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 the perfect field for you. Because 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 to innovate 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, and diagnostic tools.

Biomedical engineers begin a project by investigating a medical need. They then undertake to solve the problem or develop a better method of treating or detecting the condition. Biomedical engineers conceptualize their ideas, develop and test prototypes, and make adjustments. Because the products, processes and tools they create are used primarily to diagnose and treat disorders within the human body, it is especially important that biomedical engineers pay attention to making their creations safe 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 and perform maintenance and repairs.

Biomedical Engineering Curriculum

As with virtually any career in engineering, a degree is required to pursue 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, while other students begin their academic paths in a related discipline of engineering, like chemical or mechanical engineering the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Students may start in a different major because their desired school doesn’t offer the opportunity to major in biomedical engineering specifically, or because 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 combines opportunities in biology, medicine and engineering to create a truly fulfilling career. Biomedical engineering is an up-and-coming field, 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

Julie McCaulley

Carrie Sealey-Morris