Medical engineering integrates engineering skills with medical activities and knowledge of the human body as it functions in various states. The study of medical engineering is focused on advancing healthcare. Medical engineering degree programs emphasize topics such as cell biology and epidemiology. They are designed to prepare students for engineering, consulting, or research positions. Programs are available at the master's and doctoral degree levels.
In order to enroll in the two-year master's program, students need an engineering bachelor's degree, as well as GRE scores, a personal statement, an academic statement, professional experience, and a curriculum vitae. For a Ph.D. program, they must have completed a master's program in medical engineering. Ph.D. programs take five to seven years to complete and often require extensive research projects to graduate.
Master's Degree in Medical Engineering
A master's degree in medical engineering is generally geared towards engineering professionals. The program endeavors to instruct them in the fields of medicine and biology in order to design, develop and test healthcare products and technologies.
Medical engineering program coursework focuses on understanding current healthcare science in order to develop new technologies through research and laboratory work. Some medical engineering master's courses include:
- Designing a medical device
- Cell biology
- Commercialization of a medical device
- Biocompatiblity and biomaterials
Doctoral Degree in Medical Engineering
A medical engineering Ph.D. seeks to train students as engineers or physical scientists while providing an extensive knowledge of medical sciences. These programs are often extensions of master's degree programs. Doctoral students often take classes with students receiving their master's degree, but with a complementary core of electives and research courses focused on a specific area assigned or decided on with a faculty adviser. Doctoral students graduate with a detailed understanding of the healthcare industry, which prepares them for academic or industrial careers related to medical technology.
Coursework is dedicated to preparing doctoral candidates to work in research, laboratory work, and academics. Courses taken by doctoral students include the following:
- Medical engineering frontiers
- Human Pathology
- Biomedical systems
- Clinical medicine
- Clinical experience
Most graduates of master's programs in medical engineering go on to work as engineers in the medical or biomedical field, developing new technologies. Popular career options for graduates of medical engineering master's programs include:
- Medical engineer
- Medical engineering researcher
- Medical engineering assistant professor
- Medical engineer sales and marketing person
- Technical advisor
- Technical writer
Most Ph.D. students in all fields of academia prepare for careers in research and professorships with medical engineering being no different. The highest positions in medical engineering involve teaching, research, and development, all of which are the responsibilities of many college professors. Some careers are as follows:
- Professor of medical engineering
- Medical engineering postdoctoral research fellow
- Biomedical-clinical engineering manager
Employment Prospects and Salary Info
Employment opportunities for biomedical engineers were projected to grow 23% between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This is much faster than average, and growth may be largely due to heightened demand for biomedical equipment. The median salary for this occupation was $86,220 as of 2015, per the BLS.
Training for medical engineering involves actually working with technologies in a real world setting along side faculty. Mentored research opportunities help students develop their skills. In addition, training allows students to gain an in-depth knowledge of various disciplines (e.g., computers, probability theory or mathematical modeling) essential to their future careers.
Medical engineering degrees come in master's and doctoral degree forms. These programs teach students extensive knowledge of the human body to advance the state of healthcare, with many jobs available to graduates.