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What does a Biomedical Engineer do?

Biomedical Engineers are vitally important to advancing medical technology. Many Biomedical Engineers are involved in ground breaking research and medical testing. Biomedical Engineers may work in research and development designing new medication delivery methods, they may design new prosthetics, engineer and conduct experiments with diagnostic testing devices and are often involved in the creation and testing of surgical equipment. Some Biomedical Engineers work to install or repair medical equipment and others may work in more theoretical fields which require computer drafting and 3-D designing skills.

biomedical engineer

New technologies involving stem cells and lab created organs and tissues often are created and cultured under the watchful eye of a Biomedical Engineer. These positions are on the forefront of new medical technologies and offer significant opportunity to be involved in important advances in medicine.

Biomedicine remains a generally small field with little competition within medicine, however many specialized skills are necessary to succeed as a Biomedical Engineer. The ability to work long periods on a single project with intensive focus is a benefit, as Biomedical Engineers often must succeed through much trial and error. Intensive knowledge of chemistry, physics and anatomy is necessary to understand how medical equipment will function on a day to day basis. People skills are also beneficial, as Biomedical Engineers may be tasked to train others on the equipment they create.

Education requirements for Biomedical Engineers are high, with most of the scientists at the forefront of their fields obtaining a Ph.D. Entry level positions are available for individuals with a Bachelors Degree, though specialized training is often necessary and hands on experience is valued. A highly varied curriculum with advanced education in chemistry, engineering, mathematics, and anatomy is required and many students find their university years challenging. Often students take on substantial student loan debt to earn a degree in this field. However, students who perform well in school can command high salaries and significant perks after graduation, as this field has grown in demand in recent years.

What does a Biomedical Scientist do?

A biomedical scientist works in the health care industry and plays an essential role in helping physicians diagnose illnesses. By evaluating tissue and fluid samples, they are able to offer a diagnosis and a course of action for someone who has suffered from a health related incident, such as a heart attack. They carry out blood transfusions and are active in the area of medical research and study. A biomedical scientist works with physicians to guarantee that the best care possible is provided to patients.

biomedical scientist

Biomedical scientists work in three area of science: infection science, blood science and cellular science.

Infection science

Infection science addresses the identification of micro-organisms that are responsible for disease. A biomedical scientist working in infection science will create antibiotic treatments and monitor the effectiveness of vaccines against viruses.

Blood science

Among other things, blood sciences include the evaluation of fluid samples to identify risks and diseases and the determining of donor/recipient compatibility. This area of discipline seeks to understand diseases related to blood, as well as the role of the immune system in battling disease.

Cellular science

Cellular science deals with the evaluation of acquired cell samples. A biomedical scientist in this area of discipline will study diseases tissue samples, evaluate tissues obtained through tests such as PAP smears and analyze tissue samples to pinpoint fertility issues.

How Can I Become a Biomedical Scientist?

In order to do clinical work, a doctoral degree in biological sciences or a medical degree is generally required. In addition to this, post-doctoral research may be a prerequisite for working in your desired field. A prospective biomedical scientist with a bachelor’s degree can register for a doctoral program in a specific field, or enroll in a joint medical-doctoral program. This will enable them to become a practicing physician with the necessary research skills to become a scientist.

Biomedical scientists are an intricate part of the health care industry. By working closely with physicians to diagnose sicknesses and abnormalities, they are able to help guarantee the best health care to patients.

What does an Endocrinologist do?

Hormones are chemicals that the body produces, which control all the body’s most basic and important functions, from growth to digestion and reproduction. Hormones are secreted by a system of glands, called the endocrine system, and it’s this system that endocrinologists specialize in treating.

endocrinologist

As specialized physicians, endocrinologists diagnose and treat patients with such conditions as diabetes, thyroid diseases, hypertension, infertility, osteoporosis, menopause or glandular cancers. They may work in hospitals, outpatient centers or research facilities. And as specialists, considerable training and licensure is required to work as an endocrinologist.

Becoming an endocrinologist

The first step toward becoming an endocrinologist is a four-year bachelor’s degree. Following that, you’ll need a graduate degree from medical school, followed by a three- or four-year residency in internal medicine, gynecology or pediatrics. Then, a two- or three-year fellowship in adult, pediatric or reproductive endocrinology leads you to working in this specialization. And, of course, successfully completing licensure exams for your state is a must in order to practice, and some states may limit reciprocity, meaning that you may need to take another exam if you relocate.

Obviously, a serious commitment of time and resources (emotional, physical and financial) is essential, as are determination, a passion for endocrinology and caring for patients, as well as an ability to work well under extreme pressure.

Our changing world needs endocrinologists

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 7.8 percent of the U.S. population suffered from diabetes, with 5.7 million of those being undiagnosed cases. And it’s the leading cause of blindness, kidney disease and nontraumatic amputations. In recent years, cases of Type 2 diabetes alone have skyrocketed, thanks mostly to increasing obesity.

Such unfortunate trends contribute to a growing demand for endocrinologists. Along with this, hypertension, a primary factor in heart diseases, and infertility, which occurs in 1 in 10 couples, are also the domain of endocrinologists.

So, while health care in general is seeing employment growth–projected growth among physician jobs is a rapid 22 percent–endocrinologists may see more rapid growth with the proliferation of these and other endocrine-related diseases and advances in their treatment.

While the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t specifically track salaries for these specialists, this high-demand, high-stress occupation can be highly lucrative. And, of course, the ability to help patients with these and other endocrine diseases and disorders can be incredibly rewarding emotionally as well.