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Clinical Engineering Degree and Certificate Program Information

Most students interested in clinical engineering pursue a bachelor's or master's degree in biomedical engineering; graduate certificates are also available. Graduates have various work opportunities involving healthcare technology and manufacturing.

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Essential Information

Clinical engineering is a sub-discipline of biomedical engineering, and it concerns the design and management of biomedical technology systems and equipment. Students in biomedical engineering programs will explore biomechanics and tissue engineering in preparation for careers as tissue and clinical engineers, or, in the case of master's-level students, as the managers of such professionals. All programs include laboratory and classroom components. Related doctoral programs also exist.


Bachelor's Degrees in Biomedical Engineering

Many schools offer an option to specialize in clinical engineering within their bachelor's degree program in biomedical engineering. A Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) in Biomedical Engineering provides students with the practical skills and technical understanding needed to manage the integration of advanced technology systems in healthcare. Applicants to a bachelor's program need a high school diploma or its equivalent.

Students complete core coursework in the first two years of this degree program. Topics of study include mechanical and electrical engineering, the natural sciences, mathematics, business management and computer science. Students often choose elective courses in their junior or senior year in order to gain professional skills or minor in a sub-discipline of biomedical engineering. A student interested in clinical engineering, for example, may select courses that include the following topics:

  • Microprocessor applications
  • Electromechanical energy conversion
  • Medical instrumentation measurement
  • Medical information technology
  • Biomedical engineering design
  • Biomedical fluid mechanics

Graduate Certificates in Biomedical Engineering

Bachelor's holders wishing to explore advanced topics in biomedical engineering without committing to a master's degree program might pursue a graduate certificate in biomedical engineering. Certificates can generally be completed in one year of full-time study and are aimed at working professionals.

Students in these programs explore the skills and theories of technology used to aid in medical treatments. They receive a combination of classroom and laboratory experience. Depending on their area of interest, students may study advanced topics in human physiology, biomedical device design or biomedical imaging technology. Graduate certificates may also touch on the following topics:

  • Digital signal reading
  • Biomedical instrumentation
  • Biomaterial design
  • Biomedical device regulation and law
  • Biomechanics

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Master's Degrees in Biomedical Engineering

A student interested in a terminal degree and professional training in the field of clinical engineering might seek a Master of Engineering or Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering. Admission requirements include the submission of GRE scores and a competitive undergraduate GPA. Typically completed in 1-2 years, most programs offer two options for students depending on their professional goals. A non-thesis option explores the development and management of systems for tracking medical technology. Students interested in pursuing further education or research may complete a thesis track.

In these programs, students pursue advanced studies on the intersection of technology and biomedical subjects. Depending on their area of interest, students may take elective courses in biomedical device design, medical imaging technology and clinical engineering. The following topics may also be explored:

  • Biomedical measurement and instrumentation
  • Biotransport mechanisms
  • Biomedical composite materials engineering
  • Biofluids
  • Tissue engineering

Popular Career Options

Depending on their previous professional background or educational experience, students that complete a certificate program in biomedical engineering may qualify for a variety of careers within the biomedical engineering profession. Career titles include:

  • Tissue engineer
  • Clinical engineer
  • Biomedical systems safety engineer

Graduates of master's programs are qualified for managerial or senior-level positions within the biomedical engineering profession. Students who wish to pursue clinical engineering or related work may investigate the following career options:

  • Clinical engineering manager
  • Medical applications researcher and designer
  • Tissue engineering research manager

Continuing Education Information

Master's graduates interested in academic pursuits in the field of biomedical engineering may choose to further their education through a doctorate program. Within a doctorate program, students complete advanced classroom study and research through a dissertation.

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of biomedical engineers was expected to increase 23% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). Some of this growth is due to the baby-boom generation needing procedures and biomedical devices, as well as the increased public awareness of medical advances. The BLS reported in May 2015 that the median annual wage of biomedical engineers was $86,220.

Even though there are no programs offered specifically in clinical engineering, both undergraduate and graduate students can get training in the field through biomedical engineering programs. Its extensive research and clinical components allow students to focus their studies and develop expertise.

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