In-Focus: Bio-medical Engineering as a Career Option

Posted on July 13, 2010 in Alternative Careers

By Irfan Mohamed:

Fusion is the new thing. Semi-conservative fields are emerging everywhere. In the field of lifestyle and healthcare, intricate strengthening between science, medicine, physics and engineering is taking place. IT had revolutionized the medicine sector. And currently a newer phase has started under the separate branching off of Clinical Instrumentation Engineering under the field Biomedical Engineering.

Biomedical Engineering (BME) is a rapidly changing interdisciplinary domain, in which each branch of engineering interacts with a number of other disciplines to yield a fundamental understanding of health maintenance processes and improved diagnosis, optimal interventional (surgical, Therapeutic & rehabilitative) procedures, prosthesis and organ assist systems, health care systems performance and econometrics.

In its broadest sense, biomedical engineering has been with us for centuries, perhaps even thousands of years. In 2000, German archaeologists uncovered a 3,000-year-old mummy from Thebes with a wooden prosthetic tied to its foot to serve as a big toe. No matter what the date, biomedical engineering has provided advances in medical technology to improve human health. Biomedical engineering achievements range from early devices, such as crutches, platform shoes, wooden teeth, and the ever-changing cache of instruments in a doctor’s black bag, to more modern marvels, including pacemakers, the heart-lung machine, dialysis machines, diagnostic equipment, imaging technologies of every kind, and artificial organs, implants and advanced prosthetics.

For an extensive read on the history please visit http://bmes.seas.wustl.edu/WhitakerArchives/glance/history.html

Eligibility

The courses that offer so just need a high school biology math combination as in India. Also a diploma in Electronics, Electrical, a science degree and also an MBBS degree serves just enough to pursue a biomedical engineering course.

Universities and BME

Osmania University is the first University to start Biomedical Engineering at undergraduate level in the country. The course was started in the year 1982 with an intake of 10 students in the Department of Electronics and Communications Engineering. This initiative has led on to the springing up of this course in varies other colleges across the country.

A comprehensive list of colleges in India are listed on http://www.indiastudychannel.com/courses/CourseDetails.aspx?Id=134

Major hospitals that have a wide variety of services like MRI, CT, X-rays, PET etc. have a dedicated department and also offer hospital trainings to B.E pursuing graduates for a nominal fee.
Scope in India:

In India, metropolitan cities especially Chennai are becoming the hotspots for medical tourism and care for people abroad. Thus, the need and demand for freshers in the field is high as the current engineers hold mainly a diploma or an engineering degree in Electronics and need to undergo comprehensive training classes, these which might be avoided by selection of people from the core field.

Theoretically, this domain of research work is regarded as the most sought after research and the jobs on offer bring with it a handsome pay package.

Scope abroad:

As compared to India, the need for biomedical engineers is greater abroad. There is a huge demand for biomedical engineers abroad. The current widely acknowledged sub divisions include –

1) Clinical engineers who monitor and maintain the databases of medical instrumentation and work with physicians to adapt instrumentation for the specific needs of the physician and hospitals.

2) Rehabilitation engineers develop hardware and software computer adaptations and provide cognitive aids to assist patients with memory impairment.

3) Orthopaedic engineers develop prosthetics, artificial limbs, hips and other organs.

As otherwise, the field has a huge scope for commercial and scientific research and development.

Salary and Workload:

Biomedical engineers, on an average, are faced with 40-hour work weeks, typically in an academic setting or medical research laboratory. Others find employment in hospitals or participate in underwater and space programs.

The pay varies with the area of employment and the working conditions.

In short, BME is actually a super cool as well as a nerdo-geeky thing to be.

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