What you need to know
Biomedical engineers combine engineering principles with medical and biological sciences to design and create equipment, devices, computer systems, and software used in healthcare.
Most biomedical engineers work in manufacturing, universities, hospitals, and research facilities of companies and educational and medical institutions.
Some of the things a biomedical engineer might do:
- Design biomedical equipment and devices, such as artificial internal organs, replacements for body parts, and machines for diagnosing medical problems
- Install, adjust, maintain, repair, or provide technical support for biomedical equipment
- Evaluate the safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of biomedical equipment
- Train clinicians and other personnel on the proper use of biomedical equipment
- Research the engineering aspects of the biological systems of humans and animals with life scientists, chemists, and medical scientists
- Prepare procedures, write technical reports, publish research papers, and make recommendations based on their research findings
- Present research findings to scientists, non-scientist executives, clinicians, hospital management, engineers, other colleagues, and the public
- Analytical skills. Biomedical engineers must analyze the needs of patients and customers to design appropriate solutions.
- Communication skills. Because biomedical engineers sometimes work with patients and frequently work on teams, they must express themselves clearly. They must seek others’ ideas and incorporate those ideas into the problem-solving process.
- Creativity. Biomedical engineers must be creative to come up with innovative and integrative advances in healthcare equipment and devices.
- Math skills. Biomedical engineers use the principles of calculus and other advanced topics in math and statistics, for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.
- Problem-solving skills. Biomedical engineers typically deal with and solve problems in complex biological systems.
The average pay for biomedical engineers in the United States ranges from $51,890 to $144,350 as of May 2018.
The specific pay depends on factors such as level of experience, education and training, geographic location, and specific industry.
Employment of biomedical engineers is projected to grow 7 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
Increasing numbers of technologies and applications to medical equipment and devices, along with the medical needs of a growing aging population, will require the services of biomedical engineers.
Biomedical engineering and traditional engineering programs, such as mechanical and electrical, are typically good preparation for entering biomedical engineering jobs. Students who pursue traditional engineering programs at the bachelor’s level may benefit from taking biological science courses.
Biomedical engineers typically receive greater responsibility through experience and more education. To lead a research team, a biomedical engineer generally needs a graduate degree.