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What Do Biomedical Engineers Do?

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Straddling the Line between Medical and Technical

It's a recipe for success for a working mother: add one part engineering with one part medical science and blend into lots and lots of dough. If you can't decide between medical school and engineering, a career as a biomedical engineer might suit you perfectly. These professionals make a great living designing and building equipment and technology used in healthcare. The excellent salary means you don't need to worry about providing well for your children.

Job Description

Biomedical engineers are the professionals who develop new medical products and technology, work that opens the doors to new treatments for different types of injuries and diseases. Just as medicine is a field with numerous specialties, biomedical engineering also has many different sub-fields. Some biomedical engineers work to improve old or develop new medical technology or machinery, like robotic surgery equipment. Another specialties focus on creating better artificial limbs, better equipment for monitoring patients in the hospital, and even redesigning furniture for medical offices and hospital rooms. These engineers also design artificial organs and develop instrumentation, medical information systems, and heath management and care delivery systems. Most biomedical engineers work full time and about one-third are women.

Education Requirements

You'll need to buckle down in college to become a biomedical engineer. To enter this career, you'll need at least a bachelor’s degree. Some individuals major in biomedical engineering or bioengineering, but this isn't an absolute requirement. You can also earn a bachelor’s degree in a different field of engineering if you choose electives in the biological sciences. Further, it is possible to get a graduate degree in biomedical engineering, and this may open up better positions to you. A graduate degree is often necessary for research and development jobs and university faculty positions.

The median annual wage for biomedical engineers is $85,620, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Median means that half of biomedical engineers in this country earn more than this amount while the other half earns less. Salaries for those with bachelor's degrees may range from $48,177 to $84,767, while biomedical engineers with master's degrees can earn $52,711 to $100,398.

Relevant Industry

Biomedical engineers work in a variety of industries. These include medical equipment and pharmaceutical manufacturing, education (teaching at universities), medical (working at general medical and surgical hospitals and other health care institutions), scientific research and development and government (regulatory agencies).

Years of Experience

According to PayScale, the average salary for a biomedical engineer is $64,000. For those in the first five years of work experience, wages may be 3 percent less than average. After five years, your salary range goes up to 25 percent more, then, after two decades, 27 percent more than average.

Job Outlook Trends

The job outlook for biomedical engineers is good. Employment is projected to grow 7 percent over the next decade, as fast as the average for all occupations.