In this article, we will explore the biomedical engineer job description, how to become one, and what the outlook for the career looks like. We will also discuss the day-to-day experience of being one.
A biomedical engineer is in charge of the design and construction of medical devices, equipment, and software. They combine the physics, math, and engineering knowledge they have with the needs of the healthcare and medical fields. Biomedical engineer is a highly in-demand profession that requires a strong education background in the necessary fields.
Job Overview: What Does A Biomedical Engineer Do?
A biomedical engineer is like many other engineers, in that he or she designs computers, software, and devices. The difference is the connection to medicine and health care delivery. They share many characteristics with engineers, like work hours, corporate structure, and connection to academic research. However, everything they do is to improve medical care, care delivery, or some other aspect of the healthcare industry. They need to have at least a bachelor’s in biomedical engineering to be able to get a job. This is an in-demand field, but also a competitive one.
Biomedical Engineer Job Duties
- Participate in medical trials and research to evaluate the effectiveness of medical devices.
- Design and build medical devices, prosthetic limbs, research software, data-gathering tools, monitoring tools, and other items.
- Carry out repair and support for existing devices.
- Communicate with biologists, doctors, and other medical professionals to identify roles for engineering approaches or to describe new biomedical innovations that might apply to research or clinical cases.
- Write evaluations and reports on the outcomes of medical devices, manuals for the usage of such devices, or guidelines for how doctors should prescribe and recommend them.
Biomedical Engineer Job Essential Skills
Mathematical and design skills. Like many other types of engineers, biomedical engineers need the technical ability to design and build a physical device or virtual software. This requires math skills, intuition, knowledge, and the ability to plan and test during the building process.
Medical knowledge. Biomedical engineers have to know about currently unsolved medical problems and the potential role of engineering in solving them. They also need to know how medical devices and software are supporting medical care right now, so they don’t duplicate existing work. They should understand the different areas of medicine, so they know where to go if they have questions or want to learn more about a given topic.
Becoming a Biomedical Engineer
Like other forms of engineering, biomedical engineering relies on a rigorous bachelor’s program in the subject, followed by on-the-job training in a specific area. There are no further licenses or certifications you need.
Qualifications and Training
A potential biomedical engineer should attend a school that has a specific degree in biomedical engineering. It is possible to start with a degree in another area of engineering, but it is generally necessary to go back and get a degree in biomedical engineering later on to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills.
The additional connection to the medical field means there is much more to learn beyond just the principles of engineering. The first qualification of a biomedical engineer is their degree. This is not just because some schools have a better reputation, although that helps. Many schools focus on particular areas and subjects, so the specific school tells potential employers what kind of experience and knowledge the graduates from that program will have. Subsequent training takes place at the company, hospital, lab, or other employer that hires the engineer.
It is increasingly common for biomedical engineering programs to build relationships with nearby employers and to place interns with them. This can be a valuable source of experience and a way to see how the day-to-day experience in a particular workplace feels.
However, it is generally not absolutely necessary to have an internship in order to get a job as a biomedical engineer. Still, in some cases, employers will choose their interns first when they are filling new positions, so especially qualified internships might end with a job offer in hand.
Bioengineering is much like other types of engineering when it comes to the working hours in the biomedical engineer job description. The standard is a basic 40-hour week. There are occasional moments of crunch time when it is necessary to work more than that, but this isn’t quite as common in biomedical engineering as it is in, for example, civil engineering.
Most weeks you should work standard hours. Deadlines for submitting grant proposals and research papers, or client deadlines for products can create overtime. This can also depend on the culture of the employer.
Job Outlook & Advancement Opportunities
Moving up in biomedical engineering generally revolves around getting further education. Some choose to go to medical school, biology PhDs or master’s programs, law school, an MBA program, or some other related field. This comes after they have spent some time working as an engineer and learned about both the needs of the industry and what they have to contribute to it.
Some people get more into research, others become consultants or advisors, and a few become advocates. The path forward is fairly flexible and depends on what each person feels they want to do with their knowledge and skills.
Biomedical engineering, like other health care careers, is poised for significant growth. To take advantage of this opportunity, however, the first step is a degree in biomedical engineering. That is the key that unlocks the door to entry-level jobs. After that, work experience becomes the most important source of training. The field pays well and there is high demand for trained biomedical engineers to contribute to the growing health care industry in the years ahead.
We hope this guide to the biomedical engineer job description and the things you should expect from the job has helped you decide whether this is a potential career path for you or not.