How To Advance Your Career As A Biomedical Engineer
Biomedical engineering is a new field and is one of the fastest-growing engineering disciplines.
With advancements in technology and the need for better innovative healthcare, there’s a rising need for skilled biomedical engineers to bridge the gap.
Biomedical engineering ranks #5 in the list of best engineering jobs. However, there are several different career paths for biomedical engineers, all of which require some form of specialization. Selecting the wrong field can be detrimental to your career.
The challenge, however, is there are very few companies in the field, limiting opportunities, as discussed by a practicing engineer on biomedical engineering Reddit.
With that, today we’ll discuss:
- Different career outlooks and prospects
- Job opportunities in the respective fields
- Requirements and salary estimations
These will give you a better glimpse of the biomedical engineering field and provide insight on how to climb up the ranks so that you can set yourself apart as a biomedical engineer.
Biomedical Engineering Career Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 10% growth in biomedical engineers and bioengineers’ employment between 2021 and 2031, which is faster than average.
It’s also estimated that on average, every year throughout the decade, there’ll be 1,400 openings for biomedical engineers and bioengineers stemming from the replacement of workers who transfer to different fields or exit due to retirement.
The projected growth comes from rapid growth in technology and smartphone integration, its implementation in medical equipment, and the increasing demand for hip and knee replacements due to the growing population of senior citizens.
There is a demand for biomedical engineers in all areas of biomedical engineering and biomedical research. These biomedical engineers are needed to find solutions for the new breakthroughs in medical research and development that will improve human health.
There are biomedical engineering jobs in biomedical research and development, biomedical manufacturing (pharmaceuticals), biomedical equipment sales companies, biomedical departments at universities, hospitals/clinics and medical devices manufacturers.
The main sectors of this industry are biomedical equipment manufacturing (40%), biotechnology (25%), biomedical business management consulting services (13%) biomedical imaging (7%) and others (6%).
Biomedical engineers will be able to find employment in biomedical research facilities because they will be needed for most areas of biomedical equipment manufacturing.
They will also be needed for biopharmaceutical laboratories where they can conduct studies on new medicines and vaccines.
Biomedical Engineering Career Prospects
Technology is at the forefront of healthcare advancement, and biomedical engineering is the center of the two.
Biomedical engineering stands as the major driving force behind medical innovation.
Healthcare is a concern for everyone on the planet. Therefore, a lot of investment has been put into finding solutions to improve the quality of life for all humans.
In 2014, there were 288,500 biomedical engineers employed in the U.S. As new biomedical technologies develop that improve human health there will be more jobs created to fulfill the demand of those products or services.
There are several reasons for increased employment growth including new technologies for cardiac imaging which allow physicians to visualize detailed anatomical location and function of heart tissue.
Also as medical technology improves clinicians can perform higher quality procedures with less chance of their patients experiencing complications from the procedures.
Being a relatively new field compared to other engineering disciplines such as mechanical, electrical, and chemical engineering, employment opportunities in biomedical engineering have grown up to 72% between 2012 and 2018.
Previously, job positions in biomedical engineering were dominated by mechanical engineers because they could specialize on the go. However, biomedical engineering demands more specialization. You’ll have an advantage if you major in biomedical engineering.
The biomedical engineering industry has been growing at an exponential rate. Now is the perfect time for graduates in this area of study to enter the workforce. Occupational growth rates are projected upwards of 25% by 2022 according to BLS data from 2014-2024 projections, almost twice as high as most other fields at 14%.
The projected employment growth rate up to the year 2024, 18%, is higher than the average growth rate predicted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics 10% for all occupations. Projected employment numbers of biomedical engineers from 2014-2024 are:
- Biomedical technicians: 12,600 with a growth rate of 15%
- Biomedical scientists: 100,000 with a growth rate of 20%
- Biomedical engineering technicians: 52,300 with a growth rate of 11%
With this information, it is clear that there will be high employment rates for biomedical engineers in biomedical research and development companies, healthcare facilities, biomedical manufacturing, hospitals/clinics, medical equipment sales companies and university biomedical departments.
The BLS said that engineers are going to see job growth and around 65,000 new engineer jobs will be added during the next ten years.
The employment outlook is different for different types of engineers during this time period. Here are the employment outlooks for various types of engineers during that same 10-year period:
- Biomedical engineer: 23.1%
- Environmental engineer: 12.4%
- Petroleum engineer: 9.8%
- Marine engineer: 8.9%
- Civil engineer: 8.4%
- Mechanical engineers: 5.3%
- Computer hardware engineers: 3.1%
7 Biomedical Engineering Career Options
Biomedical engineering is a multidisciplinary field that integrates engineering and biology, applied engineering concepts and materials to medicine and healthcare.
Biomedical engineers can work in: research facilities, manufacturing, and medical institutions, among others. Their work involves designing surgical tools, medical devices, implants, 3-D painted organs, and other innovations that save lives.
Career options for biomedical engineers are diverse. Depending on the area of specialty, bioengineers can work as the following:
The main focus of biomedical engineers is developing new equipment and devices to improve human health through the integration of technology and medicine.
With an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering, you can choose to pursue a medical degree and become a doctor or surgeon.
To achieve this, biomedical engineering students take courses in physiology, molecular biology, human anatomy, and pharmacology, just like MD students, making for an easier transition.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there’s an unexpected growth of 13% in positions for doctors and surgeons between 2018 and 2028. Therefore it’s worthwhile to make the switch to medicine.
