Biomedical Engineers Career Information
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Nature of the WorkBy combining biology and
medicine with engineering, biomedical engineers develop devices and procedures
that solve medical and health-related problems. Many 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.
EmploymentBiomedical engineers held about 7,200 jobs in 2009. Manufacturing industries employed 30 percent of all biomedical engineers, primarily in the medical instruments and supplies industries. Many others worked for health services. Some also worked on a contract basis for government agencies or as independent consultants.
of biomedical engineers is expected to increase faster than the average for
all occupations through 2010.
The aging population and the focus on health issues will increase the demand
for better medical devices and systems designed by biomedical engineers. For
example, computer-assisted surgery and cellular and tissue engineering are being
more heavily researched and are developing rapidly. In addition, the rehabilitation
and orthopedic engineering specialties are growing quickly, increasing the need
for more biomedical engineers. Along with the demand for more sophisticated
medical equipment and procedures is an increased concern for cost efficiency
and effectiveness that also will increase the need for biomedical engineers.
EarningsMedian annual earnings of biomedical engineers were $57,480 in 2009. The middle 50 percent earned between $45,760 and $74,120. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $36,860 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $90,530.
According to a 2009 salary survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, bachelor's degree candidates in biomedical engineering received starting offers averaging $47,850 a year and master's degree candidates, on average, were offered $62,600.
Engineers apply the principles of physical science and mathematics in their work. Other workers who use scientific and mathematical principles include architects, except landscape and naval; engineering and natural sciences managers; computer and information systems managers; computer programmers; computer software engineers; mathematicians; drafters; engineering technicians; sales engineers; science technicians; and physical and life scientists, including agricultural and food scientists, biological scientists, conservation scientists and foresters, atmospheric scientists, chemists and materials scientists, environmental scientists and hydrologists, geoscientists, and physicists and astronomers.
Sources of Additional InformationFor further information about biomedical engineers, contact:
Biomedical Engineering Society, 8401 Corporate Dr., Suite 225, Landover, MD 20785-2224. Internet: http://www.bmes.org