Updated: May 12
A clinical engineer is responsible for applying engineering principles and techniques to healthcare technology and medical equipment, with the goal of improving patient outcomes and safety. They work in a variety of healthcare settings, such as hospitals, clinics, and medical device companies.
Some specific tasks that a clinical engineer might perform include:
Designing and testing new medical devices or systems
Maintaining and repairing medical equipment, such as MRI machines, ultrasound machines, and defibrillators
Evaluating and selecting new equipment and technologies for purchase
Ensuring that medical equipment is safe and effective for patient use
Training healthcare professionals on how to use medical equipment properly
Developing and implementing policies and procedures for the use of medical equipment
Conducting risk assessments and safety testing on medical equipment and systems
Overall, the job of a clinical engineer is to bridge the gap between medicine and technology, ensuring that medical equipment is functioning properly, safely, and effectively to support patient care
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If you are interested in both engineering and healthcare, a career in clinical engineering might be a great fit for you. Clinical engineers work to improve patient outcomes by applying engineering principles to healthcare technology and medical equipment. In this article, we will explore the university requirements, potential employers, salary, and career trajectory for clinical engineers.
University Requirements To become a clinical engineer, you will need to earn a Bachelor's degree in Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, or a related field. Some universities also offer a specific Clinical Engineering program, which may be a good option if you know this is the career path you want to pursue. Courses that will be important for you to take include anatomy, physiology, medical instrumentation, and healthcare technology management. After completing your undergraduate degree, you may choose to pursue a Master's degree in Clinical Engineering, which will give you a more in-depth understanding of the field and may help you advance more quickly in your career.
Potential Employers Clinical engineers work in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, and medical device companies. You may also find opportunities in government agencies or consulting firms that specialize in healthcare technology management. Some of the potential employers in this field include:
Hospitals and clinics
Medical device companies
Government agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Consulting firms that specialize in healthcare technology management
Salary According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for biomedical engineers, which includes clinical engineers, was $92,620 in May 2020. However, salaries can vary depending on the employer, location, and level of education and experience. Clinical engineers with a Master's degree and several years of experience may earn a higher salary than those with only a Bachelor's degree and less experience.
Career Trajectory As a clinical engineer, there are a variety of career paths you can pursue. Some potential options include:
Healthcare Technology Manager: In this role, you would be responsible for managing the healthcare technology in a hospital or healthcare system, ensuring that it is functioning properly, safely, and effectively.
Medical Device Designer: In this role, you would design and develop new medical devices or improve existing ones to improve patient outcomes.
Quality Control Engineer: In this role, you would be responsible for ensuring that medical devices and healthcare technology meet safety and quality standards.
Research and Development Engineer: In this role, you would conduct research and development to create new healthcare technology or improve existing technology.
Overall, a career in clinical engineering can be both challenging and rewarding. By applying your engineering skills to the healthcare field, you can make a difference in the lives of patients and help improve the overall quality of healthcare.
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