Biomedical engineers analyze and design solutions to problems in biology and medicine, with the goal of improving the quality and effectiveness of patient care.
Biomedical engineers typically do the following:
Biomedical engineers may design instruments, devices, and software; bring together knowledge from many technical sources to develop new procedures; or conduct research needed to solve clinical problems.
They often serve a coordinating function, using their background in both engineering and medicine. In industry, they may create products where an in-depth understanding of living systems and technology is essential. They frequently work in research and development or in quality assurance.
Biomedical engineers design electrical circuits, software to run medical equipment, or computer simulations to test new drug therapies. They also design and build artificial body parts to replace injured limbs. In some cases, they develop the materials needed to make the replacement body parts. They also design rehabilitative exercise equipment.
The work of these engineers spans many professional fields. For example, although their expertise is based in engineering and biology, they often design computer software to run complicated instruments, such as three-dimensional x-ray machines. Alternatively, many of these engineers use their knowledge of chemistry and biology to develop new drug therapies. Others draw heavily on mathematics and statistics to build models to understand the signals transmitted by the brain or heart.
Some specialty areas within biomedical engineering include bioinstrumentation; biomaterials; biomechanics; cellular, tissue, and genetic engineering; clinical engineering; medical imaging; orthopedic surgery; rehabilitation engineering; and systems physiology.
Some people with training in biomedical engineering become professors. For more information, see the profile on postsecondary teachers.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition