Biomedical Engineering Careers

ENTRY LEVEL EDUCATION

Bachelor's Degree in Biology

CAREER TRAINING

Certificate in Biology

NUMBER OF JOBS

15,700

JOB OPENINGS

9,700

JOB GROWTH

62%

AVG. SALARY

$81,540 /yr

$39.20 /hr

All Stats from BLS.gov

Biomedical engineers design devices and solutions to improve patient health, replace limbs after injuries, and solve other medical problems. A biomedical engineer might design artificial organs and limbs, machines and instruments that diagnose medical issues or provide treatment, or software used in medicine.

Some biomedical engineers are researchers who collaborate with chemists, medical scientists, biologists, and other scientists to understand biological systems and clinical challenges. In general, they work at the boundary between biology and technology, incorporating the two to improve medical treatment, diagnosis, and cure.

Biomedical Engineering Job Descriptions and Specialties

There are many different career paths and job descriptions within biomedical engineering. Some of these include:

Bioinstrumentation. These scientists design instruments that carefully monitor biological systems to diagnose disease and assess patient health.

Cellular, tissue, and genetic engineering. Scientists in this area of focus may work to develop artificial organs for use in transplants.

Orthopedic surgery. Biomedical engineers in this area generally focus on the design and construction of artificial limbs and prosthetics to replace those lost to injury or disease.

Rehabilitation engineering. Scientists in this field design rehabilitative exercise equipment and devices to help patients develop strength and recover from injury or illness.

Biomedical software. These scientists design the computer software at work within complex diagnostic instruments and medical equipment.

Education Needed to Become a Biomedical Enginee

Biomedical engineering is one of the few scientific fields that does not require a postgraduate degree for entry-level positions. It’s possible to get your start in the field with only a Bachelor’s degree. While it’s helpful for your degree to be in biomedical engineering, it’s also possible to land a job with a degree in mechanical or electrical engineering—or a related field.

If you are earning a degree in biomedical engineering, be sure it’s accredited by ABET (the Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology). This program governs standards for biomedical engineering and other engineering programs, and a degree from a non-accredited program will not be seen as equivalently valuable to employers.

If you’re interested in a management-level position, you may need a Master’s degree or higher. In addition, some biomedical scientists choose to attend medical school, dental school, or a PhD program to develop highly specialized knowledge in a specific area of biomedical engineering.

Biomedical Engineering and Online Degrees

Some schools offer online science degree programs in topics relevant to biomedical engineering. The sciences as a whole tend to be more conservative about online degrees than most areas of employment, however. If you would like to pursue a degree in biomedical engineering online, consider the following factors before choosing a school.

Is the program offered through a traditional college with a good reputation? If so, it probably won’t say “online degree” on your diploma, and employers won’t necessarily know that you didn’t attend classes in person.

Is the program accredited by ABET? If so, employers are likely to accept it, even if it’s online.

Does the program have an in-person lab component? ABET evaluates school facilities as part of its accreditation criteria, and it’s unlikely that a program administered completely online will be properly accredited. Look for a program that has at least some hands-on component.

Biomedical Engineering Salary Information

Biomedical engineers made an average of $81,540 in 2010, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook. The lowest earners took home under $49,690, and the highest 10% received more than $126,990 per year. 

Job Outlook for Biomedical Engineering Professional 

Biomedical engineering jobs are expected to grow by a whopping 62% in the coming decade according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook. This makes it one of the fastest-growing jobs in the country.

There’s a caveat, however. The number of people in this profession is fairly small, so this enormous growth number could, in reality, represent less than 10,000 jobs nationwide within the next ten years.

At the root of this growth is the increased demand predicted from baby boomers as they retire—for better medical services and a better quality of life.

Pros and Cons for Biomedical Engineering as a Career

Aside from the fact that you’ll be performing research that could improve the quality of life for millions of people, biomedical engineering is a career with excellent prospects. The growth is astronomical, it pays well, and there is a comparatively low education threshold to enter the profession.

However, all these factors are likely to make the profession more competitive in the coming years—especially since, despite rapid job growth, the actual pool of jobs is and may remain fairly small. Because of this, it may be easier for employers to give preference to those with advanced degrees in the coming years.

Where to Find Biomedical Engineering Jobs

EngineerJobs.com

Indeed.com