In Summary - Biomedical Engineer
Biomedical Engineers typically work in the following Career Sectors:
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The Work - Biomedical Engineer
As a biomedical engineer you can work for:
- Industry - innovating and creating designs for new technologies or testing of new technologies for safety and performance.
- Government - product testing and establishing safety standards for medical devices.
- Hospitals - providing advice on the selection and application of medical equipment, as well as supervising its performance testing and maintenance, building customised devices for special health care or research needs.
- Consultancy - providing technical advise for marketing departments of companies.
- Research Centres - supervising laboratories and equipment, and participating in direct research activities in collaboration with other researchers with such backgrounds as medicine, physiology, and nursing.
Biomedical engineers combine their knowledge of engineering and medical problems to design, develop, test and maintain equipment for the medical profession. Their work is crucial to modern medical practice, which relies on highly sophisticated equipment such as X-ray machines, anaesthetic equipment, automated blood testing machines and machines that can take over the function of the heart, lungs and kidneys.
Biomedical engineers may be involved in health care delivery, working with patients alongside their clinical colleagues. Some biomedical engineers work in large departments that cover a range of medical physics activities, while others are part of small rehabilitation teams that include doctors, nurses, and therapists to design instruments and introduce new technical procedures.
Research is essential to biomedical engineering. For example, biomedical engineers may work on prosthetic devices (artificial limbs, joints and implants).
Biomedical engineers have developed an understanding of human anatomy, so they know how limbs work and what enables them to move. They also research the materials used to make the prosthetic devices, looking for the most durable and comfortable materials possible. Research and development may take place in hospitals while construction takes place in manufacturing companies.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Conduct research, along with life scientists, chemists, and medical scientists, on the engineering aspects of the biological systems of humans and animals.
- Design and develop medical diagnostic and clinical instrumentation, equipment, and procedures, using the principles of engineering and biobehavioral sciences.
- Teach biomedical engineering or disseminate knowledge about field through writing or consulting.
- Research new materials to be used for products, such as implanted artificial organs.
- Develop models or computer simulations of human biobehavioral systems to obtain data for measuring or controlling life processes.
- Adapt or design computer hardware or software for medical science uses.
- Diagnose and interpret bioelectric data, using signal processing techniques.
- Design and deliver technology to assist people with disabilities.
- Evaluate the safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of biomedical equipment.
- Manage team of engineers by creating schedules, tracking inventory, creating and using budgets, and overseeing contract obligations and deadlines.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Interests - Biomedical Engineer
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalist's interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.
Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results and prefer action to talking and discussing.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
You must have strong engineering skills combined and the ability to develop knowledge of medical problems. You must enjoy solving these problems, using a combination of logic and creativity. This is a vital, fast-moving area, so you must have commitment, perseverance and the willingness to keep at the forefront of advancing technology.
Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are needed to work as part of a team, for example, with doctors, nurse and therapists.
Biomedical engineers need strong organisational skills to plan their own and other people's work, and to co-ordinate resources.
Entry Requirements - Biomedical Engineer
Education in the areas of both medicine, and engineering are necessary for those aiming to work in this area. Engineering principles are used to understand and control biological systems and therefore also require a working knowledge of physiology, anatomy and life sciences.
Biomedical engineers typically complete an appropriate engineering degree, but graduates also come from backgrounds in Mechanical and Electronic Engineering, Biomedical Science, Materials Science and Physics.
Graduates may go on to join a manufacturers' Graduate Training Scheme, which offers structured training and learning in a specific field.
Last Updated: October, 2014
Pay & Salary - Biomedical Engineer
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 24k - 80k
Last Updated: March, 2013
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.