Cardiovascular Engineer: Job Duties & Career Info

Mar 20, 2019

Cardiovascular engineering is a specialized branch of biomedical engineering in which advanced engineering techniques are used to study the cardiovascular system as an aid to designing innovative treatments. Explore the requirements and benefits of this career by reading further.

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Career Definition for a Cardiovascular Engineer

A cardiovascular engineer uses advanced science and engineering skills to study the workings of the heart and cardiovascular system. Cardiovascular engineers frequently work with cardiologists and life scientists to develop new diagnostic techniques and treatment solutions for various diseases and congenital defects that affect the cardiovascular system. These can include artificial hearts and valves, pacemakers, techniques for treating arrhythmia and vascular issue, and the development of innovative diagnostic and imaging tools.

Education Bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree
Job Skills Strong math, science, creative, writing, and problem-solving skills
Median Salary (2017) $88,040 (for biomedical engineers)
Job Growth (2016-2026) 7% (for biomedical engineers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Cardiovascular engineering is a developing branch of biomedical engineering, which is, itself, still a developing field. A number of engineering colleges and universities now offer degrees in biomedical engineering from bachelor's up to the doctorate level. A graduate degree is virtually a prerequisite in order to develop the skills needed to perform the intensive research and lab work required to excel in this demanding field.

Skills Required

Strong math, science, creative, and problem-solving skills are needed to excel as an engineer, as well as discipline and patience. Strong writing skills, while not mandatory, are actively encouraged since engineers are frequently required to document their findings. A cardiovascular engineer also needs a strong knowledge of biology and physiology, especially as it applies to the heart and cardiovascular system.

Career and Economic Outlook

There are no specific statistics for the field of cardiovascular engineering. However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), career growth in all medical technology fields is expected to be strong, with employment growth for biomedical engineers expected to be as fast as average from 2016-2026 at 7%. However, because the field itself is very specialized, this growth will result in only 1,500 new jobs during that time. A graduate degree is highly recommended.

As of 2017, approximately 20,100 biomedical engineers were employed in the United States, with about 4,380 working for medical equipment manufacturers. The BLS reported the median annual salary among biomedical engineers as $88,040 in May 2017.

Alternate Career Options

Careers similar to a cardiovascular engineer include:

Sales Engineer

Usually having a bachelor's degree related to engineering, along with technical knowledge of the services or products to be sold, sales engineers sell complex technological and scientific products and services to businesses. The BLS predicts average employment growth of 7% from 2016-2026. As of May 2017, sales engineers earned an annual median wage of $98,720, the BLS said.

Biochemist and Biophysicist

Although research positions require a Ph.D. in Biochemistry or a similar field, entry-level jobs may be secured by those with a bachelor's or master's degree. These professionals study the physical and chemical attributes of living things and their processes. According to the BLS, the annual median salary for this profession was $91,190 in 2017, and a faster than average increase (11%) in available positions was anticipated from 2016-2026.

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