Biomedical Engineer Career

Biomedical Engineering or Bioengineering is the science of engineering which is applied in the field of biology and medicine. With the help of engineering principles and practices, combined with the knowledge of biology and medicine, biomedical engineering helps in the research and development of medical devices and procedures that solve medical and health related problems.

A biomedical engineer must have the knowhow of the analytical tools and physical knowledge of modern engineering science and a fundamental understanding of the biological or physiological system. In other words, in biomedical engineering all the engineering aspects of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, materials science, chemistry, mathematics, and computer science are integrated together with human biology for the betterment of health services. The biomedical engineers have developed devices from pacemakers to artificial hips. In recent times, from stem cell engineering to 3D printing of biological organs.

Biomedical Engineer Do’s

A biomedical engineer is concerned with the application of both engineering and medical faculties. Typically a biomedical engineer does the following things:

  • Biomedical engineers create designs for an in-depth understanding of the human physiology.
  • They are involved in performance testing and are concerned with the safety standards for medical devices.
  • Biomedical Engineers adjust, install, repair and provide technical support for various biomedical equipments.
  • Biomedical Engineers with advanced degrees also perform research in various medical institutions.
  • Some of the common biomedical equipment's include hearing aids, implantable defibrillators, artificial heart valves and pacemakers. Laser system for eye surgery and automated system for insulin injections also falls under this category.
  • Bioengineering techniques have also been extensible used in the fields of Computer aided Tomography, Ultrasound, Magnetic Resonance Imaging and other medical imaging systems.
  • In the field of genetics, biomedical engineers have treated and prevented many congenital diseases.
  • Artificial joints, tissues and organs can also be designed by biomedical engineers which serve as substitutes for missing body parts.
  • Any interaction of technology with the living system comes under the purview of bioengineering.
  • A biomedical engineer may also write software for different electrical equipment's, design electrical circuits and also perform computer simulations for various newly introduced drug therapies.

Work Environment

The working environment for a biomedical engineer differs depending on the nature of his work. Some may do research in laboratories whereas others may work in hospitals. As per the 2012 census, the percentage of biomedical engineers working in various industries are as follows:

Industries Percentage (%)
Medical equipment and supplies manufacturing 25
Scientific research and development services 18
Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing 15
Colleges, universities, and professional schools 9
General medical and surgical hospitals 7

How to Become a Biomedical Engineer, Qualification and Certification 

In order to become a biomedical engineer one must pursue a biomedical engineering degree program from a reputed university. Candidates can also have a graduate engineering program in a different branch and can then opt for a graduate program in biomedical engineering or can also get on-the-job training. There are mainly three levels in biomedical engineering courses—the bachelors degree, the master degree and the doctoral degree.

Aspiring students must have the three science subjects of chemistry, physics and biology in their high school curriculum. The Biomedical engineering course is mainly a laboratory based program in addition to classroom courses in subjects such as fluid and solid mechanics, computer programming, circuit design and biomaterials.

Some of the biomedical engineers also take up medical or dental courses and then at a later stage in their career take up biomedical engineering as a profession. Some of them even earn a law degree and work as patent attorneys.

A biomedical engineer must pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam and must work in the biomedical field for a minimum of four years. In order to become a licensed professional biomedical engineer one has to get passing scores in Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam.

10 Best Biomedical Engineering schools in United States of America

College / University Bachelor Masters Doctorate
Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus
225 North Ave, Atlanta, GA, 30332-0530
University of California-San Diego
9500 Gilman Dr, La Jolla, CA, 92093
Duke University
103 Allen Bldg, Durham, NC, 27708
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA, 02139-4307
Stanford University
Stanford, CA, 94305
University of California-Berkeley
200 California Hall, Berkeley, CA, 94720
University of Pennsylvania
34th & Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19104-6303
Boston University
One Silber Way, Boston, MA, 2215
Rice University
6100 S Main, Houston, TX, 77005-1827
University of Washington-Seattle Campus
1400 NE Campus Parkway, Seattle, WA, 98195-4550
...View all Bioengineering schools & Colleges in USA

Biomedical Engineer salary survey

As per the census of 2012, the average annual salary for biomedical engineers is found to be $86,960. The lowest 10% earning less than $52,600 and the top 10% earning more than $139,450. Below table shows the top five industries where the biomedical engineers are employed and their average salary are as follows:

Industry Average Salary
Scientific research and development services $94,150
Medical equipment and supplies manufacturing $88,850
Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing $87,340
General medical and surgical hospitals $69,910
Colleges, universities, and professional schools       $63,440

Biomedical Engineer Career Growth and Career Path

A biomedical engineer can typically work in the following areas—Industry, Research, and National Health Services.

Industry: If one wishes to work in the industry, a degree in biomedical engineering will suffice. The candidate can gradually build his career and may be offered senior posts in Management, Research, Technical Advice, Quality Assurance, Production, or Marketing.

Research: For those opting for a research level of work their career path will typically have a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering. These type of candidates may fill up the post of a Lecturer or Researcher in an Academic Institute or University.

National Health Services (NHS): A career with the NHS is very well structured and rewarding. The biomedical graduate can be promoted to manage a department with responsibility for medical equipment or manage a large technical staff.

Biomedical engineers also have the scope to further specialize in areas such as biomechanics, biomaterials, medical instrumentation, and rehabilitation.

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