Biomedical/Medical Engineering

Overview of Biomedical/Medical Engineering

Biomedical engineering combines the knowledge of biology and medicine with the problem solving approach of engineering.  Biomedical engineers specialize in medical equipment that operates different biological functions.  They also work closely with other engineers to research and develop different types of medical equipment.

Biomedical/Medical Engineering

Biomedical engineers specialize in work on prosthetics, research on artificial organs, medical equipment, health care information and delivery systems.  Often biomedical engineers have a background in another field of engineering such as mechanical engineering or electrical engineering.  Biomedical engineering has specialties within it that include but are not limited to: biomaterials, biomechanics, medical imaging, rehabilitation engineering, and orthopedic engineering.

Curriculum for Biomedical/Medical Engineering

Students in this field will have to take a wide array of classes because, not only will they have to study engineering and biosciences, but also other areas of engineering.  Most biomedical engineers have backgrounds in other areas of engineering like mechanical or electrical.  From a stand point of biomedical courses, students can expect to take classes similar but not limited to:

  • General Chemistry Lecture
  • Foundations of Engineering
  • Introductory Calculus with Analytic Geometry
  • Elementary Physics
  • Principles of Economics: Microeconomics
  • Biomedical Engineering’
  • Introduction to Organic Chemistry
  • Human Anatomy
  • Digital Circuits Design
  • Advanced Engineering Mathematics
  • Introductory Human Physiology
  • Linear Circuit Theory
  • Calculus for Functions of Several Variables
  • Principles of Cell Biology
  • Bioelectricity
  • Electronics
  • Biomeasurement
  • Probability and Statistics for Engineers
  • Physiological Modeling and Control
  • Medical Image Processing
  • Biomedical Instrumentation Design
  • Neural Engineering
  • Engineering Materials
  • Transfer Operations
  • Bioinformatics
  • Electromagnetic Fields 
  • Communication Systems
  • Computer Communications
  • Digital Integrated Circuit Design
  • Fluid Mechanics

It is important to note that most biomedical engineers have a background in other areas of advanced engineering like mechanical engineering or electrical engineering.  This is an interdisciplinary program that combines many aspects of both engineering and biology with a lot of work in computing systems.  It should be emphasized that staying in touch with your advisor on a regular basis is important.  Not only will you be coordinating between engineering and biology along with medical classes, but you will need to be taking course work in mechanical or electrical engineering as well to stay competitive.  One interdisciplinary program is confusing enough but adding aspects of another will make things complicated so make sure to check in with someone at the school who can keep you on the right track.

How to Enroll in Biomedical/Medical Engineering

There are many areas that one can enter with a Bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering so picking a school that has the biomedical program you want is important, but also look into what other engineering programs the school offers.  If you are interested in developing biological treatment options for fighting diseases, a school that has a strong biochemical engineering program will give you a great background.  If you are interested in prosthetics, a school with a solid electrical engineering program on top of their biomedical engineering program would be a plus.

There are also graduate degrees in related fields like a Master’s degree in biotechnology or genetic engineering or even a Doctorate degree in biomechanical engineering could be of interest.

Benefits and Rewards of Biomedical/Medical Engineering

Biomedical engineering is a great field for outside-the-box problem solvers.  Whether you want to create the next breakthrough in artificial organs or you want craft new innovative instruments for medical testing, this field will give you the expertise to approach these areas from a new angle.  Some of the areas that biomedical engineers work in are:

  • Research and development of prosthetic limbs
  • Research and development or artificial organs
  • Researching new biological treatments options for diseases.
  • Improving and operating medical care information and delivery systems
  • Medical imaging
  • rehabilitation
Job Opportunities in Biomedical/Medical Engineering

There are opportunities in both research and practical areas for someone with a biomedical engineering degree.  Someone with a Bachelor’s degree can work in medical imaging and healthcare systems management or go into the research side.  It is important to remember that most people in this field do have a background in some other form of engineering.  As of May 2008, the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the median income of a biomedical engineer to be $77,400 annually.

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