Biomedical engineering combines biological research and engineering principles in order to develop devices and procedures for use in the medical and healthcare technology field. Programs are available at graduate and undergraduate levels and often have specialization options in areas like biomechanics and medical optics. Alternatively, you can focus your studies on the instrumentation for a specific medical condition, such as or spinal cord injuries.
Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering
A bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering is generally the minimum requirement to become a biomedical engineer. To enter these programs, students must posses a high school diploma or GED, in addition to SAT or ACT scores. These programs combine general engineering coursework with biology and chemistry courses. Students in a bachelor's degree program in biomedical engineering can choose from among a number of specializations, including biomechanics, bioinstrumentation, cell tissue and biomolecular engineering, or medical optics. The following are some of the typical courses found in this type of degree program:
- Statistics and calculus
- Organic chemistry
Master's Degree in Biomedical Engineering
A Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering program educates students in paramedical disciplines, quantitative analysis, fundamental computing skills, informatics, and mathematical modeling. Students must hold a bachelor's degree to apply, along with GRE scores. Students who pursue a master's degree in biomedical engineering learn biomedical optics, bioinstrumentation, neurosensory engineering, and biosignal processing. Typical coursework in a graduate program in biomedical engineering includes:
- Molecular biology
- Cellular biology
- Tissue engineering
- Pathology informatics
Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Engineering
Students pursuing a doctoral degree in biomedical engineering research a variety of medical conditions. Students generally must have completed a master's degree (although some programs only require a bachelor's degree) in order to enroll, as well as possess satisfactory GRE scores. One focus of a biomedical engineering Ph.D. program is to improve health through cross-disciplinary courses that incorporate engineering sciences with clinical practice and biomedical sciences. This type of doctoral degree includes some of the following courses:
- Organ systems
- Biophysical chemistry
- Engineering biomechanics
Popular Career Options
Upon completion of an undergraduate program in biomedical engineering, graduates are qualified for entry-level jobs with medical device or pharmaceutical manufacturers, research laboratories, or prosthesis developers. Graduates with advanced degrees are prepared to work as researchers or designers in the fields of medicine or biology. Some of these careers include research scientist, medical device designer, and biomedical equipment engineer.
Career Outlook and Salary Information
Employment of biomedical engineers is expected increase much faster than the national average. An increase of 23% is projected for the years 2014 through 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). As of May 2015, the median annual salary for a biomedical engineer was $86,220.
Continuing Education Information
Since biomedical engineering is a relatively new field, certification is not the standard as it is for other engineering and medical fields. While graduation from an accredited school is not a requirement, Accredited Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) programs are available.
Biomedical engineer degrees are available at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral level to prepare students to design and create medical devices and procedures. Students graduating from these programs have a wide variety of potential careers to choose from.