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Medical Technology Industry
The United States remains the largest medical device market in the world.

SelectUSA Medical Technology Industry

Industry Overview

The medical technology industry (commonly referred to as medical devices) consists of articles, instruments, apparatuses, or machines that are used in the prevention, diagnosis or treatment of illness or disease, or for detecting, measuring, restoring, correcting, or modifying the structure or function of the body for some health purpose. Typically, the purpose of a medical device is not achieved by pharmacological, immunological, or metabolic means. 

Medical technology directly accounts for well over 300,000 jobs. U.S. medical device companies are highly regarded globally for their innovative and high technology products. 

Compared to several other industries including automotive, defense, and telecommunications, the medical device industry invests a higher percentage of yearly revenues into product innovation, reflecting the competitive nature of the industry and constant innovation and improvement of existing technologies. 

The medical device industry relies on several industries where the United States holds a competitive advantage, including microelectronics, telecommunications, instrumentation, biotechnology, and software development. Collaborations have led to recent advances including neuro-stimulators, stent technologies, biomarkers, robotic assistance, and implantable electronic devices. Since innovation fuels the medical device sector’s ongoing quest for better ways to treat and diagnose medical conditions, when coupled with patient life expectancy increasing and aging populations globally, the medical device sector should continue growing at a positive rate in the future.

Industry Subsectors

The medical equipment and supplies manufacturing industry includes the following subsectors: 

Surgical and medical instruments: Includes anesthesia apparatuses, orthopedic instruments, optical diagnostic apparatuses, blood transfusion devices, syringes, hypodermic needles, and catheters.

Surgical appliances and supplies: Includes artificial joints and limbs, stents, orthopedic appliances, surgical dressings, disposable surgical drapes, hydrotherapy appliances, surgical kits, rubber medical and surgical gloves, and wheelchairs.

Dental equipment and supplies: Includes equipment, instruments, and supplies used by dentists, dental hygienists, and laboratories.  Specific products include dental hand instruments, plaster, drills, amalgams, cements, sterilizers, and dental chairs. 

The medical equipment and supplies manufacturing industry is comprised of 5,176 establishments across the United States as of 2017. In 2019, foreign direct investment contributed $72.1 billion to the industry. Additionally, 103,500 workers were employed by foreign-owned businesses in the medical equipment and supplies manufacturing industry in 2018, which was a third of total employment in the industry for that year. According to the latest employment data, there were an estimated 326,800 workers in the industry by November 2020. 

The most common occupation in the medical equipment and supplies manufacturing industry is dental and ophthalmic laboratory technicians and medical appliance technicians. As of 2019, there were 46,360 workers in this occupation earning an average annual wage of $41,850. Over half of these workers were dental laboratory technicians, earning an average annual wage of $43,700 in this industry. The second-most common occupation is miscellaneous assemblers and fabricators (35,550 employees in 2019 earning an average annual wage of $34,050), followed by inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers (12,610 employees earning an average annual wage of $42,150). 


The electronic instrument manufacturing includes the following subsectors:

Electro-medical equipment: Includes a variety of powered devices, such as pacemakers, patient-monitoring systems, MRI machines, diagnostic imaging equipment (including informatics equipment), and ultrasonic scanning devices.

Irradiation apparatuses: Includes X-ray devices and other diagnostic imaging, as well as computed tomography equipment. 

As of 2017, there were 9,191 establishments in the electronic instrument manufacturing industry. In 2019, foreign direct investment contributed $43.4 billion to the industry, and 74,500 workers were employed in foreign-owned businesses in the industry in 2018 (18 percent of total industry employment). According to the latest employment figures, an estimated 429,600 workers were employed in the electronic instrument manufacturing industry at the end of 2020. 

The most common occupations in the electronic instrument manufacturing industry were electrical, electronics, and electromechanical assemblers (47,830 employees earning an average annual wage of $38,670 in the industry in 2019); software and web developers, programmers, and testers (35,140 employees earning an average annual wage of $117,360); and electrical and electronics engineers (20,050 employees earning an average annual wage of $111,990).

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Additional Information

Explore the impact of foreign direct investment on U.S. jobs, exports, and innovation in the medical technology industry.

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Investor Guide

The Investor Guide is a high-level view of everything from taxes to immigration and workforce to business structures.

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SelectUSA Stats

SelectUSA has created several dashboards to help analyze key FDI data from a variety of sources.

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Industry Associations
A comprehensive list of associations in the medical technology industry.
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Browse this state incentives database developed by the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER).
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