In today's highly advanced technological world, the gap between engineering and medicine is getting smaller, thanks to the field of biomedical engineering. This field applies engineering principles and techniques to the medical and biological sciences in order to improve healthcare diagnosis and treatment. Much of the work in biomedical engineering consists of research and development, spanning a variety of subfields. However, you might be very familiar with some of the results, even though you may not have realized biomedical engineers were behind them. Professionals in this field are focused on the development of: biocompatible prostheses, various diagnostic and therapeutic medical devices -- ranging from clinical equipment to common imaging equipment such as MRIs and EEGs -- as well as biotechnologies such as regenerative tissue growth.
With such advanced developments, what type of education is needed to enter the biomedical engineering field? Students attend school for three years (six semesters) and graduate with an Advanced Diploma from Centennial College's Biomedical Engineering Program. During their training, students prepare for a challenging career using the latest technology, with a balance between theory and hands-on lab time. There is also an opportunity for students to get a taste of the workforce while they are still in college due to three paid co-op work terms. These work terms allow students to see how "real-life" situations are played out in settings at which Biomedical Engineers are employed, such as hospitals, medical equipment companies, pharmaceutical companies, rehabilitation facilities and quality control.
In order to apply for the Biomedical Engineering Program at Centennial College, students must present at minimum an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent or be 19 years of age or older. Also required are compulsory English 12C or U or skills assessment, or equivalent and math 11M or U, or 12C or U or skills assessment, or equivalent. However, possession of minimum admission requirements does not guarantee admission to the program.
Once your training in the Biomedical Engineering program is completed, you are ready to enter an ever-growing field with a high demand for qualified professionals. The required tasks and skills vary, because the Biomedical Engineering field can be further split into subtitles such as: biomaterials, biomechanics, bionics, clinical engineering, medical engineering, rehabilitation engineering and much more. However, there are some common undertakings of Biomedical Engineers. One is conducting research, along with chemists and medical scientists, on the engineering aspects of the biological systems of humans and animals. Therefore, people entering this profession must be interested in poring over medical and scientific material, as well as have patience, as there is always a trial and error period.
Another important task for biomedical engineering professionals is the design and development of medical diagnostic and clinical instrumentation, equipment and procedures. This requires the use of principles combined with innovation. Therefore, the biomedical engineer should be able to think outside of the box while at the same time applying what he or she learned at school. Evaluating the safety of biomedical equipment, repairing as necessary and advising hospital administrators on the use of the equipment also fall into this professional's hands. Therefore, communication skills are essential. The person must be able to explain the often-complicated machines in laymen's terms so that no medical errors occur while the machines are in use. Not only are new engineering developments in the hands of Biomedical Engineers, but human lives are as well.
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