Career Advancement for Biomedical Engineers

Oct 28, 2019

Career Growth Opportunities for Biomedical Engineers

Biomedical engineers apply engineering principles to the life sciences in order to develop devices and medical equipment that can be used for patient care. Biomedical engineering is an area of engineering requiring significant knowledge of biology and other sciences. After working as a biomedical engineer, some professionals may wish to grow their careers. One option may be to specialize as a clinical engineer. Another option could be to oversee research as a clinical trials manager. Other biomedical engineers may wish to provide patient care as surgeons. Some details on these careers is provided here.

Job Title Median Salary Job Growth (2016-2026)* Education
Clinical Engineer of Medical Devices $71,854 (2018)** 7% (biomedical engineers) Certification
Clinical Trials Manager $97,837 (2018)** 13% (medical scientists) Experience in clinical trials
Surgeon $251,890 (2017)* 14% Doctoral degree and residency

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **

Career Information

Clinical Engineer of Medical Devices

Biomedical engineers must have a strong understanding of medical technology. One way to utilize this knowledge is to specialize as a clinical engineer. Clinical engineers work with hospitals or other medical facilities to ensure the medical equipment in use is safe and effective. They may also work to develop new types of medical equipment. Clinical engineers plan for the purchase of new medical technology within budgetary restrictions and may be certified through the American Commission on Clinical Engineering. Requirements include licensure as a professional engineer or a bachelor's degree in engineering, combined with a minimum number of years of clinical engineering experience. Some employers may prefer clinical engineers to hold a master's degree.

Clinical Trials Managers

Biomedical engineers must be familiar with the process used by the Food and Drug Administration to approve new medical devices and drugs for use in patient therapy. This knowledge could translate into a position as a clinical trials manager. These professionals are responsible for designing testing protocols that comply with federal regulations and then putting the protocols to use in clinical studies. They must plan for patient enrollment in trials and manage the day-to-day operations. Clinical trials managers are responsible for reporting adverse events which occur during the trials. They must also ensure adherence to the trials budget. Clinical trials managers typically have at least a bachelor's degree and experience in working on clinical trials or research. Post-baccalaureate certification programs are available to hone expertise in these areas.


Biomedical engineers must have a thorough knowledge of bodily systems and functions. This knowledge translates well into further education to become a surgeon or other physician. Surgeons perform operations in order to treat disease or other health conditions. They must conduct examinations of patients and review diagnostic tests in order to ensure the success of the surgery. Surgeons may work for a hospital or develop their own private practice. To become a surgeon, candidates must attend medical school to earn a medical degree. After medical school, candidates must complete a residency, typically five years for general surgery, and become licensed. Many surgeons choose a further area of specialty, such as cardiovascular or orthopedic surgery which would require a fellowship upon the completion of the residency.

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