Clinical engineers, working in both industry and private practice, connect the world of medicine and technology. This combination of medicine and engineering may include research as well as medical equipment development and maintenance.
Education and work experience are required to be certified as a clinical engineer. A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in this specific field or a closely related degree, passing a comprehensive written and oral exam along with experience are required to practice this type of engineering.
As with other engineering programs, a clinical engineer requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Other engineering degrees may be applied to acquiring professional certification or an advanced degree in this field. Different states may also require an exam and some experience in order to be certified.
This profession offers excellent opportunities for growth and salary, but requires at least a bachelor’s degree and certification. With an expectation of rapid growth in this field, the Department of Labor predicts that a master’s degree will soon be expected for even entry level positions.
In a hospital environment, a clinical engineer operates as the manager of medical equipment and related systems. The ability to operate data systems, oversee other maintenance personnel and understand maintenance contracts are vital to performing this job.
Problem solving skills, working with people effectively and understanding medical technology are required to be a clinical engineer. Some other day to day responsibilities in this profession include:
Clinical engineers may also work in private practice. These responsibilities generally revolve around consulting and serving as expert witnesses, troubleshooting for industry and serving on boards with health related organizations such as the World Health Organization.
The U.S. Department of Labor predicts a higher than average increase, at 21%, in the number of clinical engineers over the next decade. This increase is primarily due to an older population and a greater need for more effective medical equipment as well as concern for cost-effectiveness within the medical industry.
Clinical engineers earn from $50,000 to $120,000 annually. The difference between a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree within this fields results in an increase of about $8,000 annually in salary.