Biomedical engineering, sometimes known as bioengineering, can be defined as a discipline that is concerned with developing scientific and technological innovations aimed at the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of pathologies that can improve the quality of life and safety of people's care. In this sense, biomedical engineering essentially integrates the knowledge of engineering sciences with biomedical sciences and clinical practice.
Medical Informatics is an area of biomedical engineering and its purpose is to collaborate in health through informatics using technology to automate the processes of collection, storage, processing and communication of information for use in the expansion of knowledge as a basis in appropriate and timely decision-making.
This area seeks the above by focusing its work on various specialties such as Computer Communication Standards in the area of Health, integration of Information Technology, signal processing and biomedical images, communications and health equipment, databases and Computer Networks among others.
Bioinstrumentation is another essential part of biomedical engineering. Bioinstrumentation covers the knowledge of the application and operation of almost all the equipment and systems used in health institutions, clinical laboratories, and imaging in all its modes.
The equipment of the different medical specialties such as Cardiology, Physiatry, Neonatology, Anesthesia, Audiology, Neurology, Renal dialysate, Gynecoobstetrics, Radiology, Ultrasound, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, and Nuclear Medicine are considered.
Also, in Bioinstrumentation, intelligent prosthetic systems, the equipment, and the application of psychophysiological systems, the principles of telemedicine, and medical robotics are studied.
Thanks to the knowledge imparted in this area, biomedical engineers can choose, compare, install, calibrate, repair, and design medical equipment.
What exactly does a biomedical engineer do?
Biomedical engineers basically develop life-saving and life-enhancing technologies. Some such technologies that have been designed till now include prosthetics such as artificial limb replacements and dentures, implanted devices like pacemakers, insulin pumps and artificial organs, surgical systems and devices, and much more.
Physical therapy devices and wearable tech are also some innovations of biomedical engineering.
The concept of biomedical engineering goes back thousands of years. The prosthetic toe made of wood and leather is a great example that was found on an Egyptian mummy, 3000 years old. Even before that, walking sticks and simple crutches were quite common and were used as engineered assistive devices by early biomedical engineers.
Therefore, it would not be wrong to say that biomedical engineering has evolved by leaps and bounds through the advances in science and technology.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics believes that the basic work of biomedical engineers includes designing and developing medical equipment, systems as well as devices. This work requires in-depth knowledge and know-how of the operational principles of all the equipment being used, irrespective of whether it is mechanical, biological, or electronic.
Moreover, they must also know about the applications meant for each equipment. Therefore, a biomedical engineer must have some critical skills to be able to keep up with all the potential new applications and technological advances in the field of medicine and healthcare.
It is also pertinent to note here that even though the work of biomedical engineers is closely related to medicine itself, they are by no means doctors. Biomedical engineers design as well as test life-saving devices to change the face of medicine.
What is the average salary of a biomedical engineer?
According to statistics generated by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016, biomedical engineers earned an average annual income of $85,620. Talking about the low end, 25% of them earned $65,700 annually while the remaining 75% earned over this amount.
In addition to that, in the same year, around 21,300 people were employed as biomedical engineers in the US.
What kind of jobs do biomedical engineers get?
Biomedical engineering is definitely one of the hottest fields of study today, and biomedical engineering jobs are also some of the highest paying in the present times. This career path is the perfect amalgamation of engineering and healthcare.
Some typical specialties of biomedical engineering include Biomaterials, Bioinstrumentation, Clinical Engineering, Medical Imaging, Systems Physiology, and Rehabilitation Engineering.
A Manufacturing Engineer is a prevalent job title in the field. As a manufacturing engineer, your responsibilities will include designing and developing medical products such as medical instruments, prosthetics, and imaging devices.
Quality Engineer is another job you could get. Quality Engineers basically examine medical products to assess their quality and ensure that they meet the set specifications and standards.
They also offer changes wherever necessary for the improvement of devices and equipment.
You can also become a Software Engineer with your biomedical engineering degree. Here, you will be in charge of the design and development of computer programs for a number of medical applications.
These computer programs enable medical personnel to manipulate as well as display the recorded data by other medical devices.
A Physician Assistant and Researcher are two more biomedical engineering jobs you could consider. Researchers usually spend their time learning more about the most optimum solutions to medical problems.
They seek information to aid in the adequate design of products to ensure that the equipment does not pose any kind of threat to its users. In the same vein, many people with biomedical engineering degrees even move on to become doctors.
However, that will require you to get a medical degree in addition to your biomedical engineering degree.
Studying biomedical engineering can potentially help you hold on to an impressive job title with a better salary. There is absolutely no shortage of biomedical engineering jobs if you have set your mind to this career path.
Moreover, you will be working in a cutting-edge sector with a super cool job of designing and developing lifesaving equipment for people who need it the most.