Summary Report for:
17-2031.00 - Biomedical Engineers
Apply knowledge of engineering, biology, and biomechanical principles to the design, development, and evaluation of biological and health systems and products, such as artificial organs, prostheses, instrumentation, medical information systems, and health management and care delivery systems.
Sample of reported job titles: Biomedical Electronics Technician, Biomedical Engineer, Biomedical Engineering Director, Biomedical Engineering Technician, Biomedical Equipment Technician (BMET), Biomedical Manager, Biomedical Technician, Clinical Engineer, Professor, Research Engineer
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Conduct research, along with life scientists, chemists, and medical scientists, on the engineering aspects of the biological systems of humans and animals.
- Design and develop medical diagnostic and clinical instrumentation, equipment, and procedures, using the principles of engineering and biobehavioral sciences.
- Teach biomedical engineering or disseminate knowledge about the field through writing or consulting.
- Research new materials to be used for products, such as implanted artificial organs.
- Develop models or computer simulations of human biobehavioral systems to obtain data for measuring or controlling life processes.
- Adapt or design computer hardware or software for medical science uses.
- Diagnose and interpret bioelectric data, using signal processing techniques.
- Design and deliver technology to assist people with disabilities.
- Evaluate the safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of biomedical equipment.
- Manage teams of engineers by creating schedules, tracking inventory, creating and using budgets, and overseeing contract obligations and deadlines.
- Advise and assist in the application of instrumentation in clinical environments.
- Write documents describing protocols, policies, standards for use, maintenance, and repair of medical equipment.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Acoustic sensors — Acoustic measurement systems
- Amplifiers — Bio-signal amplifiers; Radio frequency amplifiers
- Bacteria transformation kits — Bacteria-based biosensors; Rapid toxicity testing systems
- Benchtop centrifuges — Centrifuges
- Biometric identification equipment — Bio-sensors
- Camera based vision systems for automated data collection — Eye tracking devices
- Cardiac pacemaker generator or cardiac resynchronization therapy pacemaker CRT-P — Defibrillator testing devices; Pacemaker analyzers; Pacemaker testing devices
- Circuit tester — Circuit analyzers
- Compression testers — Material tension/compression testing devices
- Computed tomography CT or CAT radiotherapy simulators — Maskless photolithography equipment
- Deflecting devices — Deflectors
- Desktop computers
- Digital cameras — High-speed digital cameras
- Dissolved oxygen meters — Dissolved oxygen polarographic measurement devices
- Drug delivery system or accessories — Micropumps; Microvalves
- Dye sublimination printers — Sublimation printers
- Electro pneumatic transducers — Pressure transducers
- Electroencephalograph EEG or accessories — Electroencephalography EEG equipment
- Electrometers — Biomedical device electrical safety testers; Electrosurgery testing devices; Pressure and temperature measurement devices; Ventilator performance analyzers (see all 7 examples)
- Electromyography EMG units or accessories — Electromyographs EMG
- Electronic actuators — Motion actuators
- Electronic loads — Load sensors
- Endoscope maintenance units or accessories — Endovascular stent-graft testing instruments
- Fatigue testers — Cardiovascular prosthetic device testers; Material fatigue and dynamics characterization devices; Servopneumatic axial test instruments
- Flexure or transverse testing machines — Finger joint flexure testers; Multi-axis kinematic knee simulators; Spine simulators
- Flow injection analysis equipment — Flow control devices
- Fluorescent microscopes — Fluorescence microscopes
- Force or torque sensors — Strain gauge conditioners
- Forced air or mechanical convection general purpose incubators — Incubators
- Frequency calibrator or simulator — Bio-signal simulators
- Gas or vapour concentration measuring instruments — Gas flow control systems
- Glass injection moldings — Glass micromolds
- Hardness testers — Hardness testing devices
- Hemacytometer sets — Molecular cytosensors
- HEPA filtered enclosures — Biosafety cabinets
- Immunology or serology quality controls or calibrators or standards — Immuno-sensors
- Impact testers
- Inductively coupled plasma ICP spectrometers — Plasma excitation chambers
- Infrared spectrometers — Fourier transform infrared FTIR spectrometers
- Injection molding machines — Plastic injection molding machines
- Laboratory vacuum pumps — Molecular vacuum pumps
- Laser cutting machine — Laser ablation machines
- Magnetometers — Superconducting quantum interference devices SQUID
