The Difference Between a Biomedical Engineer and a BMET
Posted on October 16, 2008 by jmmeijer
In the academic world there are Biomedical Engineers and Bioengineers graduating from the engineering curricula and Biomedical Electronic Technicians and Biomedical Engineering Technologists graduating from the engineering technology curricula. The Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering curricula focus on the more complex theoretical aspects of engineering and its application to biology and medicine. They typically are prepare engineers to focus on the research and development aspects of engineering. The Biomedical Electronic Technician and Biomedical Engineering Technologist curricula focus on the more product specific applications of engineering in design, support, manufacturing, maintenance and installation. In an idealized scenario the engineering types work to transfer new scientific discoveries and technology into practical new products. The engineering technologists and technicians work with the prototype or finished product in the R&D laboratory, redesigning a circuit, refining an interface, installing, maintaining and training medical professionals. In the corporate world there are no hard and fast rules and these roles can be blurred depending on talent, experience and continuing education and training.
Research at the leading edge of biomedical technology at the corporate level is almost always done by the Ph.D. and M.S. degreed Biomedical Engineers who have a higher level of competency with theory, mathematics and research methodology.
The positions that these engineers and engineering technologists hold in industry are Design Engineer, Product Development Engineer, Process Engineer, Senior Engineer, Principal Engineer, Engineering Technician, Process Technician, Support Engineer, Field Service Engineer, etc. Personnel in the hospital environment use the Biomedical Engineering and BMET titles differently.
If you walk the halls of a typical hospital and ask a nurse or doctor who takes care of the electronic medical equipment they will either respond with the Clinical Engineering Department or the Biomedical Engineering Department. They will refer to the professional who services the equipment as the “Biomedical Engineer” or “BMET”. This can be a source of confusion. To be clear the vast majority of the electronic technology professionals working with medical equipment in most hospitals on a day to day basis as a “Biomedical Engineer” or “BMET” have military experience and / or a A.S. BMET degree, or have an A.S. Electronic Engineering Technology degree. It is this group of people that generally perform the administrative and technical tasks required to review, install and maintain medical equipment. You are most likely to find B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. Biomedical Engineers working on research projects or evaluating new products in the research and teaching hospitals.
For additional information please see:
Biomedical Engineers: What do they do?
BMETs: What do they do?