Engineering is a field whose major branches consist of mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering and civil engineering. A career in engineering could include an aerospace engineer, a computer engineer, a drafting and design engineer, a marine engineer, and a petroleum engineer just to name a few.
Biomedical engineering is an offshoot of chemical engineering and is a field of study which uses engineering, biology and medicine together to improve patient care. A biomedical engineer helps to design equipment such as microscopic surgical machines and magnetic resonance imaging machines (MRI’s), as well as performing research and development of medical breakthroughs such as prosthetics and artificial organs. While there are many benefits to choosing this career path such as the satisfaction one feels in helping their fellow man, as well as being compensated monetarily there can be downsides too.
One of the negatives to the field of engineering is the amount of time it takes to obtain a degree; while one can certainly obtain the usual four-year degree in biomedical engineering, it usually takes a masters degree to find a job with the pay it will take to make that degree worthwhile. The difficulty of the subject is another thing to consider; when studying for a degree in biomedical engineering the undergraduate requirements are usually quite difficult and can include courses such as biomechanics, bioelectronics, neural engineering, and clinical engineering. An individual who is interested in becoming a biomedical engineer will need to pay strict attention to detail and possess innate problem solving abilities as well as good written and oral communication skills. You also need the ability to work well with others as most of the projects of a biomedical engineer involve several team players.
Medical engineers are typically employed by manufacturers, research organizations, governmental agencies, and major medical centers around the world. While job growth in the field of medical engineering is above the expected average in the United States, the total number of jobs available is small. Because medical engineering is so diverse and very specific, the training and job experience one receives is likely to only qualify a person for a limited number of the positions available. Another consideration is the fact that jobs for medical engineers are concentrated in specific states; for example, in 2012 California had the highest amount of jobs available at 5,410. Massachusetts had the next largest number of jobs available in the field at 1,740, with Texas and Pennsylvania coming in at over 1,000 jobs each. Iowa, by comparison had only 60 jobs available in the biomedical engineering field in 2012.
As with any career path, assessment of the return on investment is necessary before investing thousands of dollars in a particular field of study. Ask yourself if the time and money you are ready to invest is going to pay off in the long run; you may find that in some cases the cons far outweigh the pros.
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