- Medical computed tomography CT or CAT scanners or tubes — Optical coherence tomography OCT scanners; Optical tomographic imaging scanners
- Medical magnetic resonance imaging MRI scanners — Biomagnetic imaging scanners; Functional magnetic resonance imaging fMRI scanners; Magnetic resonance imaging MRI systems; Ultra high speed magnetic resonance imaging MRI scanner machines (see all 5 examples)
- Medical positron emission tomography PET units — Positron emission tomography PET scanners
- Medical radiation dosimeters — Radiation compliance testing devices
- Medical single photon emission computed tomography SPECT units — Single photon emission computed tomography SPECT scanners
- Medical ultrasound or doppler or echo probes — Ultrasound indention probes
- Medical ultrasound or doppler or echo transducers or accessories — Ultrasound transducers
- Medical ultrasound or doppler or pulse echo or echography units for general diagnostic use — Ultrasonic testing apparatus; Ultrasound imaging scanners
- Medical x ray units for general diagnostic use — X ray machines
- Microcontrollers — Basic stamp microcontrollers
- Microplate readers
- Microplate washers
- Microplates — Microplating equipment
- Microscopic structure estimation apparatus — Microfluidic networks
- Milling machines
- Modulators — Acousto-optic modulators
- Neuromuscular stimulators or kits — Grass stimulators
- Notebook computers — Laptop computers
- pH electrodes — Electrode bevelers; Electrode pullers; Electroplating apparatus; Microelectrodes
- Phase modulation circuit — Frequency shifters
- Physiological recorders — Activity monitoring devices; Polygraph recorders; Torsiometers; Two-point discriminators (see all 7 examples)
- Piezo electric crystals — Piezoelectric ceramic transducers; Piezoelectric sensors
- Plastic injection moldings — Micromolding lithography equipment
- Pneumatic actuators — Servopneumatic actuators
- Pressure indicators — Environmental conditions measurement devices; Force platforms; Pinch gauges; Posturographic measurement systems (see all 7 examples)
- Pressure sensors
- Proton spectrometers — Electrical particle detectors
- Pulse oximeter units — Pulse oximeters
- Q Meters — Quantum-based switching applications Q-switch electron waveguides
- Rapid amplification or complementary deoxyribonucleic acid ends RACE technology products — Polymerase chain reaction PCR equipment
- Robot machines — Biomimetic robots
- Scanning electron microscopes — Multi-photon microscopes
- Scanning probe microscopes — Scanning probe microscopes SPM
- Skinfold calipers
- Sonometers — Digital sonomicrometers
- Spectrofluorimeters or fluorimeters — Spectrofluorimeters
- Spectrophotometers — Optical particle detectors
- Spirometers or its accessories or its supplies — Spirometers
- Sterilization sets — Sterilization-in-place equipment
- Strain gauges
- Surface tension measuring instruments — Pulsating bubble surfactometers PBS
- Tension testers — Prosthetic limb testers
- Thickness measuring devices — Anthropometers
- Tissue culture apparatus — Soft materials in-vitro simulation system
- Tissue culture coated plates or dishes or inserts — Polymer matrices; Polymer scaffolds
- Tissue culture incubators — Bioreactors
- Transmission electron microscopes — Micromanipulation microrheology microscopes
- Treadmills — Physical conditioning treadmill exercisers
- Tweezers — Optical traps
- Viscosimeters — Cone-plate viscometers
- Wattmeters — Ultrasound wattmeters
- Wave generators — Arbitrary waveform generators
- Wear testers — Spinal disk implant wear testers
- X ray and fluoroscopy RF radiotherapy planning simulators — X ray lithography equipment
Technology used in this occupation:
- Analytical or scientific software — SNOINO Ttree; Stratasys FDM MedModeler; The MathWorks MATLAB; Wolfram Research Mathematica (see all 46 examples)
- Charting software
- Compliance software — Equipment compliance testing software
- Computer aided design CAD software — Mathsoft Mathcad; SolidWorks CAD software; ViewLogic software; Zuken software (see all 11 examples)
- Computer aided manufacturing CAM software — Rapid prototyping software
- Configuration management software — IBM Rational ClearCase
- Data base reporting software — SAP BusinessObjects Crystal Reports
- Data base user interface and query software — Failure rate database software; Oracle software
- Development environment software — Advanced computer simulation language ACSL; C; Hardware description language HDL; Microsoft Visual Basic (see all 7 examples)
- Enterprise application integration software — Extensible markup language XML; Rapid application development RAD software
- Enterprise resource planning ERP software — ERP software
- Medical software — Electromyograph analysis software; Gait analysis software; Medical information software; Virtual instrument software (see all 7 examples)
- Object or component oriented development software — C++; R
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office software
- Pattern design software — Diagramming software
