 $98,950
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara540 $138,440
Salt Lake City470 $80,680
Cleveland-Elyria380 $75,970
Durham-Chapel Hill300 $75,720
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land300 $84,780
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington290 $111,280
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue260 $96,100

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Employment
Salary

Total employment and salary for professions similar to biomedical engineers

Source : 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; O*NET® 22.1 Database, O*NET OnLine, National Center for O*NET Development, Employment & Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, onetonline.org

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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Biomedical Engineers.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.