Biomedical engineering is the application of both engineering principles and knowledge
of medicine and biology in an effort to improve healthcare and medicine. It is often considered a
broad field because it covers both engineering and health sciences however a career in
biomedical engineering can be extremely specific through additional schooling such as attending
medical school after majoring in biomedical engineering in college.
The duties and responsibilities of biomedical engineers can differ based on the focus. For
example, biomedical engineers with a mechanical engineering focus work to design new devices
and machines that are used in healthcare facilities such as hospitals. This can also include being
responsible for the repairing of theses devices and machines. Many hospitals have biomedical
engineers on site to fix medical machinery such as x-ray machines. For biomedical engineers
with a focus on the biology and medical aspects, their responsibilities revolve around research
and biomaterials. Biomedical engineers research and develop new materials that are safe to use
within the human body such as engineered tissues and artificial organs. All biomedical engineers
collaborate with engineers and/or health care professionals such as physical therapists and
doctors to improve lives.
Biomedical engineers typically work in hospitals and research facilities. Military
organizations often hire biomedical engineers to design and develop medical devices that can be
used in the field as well as prosthetics for wounded veterans. For example, the Defense
Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), hired DEKA (an agency created by inventor
Dean Kamen) to develop the LUKE arm, a technologically advanced prosthetic arm, for veterans
missing limbs. Other research based biomedical engineers work for medical research companies
and universities. Biomedical engineers also work in a hospital setting, working with doctors and
surgeons to apply and work with their designs as well as repairing technical medical equipment.
Biomedical Engineers make an average of $86, 200 yearly. This is largely due to the high
demand for the development of new medical technology that biomedical engineers offer.
Medical Technology is in constant need of improvement and development. Because of this, the
biomedical engineering field is constantly growing. Employment is expected to increase by more
than 20% in the next 10 years and can be expected to increase even more over time. Because
Biomedical Engineering is a rapidly developing career that is relatively new, the majority of
careers are found in rapidly developing areas of the country such as cities specifically New York
City and Philadelphia.
While biomedical engineering can be broken up into several specialties, there are three
Chamard 2
main specialties most widely known. Bioinstrumentation involves the development of devices
used in diagnostics and the treatment of diseases. Biomechanics, one of the most common
specialties and most involved in mechanical engineering, involves the designing and testing of
artificial biological devices such as organs and limbs. The final major specialty, biomaterials,
involves the development of artificial tissues and research into biologically safe materials. Other
specialties include system physiology, clinical engineering, and rehabilitation engineering.
Biomedical Engineering is a unique field unlike any other. Working together with doctors
and other engineers in both hospital and laboratory settings, biomedical engineers bridge
technology and medicine to develop machines and materials that create longer, fuller lives.
Biomedical engineers are constantly improving, inventing, and creating new ideas in order to
improve and sometimes save lives.