Medical Device Degree Programs and Training Information

Medical device degree and training programs combine aspects of manufacturing, engineering, policy and marketing, as they apply to the development and distribution of medical devices. Students can pursue bachelor's degrees in medical engineering and can supplement their education with undergraduate and graduate certificate programs in medical device technology.

Essential Information

Undergraduate certificate programs teach students about how medical devices are designed, produced and function, as well as about regulations that cover this industry. Bachelor's degrees may be in biomedical or medical engineering and include courses in the development of medical devices, while graduate certificates delve into regulations and standards. Some programs may include a co-op opportunity or internship.

  • Program Levels in Medical Devices: Undergraduate certificate, bachelor's, graduate certificate.
  • Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED; undergraduate degree is required for admission to the graduate level.
  • Online Availability: Commonly available online.
  • Program Specializations:Quality issues, patents and copyrights.

Certificate Programs in Medical Device Technology

A few certificate training programs in medical device technology or medical device manufacturing are offered at the undergraduate level. These programs prepare students for careers in the production and equipment maintenance for medical device manufacturers. Students may be required to demonstrate competence in English, writing and math before enrolling in these programs.

The curriculum covers manufacturing technology, general machine maintenance, manufacturing properties of materials used in medical devices and quality control. Courses might include:

  • Medical device industry overview
  • Medical device regulations
  • Manufacturing materials
  • Computer-aided design
  • Quality assurance

Bachelor's Degree Programs in Medical Engineering

Students interested in a bachelor's degree related to medical devices might consider pursuing a degree in medical engineering or biomedical engineering. Some of these programs offer specialized tracks in medical device technology, preparing graduates for careers in medical device design, testing, manufacturing and sales.

A high school diploma or equivalent is required for admission to undergraduate medical engineering programs. Programs might require or recommend college preparatory coursework in English, math, chemistry and physics.

Students learn engineering theories, concepts and methods and how to apply them directly to the medical device field. Many programs require students to participate in a work co-op or internship. Topics of study include:

  • Engineering statistics
  • Biomedical measurement and instrumentation
  • Quality standards and measurements
  • Material properties and selection
  • Regulation of medical devices

Graduate Certificate Programs in Medical Device Technology

Graduate certificate programs related to medical device technology are designed to increase professionals' knowledge of the medical device industry, focusing on regulations and standards. Programs are designed for those seeking leadership positions within the industry.

Students typically must hold a bachelor's degree to be admitted into graduate programs. Some programs require a bachelor's degree in a science-related field.

Programs cover the design and production of medical devices as well as quality issues, federal or state regulations, patents and copyrights and business management principles. Courses topics include:

  • Medical device development
  • Medical device industry trends and developments
  • Medical device commercialization
  • Medical device regulations
  • Emerging markets

Popular Career Options

Students who complete a certificate program may find jobs with manufacturers and distributors of medical devices. Some popular job titles include:

  • Medical device machining technician
  • Medical device electrical technician
  • Equipment maintenance technician
  • Medical engineering technician

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Medical and biomedical engineers are positioned to see incredible job growth over the 2012-2022 decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Growth is predicted at a rate of 27% during that period, which is much faster than the average. The growing elderly population, along with an increased demand for sophisticated medical equipment, is fueling this growth. The median salary for biomedical engineers in 2014 was $86,950 annually, according to the BLS.

Licensing and Continuing Education

Students who complete a certificate program might consider transferring to a degree program, such as bachelor's degree program in biomedical engineering. Some schools have transfer agreements with other schools allowing applicable credits from a certificate program to apply towards the bachelor's degree.

Graduates need to check with their state licensing boards regarding licensing requirements for medical engineers. To become licensed, graduates of an accredited engineering program need to pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, complete several years of work experience and then pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam. Opportunities for continuing education are available through professional organizations, such as the Biomedical Engineering Society.

As in any field that relies heavily on technology and innovation, continuing education can be essential for keeping up with changes and trends. Industry-specific organizations, such as Medical Device Manufacturers Association, provide continuing education opportunities and resources.

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