What is biomedical engineering?
Biomedical engineering (BME) is a discipline of engineering that focuses on connecting engineering principles to the medical field. Biomedical engineering has something for everyone as it covers various topics. Some biomedical engineers focus on creating new medical devices such as prosthetics and medical imaging. Others look at how the human body responds to forces (e.g., car crashes and contact sports) to determine how injuries occur and how effective safety equipment is. Some also work with stem cells to help create artificial parts of the human body.
Since BME is such a wide field, biomedical engineers take classes in a variety of fields. For example, biomedical engineers take life science classes (e.g., biology, anatomy, and physiology) to understand how the human body functions. Mechanical engineering classes teach principles of how different materials respond to forces, and electrical engineering classes help BME students understand how circuits and signals work for the innerworkings of medical devices.
What skills are needed to be successful in biomedical engineering?
- Strong in math and science to be able to understand the fundamentals of engineering
- Problem-solving skills to be able to develop solutions to medical problems
- Creativity to help come up with new solutions to improve or create new medical devices
- Communication skills as biomedical engineers often work as a member of an interdisciplinary team
What is the difference between biomedical engineering and other fields of engineering?
The main comparison between biomedical engineering and other engineering disciplines is that BME students learn the same engineering principles, but then apply them to the human body and medical devices. For those who wish to focus in a particular area, there are several within BME that students can concentrate on while getting their degree. Those with an interest in chemical engineering but who would like to pursue BME as the primary degree might focus on tissue engineering courses. Those with a preference for electrical and computer engineering might choose imaging courses. Biomechanics is the perfect field for someone with a desire to explore mechanical engineering. Some of our students focus on the biological sciences while getting their degrees with a plan to go to medical school.
The Department of Biomedical Engineering at Wayne State has a wide network of alumni in various fields. Michigan has many companies that hire biomedical engineers for both internships and full-time positions. Many of the automotive companies employ biomedical engineers for safety performance. Companies like Stryker, Johnson & Johnson, and Orchid Orthopedics hire engineers for medical device design and quality. Many of the area hospitals also look to hire biomedical engineers for research or clinical engineers. Michigan also has many medical device startups. Overall, numerous companies in the area hire alumni of the Wayne State biomedical engineering program, providing for many networking opportunities.
What can I do with this degree when I graduate?
Biomedical engineers can get jobs in a wide range of fields due to learning a wide range of topics. The field continues to grow as the human population continues to grow and live longer. Careers with a biomedical engineering degree are specific to what the individual is interested in. Salary also varies depending on what field one goes into. Some examples of common career paths that biomedical engineers can go into are:
- Clinical engineer (work in hospitals to perform maintenance and repairs to medical devices)
- Medical device design
- Quality control of medical devices
- Regulatory of medical devices
- Automotive safety
- Medical school