Biomechanical engineers can work in a variety of fields, including medical, sports and rehabilitation. Those working in the medical field specialize in working with cells and tissues, studying their mechanics and mechanobiology. These engineers spend much time in labs trying to fabricate human tissue, hoping to ultimately eliminate many diseases.
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Overview of Biomechanical Engineering
Biomechanical Engineering is involved with creating and producing a variety of products in everyday use, from environmentally safe plastics to various foods, fabrics and medicines. A combination of chemical and biological engineering, it's a fast-growing field with many new and exciting opportunities in genetic engineering and biotechnology. Students who love science, are good with design and appreciate tough analytical challenges are ideally suited to Biomechanical Engineering.
Educational Requirements for a Biomechanical Engineering Degree
Individuals interested in this career should obviously take math and science classes in high school. Advanced classes in chemistry, biology and calculus should also be taken. Upon entering college, students usually major in either chemical or biological engineering. Biomechanical Engineering is most often taken as a concentration within either major, allowing the student to hone his/her skills in this area while combining communication skills for future career advancement into management positions within engineering firms.
While in school, it’s a good idea to get as much practical experience as possible. Internships with engineering firms or companies are always good ways to get experience, as are working with professors on research projects.
Career Information for Biomechanical Engineers
As with many jobs in engineering, career advancement usually means earning a Master’s degree. Because the field is constantly changing, career advancement depends on further education and adding to one’s credentials and resume. Many universities offer evening and weekend programs for those working adults seeking an advanced degree in this field. Becoming certified as a Registered Professional Engineer can also help in advancing to management positions within firms.
Specializations within this area include:
- Soft tissue mechanics
- Biomechanics of hearing
Those engineers specializing in rehabilitation spend their time developing devices to correct musculoskeletal and brain disorders. Developing advanced robotics technology is a big part of these engineers daily lives. As they help to develop technology that will allow for minimally invasive surgeries in such areas as neurosurgery or ophthalmic surgery. Engineers with an interest in sports can work with athletes to help better their performance by developing safer and more efficient workout equipment, and by developing better equipment to wear during games to reduce injuries.
Employment Prospects and Salary
Much like biomedical engineers, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts quick job growth for biomechanical engineers. Through 2020, job growth should be near 60%, meaning there will be plenty of opportunities available for those interested in this field. As technology continues to develop, so will the need for engineers that can best figure out how to use it to make the world a better place to live.