A biomechanist is an expert in human motion. She uses her expertise to solve medical and mobility problems and improve the quality of life for people who are injured. Although it's a relatively new field of study, biomechanics is a growing field. You need the proper training, education and skill set to become a biomechanist.
The minimum educational requirement to enter the field is a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. However, the ideal biomechanist has at least a master's degree in kinesiology, medical engineering or biomedical engineering. A biomechanist usually qualifies for research and senior level positions with a doctorate degree. Coursework focuses on subject matter such as anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, fluid and solid mechanics, computer programming, circuit design and biomaterials.
A biomechanist must be proficient using various technologies. She can jump right in and use medical software, such as Gait analysis software and virtual instrument software. Computer-aided design software like SolidWorks CAD software and analytical and scientific software, such as Stratasys FDM MedModeler, are par for the course for a biomechanist. Also, system architecture software like IBM Rational RequisitePro is a must for the field. A biomechanist must have solid skills using pH electrodes, pressure indicators and electrometers. She generally keen knowledge of medicine, science and dentistry. She is skilled at operations analysis, systems analysis, complex problem solving and reasoning.
A biomechanist may work for a medical device company, designing artificial limbs and artificial organs. She may also design machines that help diagnose medical complications. Her work may help a patient who was previously limited in daily activities. A biomechanist may work in a research lab, studying how to increase mobility in people with sports injuries, neurological injuries or strokes. Or, she may work for a sports company, researching and developing products to help athletes. Finally, she may work in sports medicine, researching and testing athletes, testing strength and testing flexibility. For instance, a biomechanist may work with a gymnast to improve her accuracy, help her recover from an injury or improve her flexibility.
The job outlook for biomechanists is strong. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment for biomechanists to grow by 62 percent between 2010 and 2020, which is much faster than average compared to other occupations. Because the field has so many useful applications in research and medicine, the demand for biomechanics services should only increase. Many more medical complications can be addressed as technological innovations develop, spurring more work for biomechanists. The strongest job candidates are able to work well on teams, which is a common practice in the field. Aspiring biomechanists must have patience to see the fruits of their labors as many projects require long-term development. As the BLS relates, new devices that can help a patient walk may require hours of time in a hospital to get the right fit, and may require returns to the manufacturer to augment the device for the patient.
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