Biomedical/bioelectronic engineering students learn to apply the principles of electrical engineering to problems in the fields of health in order to invent new ways of treating patients. Consisting largely of laboratory experiences and classroom instruction, programs are found from the bachelor's to the doctoral levels. Since these programs consist of a lot of science- and math-related coursework, students should have already taken similar classes prior to admission. Graduates may work as product engineers, technical writers, researchers, biomedical engineers or university professors.
Bachelor's Degrees in Biomedical Engineering
Students in 4-year bachelor's degree programs in biomedical engineering study bioelectronics, biofluids, biomaterials and biomechanics in order to create prototypes of medical devices, such as an artificial retina. These programs require a significant amount of laboratory work in addition to classroom hours. Though applicants are strongly encouraged to have a solid background in science and mathematics, they are typically just required to have completed high school or earned a GED.
Students in biomedical engineering courses focus their studies on engineering, math and science, in order to understand tissue mechanics and biomaterials. Programs offer courses in bioinformatics, rehabilitation engineering and electrical engineering, as well as topics in:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Medical imaging
- Tissue engineering
Master's Degrees in Bioelectronics
Students in graduate-level bioelectronics programs learn to build diagnostic, sensing, biomedical imaging and therapeutic devices. They also learn to interpret data and build sensors that communicate wirelessly with systems that doctors can log into, as well as practice techniques to streamline healthcare or improve patient care. Some programs require the completion of a thesis; other programs accept sufficient coursework in lieu of a thesis. Master's degree programs in bioelectronics engineering typically take 2-3 years to complete and students should have a bachelor's degree in order to apply.
Graduate programs include classes that teach students image analysis, signal processing and the fabrication of microelectronics. Topics of study include:
- Biomimetic systems
- Electromagnetic compatibility
- Embedded systems design
- Pattern recognition
- Semiconductors and wireless communications
Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Engineering
Doctoral students in biomedical engineering programs learn to connect engineering with medicine and life science by doing previously unheard of things, like growing functioning human organs for transplantation. Students are able to help medical professionals by creating more efficient diagnostic tools, better life support systems and prosthetic devices. Including the research and writing of a dissertation, doctoral degree programs often take 2-3 years to complete for applicants who have already earned a master's degree. Applicants are required to have completed at least a bachelor's degree in a relevant science.
Doctoral programs offer courses in subjects related to tissue engineering, bioinformatics, computational modeling, electrophysiology and medical imaging. Programs offer such courses as:
- Biomedical measurements
- Image analysis
- Optical engineering
- Systems design
Popular Career Options
Graduates of an undergraduate program in biomedical engineering are prepared for entry-level jobs in the field or further education in engineering or medicine. Careers can be found in the healthcare, pharmaceutical, medical products or biotechnology industries. Possible job titles for graduates include:
- Product engineer
- Medical device sales representative
- Technical writer
- Manufacturing engineer
- Pharmaceutical sales representative
- Medical device designer
Jobs within the biomedical and bioelectronic engineering field can be found at government organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Doctoral program graduates are qualified to work as:
- Professors of biomedical technology
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), biomedical engineers need at least a bachelor's degree in order to work in the field. In terms of job growth, the BLS reports showed that biomedical engineering was anticipated to see a 4% jump in employment from 2018-2028. Driving strong growth in the biomedical engineering field are the aging U.S. population and a rising demand for sophisticated, cost-effective medical solutions. The BLS reported that biomedical engineers earned an annual median salary of $88,550 as of May 2018.
Biomedical engineering degrees combine advanced topics in biology, physiology, electrical and mechanical engineering. Graduates are trained scientists who understand how to design and build medical devices for a variety of health needs.