Biomedical engineering is the scientific field where medicine and engineering meet, creating a space for researchers to develop solutions to medical problems plaguing mankind across the globe. Biomedical engineers have the opportunity to develop technology or medicine that can change people’s lives for the better in the long run.
From the most sophisticated and innovative groundbreaking technologies, a study of biomedical engineering offers a glimpse of how science can be really practical and beneficial to the human race. If you are looking for a chance to work in a scientific field that will give you research and stay on top of the latest gene editing methods and develop technologies to fight cancer cells or other aids for people, then a biomedical engineering career is for you. Read on and find out how you can join this exciting field.
What is Biomedical Engineering?
This field of science is a combination of principles of engineering with medical research to design services and products to be used in the health sector to improve or enhance people’s well-being. From creating software and medical equipment, biomedical scientists use their scientific knowledge to develop and test innovations in trial settings.
Since its conception, biomedical engineering scientists have created technologies like surgical lasers, artificial hearts, and dialysis machines among others. As technology and research continue to advance, biomedical scientists continue on their quest to design and develop technologies to advance human abilities.
What Do Biomedical Engineers Do?
While many of them will be based in hospitals, clinics, or labs, their work extends to manufacturing companies in the health sector, institutions of higher learning, and the government. Their main focus is medical and engineering research to create products and designs for people to use to improve their well-being.
While there are common duties in this field, specialization is also available, for example, biomaterial engineers work with artificial and natural sources in medical devices and implants and dealing with medical equipment is a specialty for clinical engineers. The genetic structure of organisms is left to genetic engineers while cell structure is the focus of biochemical engineers.
Most biomedical scientists’ work involves:
- Researching new drug treatments
- Building equipment and devices for medical use and medical software for workers in the healthcare sector
- Making available findings for recent research by preparing and publishing reports
- Assessing biomedical equipment to establish efficiency, effectiveness, and safety to use.
How to Become a Biomedical Engineer
If you have a passion for helping people and medicine, a job as a biomedical engineer can be a good opportunity for you. That is coupled with good analytical skills and creativity. An interest in science subjects like mathematics, chemistry, biology, and physics can create a good foundation for anyone wanting to venture into this field.
To become a qualified biomedical scientist, you will need:
- Earn a degree in Biomedical Engineering
- Make yourself available as a volunteer or intern to acquire experience
- Get Licensed
- Remain updated
1. Earn a degree in Biomedical Engineering
A bachelor’s degree of Science in Biomedical Engineering is the most common route taken for people looking to venture into this field. In contrast, those that start with a bachelor’s degree in Science and Engineering may still need to study courses like biomechanics, medical optics, bioinstrumentation, and biological science.
It’s good for prospective biomedical scientists to keep in mind that many employers will require you to have a biomedical engineering certificate obtained from an accredited school by the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET).
Licenses and certifications also require one to have a degree from a college accredited under this board. So before deciding on what program or college to attend, try to find out what or who is accredited to avoid losing money and time.
2. Volunteer or Intern
The best way to get hands-on experience and learn duties aligned to work is by making yourself available as a volunteer or intern at a bioengineering firm.
Undergraduate internship opportunities are usually offered by the Biomedical Engineering Society, so take the opportunity to expand your knowledge, and build valuable skills while gaining experience by enrolling soon after you graduate.
3. Get Licensed
While you may get employed without a license if you want to work for the federal government or states a license is a requirement and can work to your advantage.
You can get two types of licenses; the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) license after writing and passing FE exams by the National Council of Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) or you can get the PE (Principle and Practice of Engineering) license by writing the Principle and Practice Engineering test that can only be taken if you have worked for at least four years in the field.
This exam will test your competency as an operating engineer and once you pass you will be able to use the PE seal. The FE license can help you when looking for consultancy and managerial jobs.
4. Remain Updated
With the constant research and findings happening in biomedical engineering, what you know today may not be what the field is working on tomorrow. So, keep on top of the game. Continue to learn, attend conferences or events set by organizations in the field and join them where you can.
How do you succeed on the job?
Because you continue to work with people as patients and team members your success depends on you having the right skills.
Be a good listener to others but also share your thoughts and ideas with clarity both verbally and in written form.
To create new equipment or devices needed in this field, biomedical engineers must be able to think on their toes and have a sense of creativity.