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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Midterm elections are all about jobs.
And this week we’re taking a look at the future of some careers. From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, Adriene Hill introduces us to today’s fastest growing field.
Adriene Hill: When you consider the jobs of the future, here are two of the big trends driving growth: baby boomers who want more health care, and technological progress.
Biomedical engineering is a career at the intersection.
Roger Moncarz: This is really cutting-edge, innovative.
Roger Moncarz is an economist with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. He says jobs for biomedical engineers are expected to grow 72 percent by 2018. The job also pays well — the median salary is nearly $80,000.
But Moncarz points out the profession is in its infancy.
Moncarz: In percentage terms it’s impressive, in numeric terms it’s less impressive because it’s only adding about 12,000 new jobs.
Those thousands of biomedical engineers could create the next device, procedure or body tissue that spawns other jobs — manufacturing, sales, marketing.
Dr. Ichiro Nishimura shows me around his lab at UCLA.
Ichiro Nishimura: Many things are harmful chemicals, so I want you not to touch things.
Researchers are bent over test tubes, hard at work. Their long-term hope is to help people who’ve lost part of their face due to accident or oral cancer by…
Nishimura: Remaking patient’s face using their own tissues.
They want to grow facial tissues outside of the body, and then transplant those tissues.
Nishimura thinks graduates trained in both biology and engineering at one of the growing number of biomedical engineering programs around the country could make the idea a reality.
Nishimura: New scientists, they may feel that this is a workable goal, and they can create that.
Researchers at Wake Forest University in North Carolina are already growing hearts and bladders, possible replacement parts for baby boomers who want to stick around and see all these tech-inspired dreams come to life.
I’m Adriene Hill for Marketplace.
CHIOTAKIS: And check out Marketplace.org for our handy tool. We call it the Future-Jobs-O-Matic. It’s a really cool tool
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