With the marriage of biology and technology seen in fields like biocomputing, there has been a dramatic increase in jobs available in medical bioengineering. Some of the jobs have existed for many years; the first prosthetic leg was invented in 1846. Other jobs in medical engineering are new and come as a result of technology begetting technology. The field is burgeoning, though, and is an exciting career field.
What is Biomedical Engineering?
If you have an image of a peg-legged pirate, you will appreciate the improvement the first prosthetic limb made for amputees. It allowed movement. To develop that simple leg, the inventor had to possess a rudimentary knowledge of how a natural leg moved. He also needed to understand how to translate that movement to a device of wood and metal that would fit the human body. In short, the inventor used medical engineering. According to the Career Cornerstone Center, bioengineering seeks to integrate the engineering sciences with the biomedical sciences and clinical practice. Bioengineers use engineering principles and their knowledge of biology to solve complex medical problems such as developing more natural looking and performing prosthetics and creating vaccines to fight disease. Technology has opened the frontiers of medical engineering, allowing physicians to target cancers with toxins and avoid healthy tissue, operate on babies in-utero and even utilize soldier-cells designed to recognize and destroy diseased cells. That is one of the challenges of biomedical engineering. The field, which first focused on large devices and procedures, is now delving onto the realm of cellular engineering.
What Kind of Training Do Medical Bioengineers Need?
Some of the jobs available in medical bioengineering are assistant positions and require only a high school diploma with some additional training. Generally, entry level jobs require a bachelor's degree in bioengineering and concentrations in specialized engineering fields like biomaterials, which is the field that studies materials used for artificial hearts and joints; bioinstrumentation, which applies engineering principles and measurements to the development of devices that help physicians diagnose and treat illnesses; biomechanics, which is the use of engineering to understand motion in prosthetics and also in movement of fluids such as intravenous delivery, and others. Senior or management positions require advanced degrees.
What are Some Examples of Specific jobs in Medical Bioengineering?
According to Indeed, job listings for medical bioengineering include:
- Scientist II in Molecular Biology – This job is in industry, with a corporation that manufactures consumables. This person prepares samples for study, calibrates instruments, analyzes data and tests software. The job requires a bachelor's degree in molecular biology.
- Staff Scientist in Cellular Biology – This is a position with a pharmaceutical company that is developing vaccines. Applicants must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree and seven years of experience.
- Landscaping and Environmental Tech – This person is responsible for grounds keeping to ensure the protection of the ecosystem around the facility where the job is located. The applicant will use chemicals and instruments to protect animals in the area. Applicants may have a high school diploma and additional training.
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It is difficult to equate the grounds keeper with the man who developed that first prosthetic leg, but both used engineering principles to solve biological problems. There is a wide spectrum of jobs available in medical bioengineering.