Introduction Biomedical engineering is a field that many anticipate will continue to grow in the coming years. Biomedical engineering is a field of engineering that applies engineering principles and concepts of design to the field of biology and medicine to aid in the advancement of the healthcare field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Biomedical engineers combine engineering principles with medical and biological sciences to design and create equipment, devices, computer systems, and software used in healthcare. Biomedical engineers work in manufacturing, universities, hospitals, research facilities of companies and educational and medical institutions, and government regulatory agencies” (“Biomedical Engineers”). Thus, this is a highly technical field that is in high demand due to its usefulness in helping to provide top notch medical advancements. Because of the need to keep making advancements in the field of biology and medicine, the biomedical engineering field has a bright and lucrative future with careers in this field projected to grow at a significantly faster rate than that of other field. Therefore, biomedical engineering may be a great choice for those interested in the engineering field who wish to get into a career field in which they can do important work and expect growing and lucrative career opportunities.
The Biomedical engineering field has seen significant expansion in recent years due to a number of factors. These factors include: “scientific and technological advances in molecular and cell biology, materials science, and engineering disciplines; the increasing recognition of the role of interdisciplinary strategies to solve complex biomedical problems; and the aging population leading to increasing health-care needs and the associated demands and costs” (Fantini, Bennis, & Kaplan, 2011). Thus, there have been significant in the biology and medical landscapes as well as the surrounding society that have led to an increasing demand for the field of biomedical engineering.
Biomedical engineering is a career field in which one can expect to do important work to help create the latest in medical engineering advancements. According to Big Future, by The College Board, “Biomedical engineers work to make prostheses (artificial body parts) better, diagnostic procedures more accurate, and drugs easier to take. Thanks to biomedical engineers, becoming healthy and staying that way is getting easier every day” (“Career: Biomedical Engineers”). Thus, the value to society of the work that biomedical engineers do is gaining significant recognition.
The biomedical field is one in which those who enter it can expect a good career outlook due to its current growth. “Government economists expect jobs for biomedical engineers to grow much faster than the average for all careers through 2020. In fact, this will be the third-fastest growing career” (“Career: Biomedical Engineers”). One of the reasons for the current growth in the biomedical field is due to the change in demographics that this country and the world is seeing with older people living longer and needing more highly advanced medical care. “The health care needs of an aging population and the range of activities these professionals are involved with should increase demand for their services. Advances in technology will also create new areas in which theses engineers can work” (“Career: Biomedical Engineer”).
The biomedical engineering career field is one in which the professionals of the field can expect to be paid significantly well compared to those in other fields due to the technical nature and perceived importance of the work that they do. “The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the average yearly earnings of biomedical engineers as $88,360 in 2011” (“Career: Biomedical Engineers”). Therefore, those who enter into the field can expect to receive significant compensation which is perceived to be based on the value of their work.
Opposing View of the Future of Biomedical Engineering
Although the biomedical field is growing, it is still a small field in which one may not find a significant number of jobs available due to its limited size. Although biomedical engineering is projected to be the third-fastest growing career field, “this field is small, however, so the number of new positions will not be large” (“Career: Biomedical Engineers”). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there were only 18,810 jobs across the nation in biomedical engineering in 2012 as compared to 258,100 civil engineering jobs (Farnen). Thus, the fact that the biomedical field, which is currently rather small when compared to other fields is growing, may not mean that the field will be large enough to sustain a significant growth in the number of entrants into the field. Furthermore, jobs in the field tend to be concentrated in a limited number of areas and are not available all around the country. Jobs for biomedical engineers are concentrates in a few states. “According to the BLS [Bureau of Labor Statistics] wage survey, only nine states had more than 530 jobs in 2012” (Farnen). Thus, those in the biomedical engineering field may not find adequate job opportunities in a significant number of locations.
Although the biomedical field is currently limited in size, the rate of progress of medical and biological advancement that society demand is as such that one can anticipate new jobs will be created as the field continues to grow. As the factors, such as the increasing aging population, that are causing the field to grow remain in existence, the need for new jobs in the field will cause an increase in the number of jobs that are de available in this field. Thus, the rate of job growth in the field may be able to sustain a significant number of new entrants as the demand for those who specialize in this field of engineering increases.
The biomedical engineering field faces several challenges that need to be worked out for the field to keep growing and gain widely important acceptance. The fields of product development and medicine are not always as compatible as one may believe. Thus, “engineers, doctors, and patients often struggle to find balance between innovative technology and the human side of medical care. Research and development is costly, so biomedical engineers and biomedical students are often limited by available resources” (Tucker). Therefore, adequate funding is a significant challenge that the field is facing that may limit its productivity and the ability of those in the field to achieve their full potential. Other challenges that the field faces are: patient privacy issues, ethical dilemmas, and finding targeted sites for appropriate drug delivery” (Tucker). Thus, there are a number of challenges that the biomedical engineering field is facing that need to be addressed in order for the field to continue to grow in the future.
One can anticipate that solutions to the challenges that the field of biomedical engineering faces will be found as the field continues to grow. The biomedical field is solution oriented and will be able to deal with the challenges that it faces adequately. Issues such as the need for funding can be worked out as the field shows its usefulness in created much needed biological and medical advancements.
The biomedical field is one that is growing at a faster rate than the majority of other career fields; thus, it is a good career choice for those who are interested in this type of engineering. This field, which combines the use of engineering with development and design, is expected to grow in the future due to a number of factors which include a growing aging population, the recognition if the importance of utilizing interdisciplinary strategies, and scientific and technological advances that have been made. It is a field of engineering that is gaining significant recognition for its value to society. Furthermore, the growth that the field is seeing may produce a number of jobs opportunities in the near future, and the jobs tend to be highly paid. The biomedical engineering field, however, is currently limited in size and faces a number of challenges. The size issue and the challenges that this field face should be worked out as the field continues to grow.
- “Biomedical Engineers.” Occupational Outlook Handbook: Bureau of Labor Statistics. Web.
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- “Career: Biomedical Engineers.” Big Future: The College Board. Web. 17 February 2016.
- Fantini, S., Bennis, C., and Kaplan, D. “Biomedical Engineering Continues to Make the Future.”
IEEE Pulse Magazine. 2011. Web 17 February 2016.
- Farnen, K. “Negatives of Biomedical Engineers.” Work Chronicle. Web. 17 February 2016.
- Tucker, K. “What Is the Most Important Issue Biomedical Engineering Is Facing.” Work
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