Career Focus: Work in Biomedical Engineering
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They perform the crucial task of ensuring that medical equipment is working properly and therefore treating patients effectively, as well being safe for use.
They may often be found behind the scenes but their work is just as valuable and important for keeping the healthcare system up to scratch. You could say that they are the beating heart of this industry.
Keeping the industry healthy
Biomedical engineering is about more than just making sure equipment is meeting its full potential.
Technicians in biomedical science roles play a crucial part in the medical supply chain, by testing new apparatus, dishing out guidance on how it should be used and ensuring best practice is carried out.
Therefore alongside technical proficiency it helps if people working in engineering jobs like this also have a healthy dose of medical knowledge in order to understand what’s needed.
Engineers working in the medical sector are important because often they will be the ones with expertise about how to maximise the potential of equipment.
Could you become a biomedical engineer?
Given the nature of the role as an integral part of the medical circus, part of being a biomedical engineer is collaborating with other engineers and healthcare workers to make sure everyone’s singing from the same hymn sheet. Teamwork skills are a must.
Many top universities offer degrees focused on biomedical or medical engineering. To enter the profession these are the qualifications employers will keep an eager eye out for.
Other subjects that can prepare you for a life in this sector include different types of engineering, like mechanical or electrical, or science-based degrees like physics or biomedical science.
To be the apple of a prospective employer’s eye you could do much worse than acing a course accredited by a professional organisation like The Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
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Eager for engineers
Signs are promising for talented graduates who chase a career in engineering, because technical skills are very much in demand.
It’s thought that in 2014 the number of graduate vacancies available will jump by more than 11%, but influential figures like James Dyson have called for even more to be done to hook interested young people and students and encourage them to enter the engineering sector.
Career prospects and biomedical work experience
Talented biomedical hotshots could choose to branch out into different sectors after taking on several years of experience, like research and educational positions in government or at universities, as well as using their expertise to enter other sectors like chemical engineering.
Multinational heavyweights involved in the medical sector like Siemens, GE and GlaxoSmithKline run work experience schemes for undergraduates like engineering placements and internships that offer a snapshot of what it’s like to work in the industry.
To mingle with likeminded budding medical engineers and scientists, you could benefit from joining your university’s science or engineering society and showing off your interest in the industry.