How Do I Become A Biomedical Engineer?
Biomedical engineers are professionals who provide solutions to biological and medical problems. They specialize in designing and coming up with artificial internal organs, artificial devices and similar products as well as biomedical equipment that help in the diagnosis of medical issues. The ultimate goal of biomedical engineers is to make patient care more effective.
The educational entry point for this profession is a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering. This generally takes four years to obtain. If they do not wish to major in biomedical engineering, they can still get a bachelor’s degree in another engineering field. They would need to obtain a graduate degree in biomedical engineering or an on-the-job training in biomedical engineering to be able to enter the profession.
High school students who are interested in this field should fortify their knowledge of the sciences and math. This means taking courses like chemistry, biology and physics. Calculus and other math courses will also help prepare students for this field while subjects in mechanical drawing would and computer programming would definitely hone their skills in these critical areas. Doing advanced readings on human anatomy and engineering and design would also be good preparation for aspiring biomedical engineers. Those who have a bent for inventing things would also do well to continue to hone their knowledge by reading scientific books and journals, especially when it comes to inventions that have to do with patient care and biomedical equipment.
Potential biomedical engineers should enroll in ABET-accredited biomedical engineering programs where the lessons will be a mix of engineering and biological sciences taught both in the classroom as well as in the laboratory. Students will be taught topics on fluid and solid mechanics, biomaterials, computer programming, biological sciences and circuit design. Engineering design is also going to be greatly discussed in these programs.
In addition to regular classes, biomedical engineering programs also have linkages with hospitals where their students can take their internships that provide them with a real world application of their lessons.
Biomedical engineers who wish to take supervisory positions or lead a team of researchers must obtain a postgraduate degree. Depending on their interest and where they want their career to lead, some biomedical engineers take up dentistry or proceed to medical school to become doctors. They do this so they can merge their knowledge in these fields to focus on making devices that would help them improve the lives of patients who are diagnosed with various conditions.
For instance, they can make devices that would allow them to help paralyzed patients move their muscles using electrical impulses. Those who are more interested in the legal aspect of biomedical engineering get law degrees and focus their legal practice on becoming patent attorneys.
To succeed as biomedical engineers requires specific skills in addition to passing the rigorous educational requirements. For starters, they must be analytical since they need to determine what patients need and strive to provide the needed solutions for it. They should also have keen problem solving skills since they are handling problems that involve complex biological systems. Math skills are also going to be important because their work involves the design, analysis and repair of biomedical equipment where math principles need to be employed.
Biomedical engineers need to have good interpersonal skills as they will be collaborating with other engineers and medical scientists in their work. They also need to listen to patients, therapists, doctors and business people and gather their input so they can create devices and equipment that would address particular medical problems.
Biomedical engineers are employed mostly in firms that are engaged in the manufacturing of medical equipment and supplies. They also work in scientific research and development services as well as in pharmaceutical and medicine companies. Some of them teach in colleges and universities while others are employed in hospitals.
Biomedical engineering is a fast-growing field, with the employment rate in the next few years set to grow at 27 percent based on government data. The demand will come from the increase in the elderly population who will need biomedical devices and procedures. The need for biomedical engineers will also be fueled by the rest of the population who know the medical advances that have been made in the field and the benefits that biomedical solutions provide to health.