Pursuing a Career in Biomedical Engineering
You’re currently finishing your degree in mechanical engineering and now on an internship in a company that’s an injection mold manufacturer. You wanted to do your internship in a company that specializes in the manufacturing of biomedical devices, but no slots were available.
You like mechanical engineering, but a recent family tragedy left your little brother with his left leg amputated just above the knee. You promised your brother that once you’re done studying, you will try to do something to help him walk properly again. This is the main reason why you wanted exposure to a company that does biomedical engineering work. You’re almost sure that’s where you want to take your career, but you aren’t familiar with what to expect yet. What’s in store for someone wishing to pursue a career in biomedical engineering?
A Brief Background on Biomedical Engineering
Data suggest that there are about 4.3 million in the workforce involved in biomedical engineering. In 2016, more than 10,000 degrees were awarded for biomedical engineering. Compared to nurses, doctors, or accountants, those are still very few numbers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the median salary for a biomedical engineer is nearly $89,000. Other reports, however, suggest that the figure is closer to $110,000.
You might think of biomedical engineering as the ménage à trois amongst science, medicine, and engineering. If you feel like you need to work in the health sector, but you also want to design and create things, then getting into the biomedical engineering field is for you. Here are a few things to consider about the career path to this field:
- Problem solvers. One of the key characteristics of people in this field is their ability to solve problems. If you have developed or have this inherent quality as a problem-solver, this field is good for you. What you will do is combine engineering principles with medical sciences to solve health problems. Reflect on this very well and determine if you have the passion and possess this required quality.
- Design and analytical skills. You need to be creative and have an eye for design. High aptitude in numbers, measurements, and analysis are also necessary. You must also have significant knowledge of medical care computer systems and applications.
- Versatile field. While the medical field or the health sector are frequent touchpoints for biomedical engineering, it offers diverse work setting possibilities. You can work in a hospital setting, government agencies, research institutions, or manufacturing companies. This means that you can refine your focus as you progress in your career.
- Post-graduate studies. To move your career further down a successful path, consider taking up post-graduate studies, including a Ph.D. Science, technology, and computer development is advancing at a rapid pace almost every year. You need to keep abreast of the developments that are taking place in these environments. The solutions almost always need to be smaller, faster, or more convenient. It also needs to be affordable for the consumer.
While you won’t be working with patients as doctors do, your creations as a biomedical engineer will be used by patients. Excellent collaboration and communication skills are also essential qualities that you must possess because you will be working with different kinds of people. You can find more pointers, but these four can serve as critical guideposts for you.