Careers (MP) Biomedical engineering careers is expected to explode. The industry’s growth in the United States during the next five years is said to be among the fastest, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Between 2015 and 2020, the number of biomedical engineers is projected to rise by about 62 percent. Plus, it’s number 3 on our top 30 jobs for 2020 list.
The National Institutes of Health defines bioengineering as “the application of the life sciences, mathematics and engineering principles to define and solve problems in biology, medicine, healthcare, and other fields.” Some practitioners apply bioengineering to any engineering discipline that works with living systems. That includes humans, plants, and even microscopic organisms, plus to some aspects of agricultural engineering and national defense. But, some programs emphasize applications in medicine and health care exclusively.
What Biomedical Engineers do?
Science fiction is a little less fictional in the day-to-day work of biomedical engineers, who design prosthetic limbs and artificial organs or regenerate tissue. They also create drug formulations, develop pharmaceuticals or collect and analyze biological data, among other work. In this field lies the intersection of biology and engineering skills, which helps crack tough problems in medicine and health. The surgical robotic arm is another exciting achievement in the field. But it’s far from the only one. Thanks to biomedical engineers, becoming healthy and staying that way is getting easier every day.
Prospects for biomedical engineering should take high school science courses, such as chemistry, physics, and biology. They should also take math courses, including calculus. Courses in drafting or mechanical drawing and computer programming are also useful for prep. To get the job a bachelor’s, master’s or Ph.D. in biological engineering degree is required.
Many specialized programs at undergrad and graduate levels including studies of osteoporosis, spinal cord injuries, cardiovascular disease and tumors are available.
|Required Education*||B.S., M.S., or PhD|
|Projected Job Growth (2015-2020)||61.7%*|
|Average Annual Salary (2015)||$79,500-$104,000*|
Is Biomedical engineering for you?
Are you a creative, curious problem solver who wants to help others. If you like machines, but think the human body is the most interesting machine out there, then this could be a great career for you.
Not only is it one of the highest-paid engineering jobs, it’s a career that gives back to society by helping to improve world health. It’s also highly flexible, with jobs in universities, hospitals, labs, industry and regulatory agencies.
Rapid technological changes mean biomedical engineers have to work hard to stay abreast of new developments — so this isn’t the field for those looking to coast through their careers. Plus, despite the above projections, biomedical engineers is a very competitive field. “The total field of biomedical engineering is small, representing 2 to 3 percent of the total engineering job market, and a large percentage growth does not necessarily translate to large numbers of new job opportunities.