Mechanical Engineer Vs. Biomedical Engineer

Mechanical and biomedical engineers earn similar salaries but have different focuses and methods. We'll explore both careers, their respective salaries and job growth, and the tasks specific to each.

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Comparing Mechanical Engineers to Biomedical Engineers

Mechanical and biomedical engineers both spend time developing design plans for products related to their field. Mechanical engineers concentrate more on product manufacturing and fixing technical issues while biomedical engineers can concentrate on a number of specialization areas that may emphasize medical research or developing methods to diagnose and treat medical conditions.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Outlook (2016-2026)*
Mechanical Engineers Bachelor's degree $84,190 9%
Biomedical Engineers Bachelor's degree $85,620 7%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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  • Aeronautical and Aerospace Mechanics
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Responsibilities of Mechanical Engineers vs. Biomedical Engineers

Mechanical engineers concentrate on creating new devices and machines or redesigning existing equipment. They may seek to improve the performance of the products or to expand their functions and strive to find ways to use mechanical equipment to perform particular tasks. While mechanical engineers primarily focus on developing design plans, testing products and ensuring the devices are manufactured effectively, biomedical engineers perform a wider range of tasks that includes training medical staff, publishing information about their research and conclusions, and developing ways to improve medical treatments. Biomedical engineers may also be involved with designing products that are used in the medical field. The range of products varies from materials to software to diagnostic equipment.

Mechanical Engineers

Mechanical engineers are required to have a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering or a comparable discipline. Those who wish to seek advancement opportunities may also need to complete graduate studies and earn a Professional Engineer (PE) license. They spend a lot of time in an office environment and typically work in manufacturing and research. The primary objective of a mechanical engineer is to produce machines and mechanical devices. They work on a wide range of products that include robots, batteries and tools.

Job responsibilities of a mechanical engineer include:

  • Producing schematics and technical materials using computer design software
  • Performing research
  • Developing new machines that can perform specific functions
  • Altering the design plans of existing products to improve performance
  • Evaluating prototypes
  • Traveling to locations where large machines are installed to assess performance issues

Biomedical Engineers

Biomedical engineers specialize in producing healthcare products, including medical equipment and artificial organs. They must have a bachelor's degree and typically concentrate on studying biomedical engineering. They combine creative and analytical skills to develop ways to improve healthcare treatment options. They also need strong computer skills since their work can involve creating computer software that's used to operate medical equipment. Some biomedical engineers work in research and manufacturing while others work for academic institutions.

Job responsibilities of a biomedical engineer include:

  • Performing medical research
  • Developing new types of medical equipment
  • Producing the materials needed to make artificial organs, bones or joints
  • Researching biological processes
  • Determining how to provide healthcare more effectively
  • Analyzing statistical data

Related Careers

Aspiring mechanical engineers may also be interested in becoming aerospace engineers while biomedical engineers may continue studies to advance to a career as a medical scientist. These careers share similar duties and objectives and more information can be accessed through the links provided here.

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