Cardiology Engineer: Job Description & Career Requirements

Mar 19, 2019

Read on to learn what cardiology engineers do. See what kind of education and training are required for employment. Get the details about job prospects and earning potential to see if this career field is a good fit for you.

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Career Definition for a Cardiology Engineer

Cardiology engineers, sub-specialists in the field of biomedical engineering, need to know the medical function and physiology of the heart as well as the mechanics and electronics of cardiac technology in order to develop devices and protocols to solve problems in cardiology. Cardiology engineering includes the creation and modification of diagnostic equipment, surgical devices, catheters, pacemakers, rehabilitative aids, and instrumentation, and touches upon many other disciplines. Cardiology engineers work cooperatively with cardiac physicians and surgeons in clinical settings, research facilities, and in the manufacture of medical equipment.

Education Bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering
Job Skills Analytical skills, communication, mathematics, mechanical skills
Median Salary (2017)* $88,040 (all biomedical engineers)
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 7% (all biomedical engineers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements

There are a few educational paths to a career as a cardiology engineer. Cardiology engineers typically pursue a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering, although a degree in engineering or biology might qualify applicants for entry-level positions. Some liberal arts and engineering schools allow students to combine credits and graduate with double degrees. Some supplement a bachelor's degree in mechanical or chemical engineering with a few years' practical experience in a medical laboratory setting. Graduates of biology or pre-med bachelor's degree programs might learn engineering skills by taking entry-level jobs, but their ability to advance into engineering positions would likely require further schooling. Most cardiology engineers take continuing education courses, and many pursue advanced degrees.

Skills Needed

Cardiology engineers must be comfortable working with their hands, have mechanical aptitude, and be able to think creatively in order to develop new tools and procedures. The ability to communicate with others is important, as many cardiology engineers work in collaboration with physicians, engineers, and hospital staff.

Career and Economic Outlook

Although specific data is not available for cardiology engineers, the number of jobs for biomedical engineers is projected to grow 7% from 2016-2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). The BLS also published the median annual salary among biomedical engineers as $88,040 in May 2017.

Alternate Career Options

Individuals pursuing careers in biomedical engineering may be interested in becoming a physician or mechanical engineer.

Physician

A physician provides preventive care to patients as well as diagnosis and treatment for patients experiencing illness or injury. Physicians talk to patients about their health history, examine them, and prescribe treatment if needed, depending on their findings. Physicians can specialize in the populations they treat, such as children or the elderly, or the type of care they deliver, such as surgery.

After completing a bachelor's degree program, an aspiring physician earns a Medical Doctor or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree, followed by extensive clinical training through residency programs. Licensing requirements apply, and may vary by state. For physicians who specialize, board certification can be earned, which typically requires additional training and testing. The BLS estimates that employment in this field will increase 13% from 2016-2026. The median pay for a physician varies by area of practice; the BLS reports that in 2017, surgeons earned average yearly compensation of $251,890, while this figure was $211,390 for all other physicians and surgeons.

Mechanical Engineer

A mechanical engineer uses computer-aided design and the principles of engineering to develop mechanical solutions to problems. Mechanical engineers can also shepherd their designs through the testing and production process. These professionals may work on a broad array of devices and machinery, from elevators to engines.

A minimum of a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering is required for employment; employers may prefer graduates of ABET-accredited programs. Research-oriented jobs often require a graduate degree. An engineering license is required when mechanical engineers work with the public; licensing requirements vary by state. Professional certification options are also available.

The BLS predicts that jobs in this field will increase 9% from 2016-2026. Mechanical engineers earned median salaries of $85,880 in 2017, and pay varied by industry.

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