What Is Biomedical Engineering?

Biomedical engineering is the use of engineering principles for biological or medical research. Most jobs in biomedical engineering require a master's degree or a doctorate, but some entry-level positions are available to candidates with a bachelor's degree. This article provides a brief description of this field. Schools offering Biomedical Engineering Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

The Biomedical Engineering Field

Biomedical engineering combines engineering and biology, largely for the purpose of medical care. Biomedical engineering is a rapidly growing specialty within the larger field of engineering. Graduates from accredited biomedical engineering schools may go on to careers in manufacturing equipment or pharmaceuticals, conducting research, or working within hospitals.

Important Facts About Biomedical Engineering

Degrees Bachelor's, Master's, Ph.D.
Median Annual Pay (2014) $86,950 (for biomedical engineers)
Job Outlook (2012-2022) +27% (for biomedical engineers)
Entry Level Education Bachelor's degree

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Field Overview

The field of biomedical engineering includes a number of specializations. Some common specialties within biomedical engineering are tissue and genetic engineering, the development of medical diagnostic and treatment devices, and the creation of prosthetics.

  • Tissue and Genetic Engineering: Tissue engineering is the study of living cells. Biomedical engineers use a combination of mechanical equipment and biological materials to regenerate tissue and to grow replacement organs such as livers and gallbladders that can be transplanted into medical patients. Another aspect of biomedical engineering is genetic engineering, which involves manipulating molecular material to change genetic structure. Genetic engineering is often used in farming to alter crops to make them larger or more capable of withstanding unfavorable growing conditions.
  • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Equipment Design: Biomedical engineers often apply their expertise to bioinstrumentation, which is the research and development of medical equipment used in testing for and treating a variety of diseases. Dialysis machines, blood sugar level monitors, pacemakers, and imaging equipment like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems are just a few of the items created and developed through biomedical engineering techniques.
  • Prosthetics: Biomedical engineering concepts are essential for creating prosthetic limbs, which is part of the rehabilitation engineering specialty. Biomedical engineers make the items such as facial prosthetics and replacement limbs as realistic and functional as possible.

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