Thursday, 19 June 2014

What is Biomedical Technology?

What is Biomedical Technology?
Biomedical technology programs prepare people to help engineers who design and build medical systems. Students learn to install and test products. They also learn to calibrate, maintain, and repair medical instruments.


Hospitals and even doctor's offices are now high-tech environments. Many wonderful devices have been invented to improve people's health. Some of these devices diagnose diseases, and others (such as pacemakers) help people's bodies to function.

These devices have very demanding requirements. First, they must do no harm. They can't be toxic or provoke the immune system. Second, they have to be extremely reliable, because people's lives depend on them. Also, if they are implanted into bodies, they have to be very small, light, and quiet. And finally, they can't be outrageously expensive.

In a biomedical technology program, you learn how this technology works. You start with a foundation of biology, chemistry, and physics. You also study the math that supports these sciences. Then, you focus on electronic circuits and microprocessors.

You study how biomedical instruments and other devices are used. You may even have an internship in a medical setting. This lets you get real experience working with these devices.

Academic programs in this field vary greatly. About 50 colleges offer two-year programs leading to an associate degree. Most of these prepare you to be a technician who installs, calibrates, and repairs these devices. You can find work in hospitals and other healthcare settings.

A small number of these two-year programs prepare you to be an engineering technician who works in research and development. In this kind of job, you are part of the engineering team. You help engineers make their designs work. You construct prototypes and test them. You gather data on the performance of new parts and procedures.

About 40 colleges offer four-year programs in this field. These programs cover mostly the same subjects in greater depth and lead to a bachelor's degree. They are more likely to teach engineering technology and prepare you for research and development. Often they are a specialization within the department of electrical engineering. You may want to use this degree as a stepping-stone to medical school.

Admissions - Pre-college preparation

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.
Computer Science and Programming
English Composition

Typical course work

An associate degree program in this field typically includes courses in the following subjects:
College Algebra
Linear Differential Equations
Linear Algebra
English Composition
Engineering Physics
Engineering Mechanics
Anatomy and Physiology
Electronic Circuit Analysis
Introduction to Computer Science
Biomedical Instrumentation and Systems
Medical and Clinical Equipment
Digital Sequential Logic
Biomedical Practicum
A program that prepares you to be an engineering technician probably includes differential calculus. A bachelor's degree program usually includes the preceding courses, plus differential calculus, plus the following:
Network Engineering
Computer Techniques in Medical Imaging
Bioinformatics and Telemedicine
Senior Design Project

Things to know

You need good communications skills to succeed in this field. A writing course, and probably a public speaking course, should be part of your program even if they are not required.

Consider taking some business courses, especially if you plan to work as an engineering technologist. The odds are you will work closely with management. In addition, the skills you learn in these courses may later help you make a career shift into management. This can be a logical and fulfilling career path, especially if you are uninterested in becoming a licensed engineer (or if your state does not allow it).

A lot of people are unclear about the difference between an engineer and an engineering technologist. Both work as part of an engineering team. Together, they solve practical problems by applying principles of science and math. The engineer tends to work more in theoretical terms and is more concerned with design. The engineering technologist tends to work more in practical terms and is more concerned with putting the design into practice.


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