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Program testing software — Defect tracking software; System testing software
- Project management software — Microsoft Project; Project estimation software
- Requirements analysis and system architecture software — IBM Rational RequisitePro; Requirements management software; Unified modeling language UML
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
- Biology — Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- 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.
- Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
- Medicine and Dentistry — Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- 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.
- 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.
- Operations Analysis — Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Technology Design — Generating or adapting equipment and technology to serve user needs.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Programming — Writing computer programs for various purposes.
- Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- 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).
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- 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 there is a problem.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
- Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
Detailed Work Activities
- Interpret design or operational test results.
- Calibrate scientific or technical equipment.
- Advise customers on the use of products or services.
- Evaluate characteristics of equipment or systems.
- Analyze operational data to evaluate operations, processes or products.
- Design alternative energy systems.
- Supervise engineering or other technical personnel.
- Research engineering aspects of biological or chemical processes.
- Install instrumentation or electronic equipment or systems.
- Design electronic or computer equipment or instrumentation.
- Develop software or computer applications.
- Maintain operational records or records systems.
- Train personnel on proper operational procedures.
- Prepare procedural documents.
- Create models of engineering designs or methods.
- Electronic Mail — 95% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 79% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 63% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 53% responded “Every day.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 65% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 47% responded “Very important.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 60% responded “Some freedom.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 60% responded “Very important.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 75% responded “Some freedom.”
- Contact With Others — 40% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 70% responded “More than half the time.”
- Level of Competition — 50% responded “Highly competitive.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 50% responded “Important results.”
- Letters and Memos — 53% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 32% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 53% responded “Very important.”
- Time Pressure — 40% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Consequence of Error — 37% responded “Fairly serious.”
- Public Speaking — 35% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 58% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
|Title||Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.|
|Related Experience||A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.|
|Job Zone Examples||Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, database administrators, teachers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.|
|SVP Range||(7.0 to < 8.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
This occupation may require a background in the following science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational disciplines:
Interest code: IR
- Investigative — 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.
- Realistic — 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.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2014)||$41.81 hourly, $86,950 annual|
|Employment (2012)||19,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2012-2022)||Much faster than average (22% or higher)|
|Projected job openings (2012-2022)||10,100|
|Top industries (2012)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2012-2022 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Biomedical Engineers . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.
- Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) , 8401 Corporate Dr., Suite 225, Landover, MD 20785-2224. Phone: (301) 459-1999. Fax: (301) 459-2444.
- IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (IEEE EMBS) , 445 Hoes Ln., Piscataway, NJ 08855-1331. Phone: (732) 981-3433. Fax: (732) 465-6435.