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Career profile Biomedical Engineer

Also known as Biomedical Electronics Technician, Biomedical Engineer, Biomedical Engineering Technician, Biomedical Equipment Technician (BMET), Biomedical Technician, Engineer, Process Engineer, Research Engineer, Research Scientist

Biomedical Engineer

Also known as Biomedical Electronics Technician, Biomedical Engineer, Biomedical Engineering Technician

Interests Profile
  • Investigative
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$56,590 - $149,440 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Critical Thinking
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
Knowledge Areas
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Mathematics
Core tasks
  • Review existing manufacturing processes to identify opportunities for yield improvement or reduced process variation.
  • Recommend process formulas, instrumentation, or equipment specifications, based on results of bench or pilot experimentation.
  • Read current scientific or trade literature to stay abreast of scientific, industrial, or technological advances.
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What does a Biomedical Engineer do?

Biomedical Engineers apply knowledge of engineering, biology, chemistry, computer science, and biomechanical principles to the design, development, and evaluation of biological, agricultural, and health systems and products, such as artificial organs, prostheses, instrumentation, medical information systems, and health management and care delivery systems.

What kind of tasks does a Biomedical Engineer perform regularly?

Biomedical Engineers are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Conduct research, along with life scientists, chemists, and medical scientists, on the engineering aspects of the biological systems of humans and animals.
  • Adapt or design computer hardware or software for medical science uses.
  • Evaluate the safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of biomedical equipment.
  • Develop models or computer simulations of human biobehavioral systems to obtain data for measuring or controlling life processes.
  • Research new materials to be used for products, such as implanted artificial organs.
  • Write documents describing protocols, policies, standards for use, maintenance, and repair of medical equipment.
  • Conduct training or in-services to educate clinicians and other personnel on proper use of equipment.
  • Analyze new medical procedures to forecast likely outcomes.
  • Advise hospital administrators on the planning, acquisition, and use of medical equipment.

The above responsibilities are specific to Biomedical Engineers. More generally, Biomedical Engineers are involved in several broader types of activities:

Analyzing Data or Information
Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Processing Information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

What is a Biomedical Engineer salary?

The median salary for a Biomedical Engineer is $92,620, and the average salary is $98,340. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Biomedical Engineer salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Biomedical Engineers earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Biomedical Engineers earn less than $56,590 per year, 25% earn less than $71,830, 75% earn less than $118,930, and 90% earn less than $149,440.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Biomedical Engineers is expected to change by 6.2%, and there should be roughly 1,400 open positions for Biomedical Engineers every year.

Median annual salary
$92,620
Typical salary range
$56,590 - $149,440
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
6.2%

What personality traits are common among Biomedical Engineers?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Biomedical Engineer are usually higher in their Investigative and Realistic interests.

Biomedical Engineers typically have very strong Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Also, Biomedical Engineers typically have strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Biomedical Engineer tend to value Independence, Working Conditions, and Achievement.

Most importantly, Biomedical Engineers very strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Second, Biomedical Engineers strongly value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Lastly, Biomedical Engineers strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Biomedical Engineers must consistently demonstrate qualities such as integrity, cooperation, and attention to detail.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Biomedical Engineers, ranked by importance:

Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Persistence
Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.

What education and training do Biomedical Engineers need?

Many Biomedical Engineers will have a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Biomedical Engineers usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Educational degrees among Biomedical Engineers

  • 0.3% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 7.0% completed high school or secondary school
  • 4.2% completed some college coursework
  • 8.1% earned a Associate's degree
  • 42.3% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 26.6% earned a Master's degree
  • 11.6% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Biomedical Engineers

Biomedical Engineers may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as engineering and technology, computers and electronics, or mathematics knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Biomedical Engineers might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Engineering and Technology
Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Design
Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Biology
Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.

Important Abilities needed by Biomedical Engineers

Biomedical Engineers must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Biomedical Engineers need abilities such as written comprehension, deductive reasoning, and inductive reasoning in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Biomedical Engineers, ranked by their relative importance.

Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Deductive Reasoning
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Inductive Reasoning
The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Critical Skills needed by Biomedical Engineers

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Biomedical Engineers frequently use skills like critical thinking, reading comprehension, and active listening to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Biomedical Engineers, ranked by their relative importance.

Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Complex Problem Solving
Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Judgment and Decision Making
Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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