What’s the Best Degree Path to Becoming a Biomedical Engineer?

Selecting a program of study is a major decision. If you feel torn between pursuing an innovative career in engineering and a fulfilling career in the medical field, biomedical engineering might be perfect for you. The position is relatively new and rapidly growing. You will have to give some thought to what degree path will be the best choice to help you prepare for a career in biomedical engineering.

What Exactly Is a Biomedical Engineer?

Biomedical engineers combine the theories and techniques of engineering with the needs of the healthcare industry. They do this to creeate new solutions to medical problems. Just a few of the advances made by biomedical engineers include:

  • artificial internal organs
  • devices that take the place of nonfunctional body parts
  • diagnostic tools

Biomedical engineers begin a project by investigating a medical need. They then work to:

  • solve the problem
  • develop a better method to treat the condition
  • develop a better way to detect the condition

Biomedical engineers:

  • conceptualize their ideas
  • develop and test prototypes
  • make adjustments

The products, processes and tools they create are used primarily to diagnose and treat disorders in the human body. So it is especially important that biomedical engineers pay attention to making their creations safe. They do this by minimizing the potential risks to patients and working to make them as effective as possible. When new equipment or products are ready for use, it’s a biomedical engineer’s job to:

  • put the systems in place
  • teach staff how to use them
  • perform maintenance and repairs

Biomedical Engineering Curriculum

As with virtually any career in engineering, a degree is required for this field. How aspiring biomedical engineers go about earning their degree is open to interpretation. Some students are now enrolling in programs that focus specifically in biomedical engineering. Other students begin their academic paths in a related discipline of engineering, like chemical or mechanical engineering. This is according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Students may start in a different major because their desired school doesn’t offer a major in biomedical engineering specifically. Or possibly they may not have known they wanted to go into biomedical engineering until they began their studies. After earning a bachelor’s degree in another engineering field, these students may seek out biomedical engineering positions relevant to their field of study or go on to earn a graduate degree in biomedical engineering.

Any biomedical engineering degree program will include a combination of courses in engineering and biology. Students will study computer programming and circuit design alongside anatomy and physiology. In classrooms and lab experiences, they will learn about mechanics and engineering principles. Many programs expose students to real-world experience working with medical facilities.

Working as a biomedical engineer is a truly fulfilling career. It combines opportunities in biology, medicine and engineering. Biomedical engineering is an up-and-coming field. It’s experiencing such rapid growth that experts anticipate job opportunities for these professionals to grow by as much as 72 percent over a decade.

Brenda Rufener
Author

Julie McCaulley
Expert

Carrie Sealey-Morris
Editor-in-Chief