This job involves designing and developing biomaterials, either natural living tissues or artificial materials for use in the human body. Biomaterials can be used to detect and image disease or repair and replace lost function in the body.
As a biomaterials developer, your job is to ensure implant materials are free of carcinogens and toxins to ensure 100% safety for patients. Implants also have to be structurally sound, inert, and chemically stable to last a lifetime.
Other areas where you can work in biomaterials development are biomedical implant development, tissue engineering, nano implants, and drug delivery.
There’s no shortage of jobs in biomaterials development, and the projected employment rate is 7% according to BLS. At the entry level, all you need is your Bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering.
With a Bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering, you can work as a manufacturing engineer for medical products. These products include hospital equipment, prosthetics, imaging devices, medical instruments, and more.
As a manufacturing engineer, your responsibilities are developing and cost-effectively designing quality medical products to help improve the healthcare industry.
Manufacturing engineers with a background in biomedical engineering are tasked with a leadership position in designing medical products or managing the design team as a whole.
This is a competitive job, and positions are often open to other engineering disciplines.
Software engineers with a background in biomedical engineering focus on designing and developing computer programs used for a wide range of medical applications. These programs allow personnel in medical facilities to display and manipulate recorded medical data.
To work as a software engineer, you need additional education and specialization in information technology. This can either be a major in IT or proceeding with a Master’s degree in IT.
Biomedical Researcher or Biomedical Scientist
Biomedical engineers work as researchers. As a biomedical scientist, your job involves using clinical trials to research and find solutions for medical problems by conducting scientific laboratory tests.
Biomedical engineering researchers spend much of their time seeking information to help in designing and developing medical products and biomedical technology. They also conduct product testing to ensure they’re safe to use on patients.
Biomechanics is also a field where biomedical engineers can work as researchers. The job involves integrating medical problems and body systems to help create biomedical devices.
Biomedical scientists can also teach at the university level. To become a researcher, you need an MBA or PhD in Biomedical Engineering or other related disciplines.
The job growth rate projection for biomedical scientists is 8% by the BLS. Faster than the average occupation growth rate of 3%.
Becoming a biomedical consultant is a great career path for a biomedical engineer. They get to work with research institutions and medical organizations and give them recommendations and guidance individually.
Consultants help medical organizations with decision-making, workforce organization, execution of processes, equipment selection, among other important decisions. This can take place for an extended period, sometimes years.
Independent biomedical consultants can work with multiple businesses and cultivate great relationships with various stakeholders while also enjoying the benefits of diverse experiences and being their own boss!
As a biomedical engineer, you can venture into a rehabilitation engineering career. This job involves designing and developing prosthetics to help people who have lost limbs regain normal function.
Other roles you might work on are creating custom solutions for rehabilitation technology by making research improvements based on unique needs.
Biomedical Engineers working in rehabilitation get to work on diverse projects ranging from mechanical equipment that help patients regain mobility or virtual reality systems for better limb mobility.
Biomedical Engineering Career Ladder
Careers in biomedical engineering are diverse, and since some may be closely related, advancement hierarchies are sometimes horizontal.
The career ladder in every biomedical field has 5 major steps. Progression depends on experience, area of specialization, and academic level achievement.
- Top-level engineer
- Entry-level engineer
- Junior level engineer
- Mid-level engineer
- Senior-level engineer
When you sign up with Quantic, you get access to a career development platform where you connect to top employers in the industry and apply for exclusive job positions.
How to Strengthen Career in Biomedical Engineering
The first step to a great career is to get your foot in the door. Once you secure an entry-level job, the rest should be much easier. Here are a few tips to give you an edge and help strengthen your biomedical career.
Join a Professional Society
Professional societies are well known for helping people climb up the ladder through networking. They organize events where you meet leaders, specialists, and peers who can provide great insights and connect you to prospective employers.
Great professional societies in the biomedical field include:
- The Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS)
- The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
- The Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), the Materials Research Society (MRS)
- The Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS)
Advancing your education by enrolling in a master’s or PhD helps elevate your skills in the field and provides more specialization, increasing your qualification for certain job positions with higher pay.
The first step to a great career is to get your foot in the door. Once you secure an entry-level job, the rest should be much easier. Here are a few tips to give an edge and help strengthen your biomedical career.
Here are a couple of examples of people who chose to study with Quantic:
- Tracey Mullen, a Chemical-Biological engineer from MIT, started her career in antibody discovery and then pursued an MBA degree through Quantic to advance her career. She joined Abveris as Director of Antibody Discovery Operations and was later promoted to Chief Operating Officer and then to Chief Executive Officer. This demonstrates the importance of continuous learning and skill development to advance one’s career within the biomedical industry.
- Dr. Young began his career as a doctor, but he eventually transitioned into law to become a patient safety advocate, driven by personal experience with medical malpractice. Through his work at Ross Feller Casey LLP, he represents plaintiffs in medical malpractice actions, fighting for those who have been catastrophically harmed by the healthcare system. Dr. Young’s story highlights the importance of following one’s dreams and leveraging one’s skills to make a meaningful impact in the world.
Keep up With Technology
The biomedical engineering industry is dependent on technology. With the rapid advancements in technology, it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the industry to keep you on top of your game and improve your eligibility to prospective employers.
Research in the medical field never stops, and neither should you. Several illnesses are yet to be cured and even more developing by the day.
To succeed as a biomedical engineer, conduct more research so that you can come up with innovative solutions to unsolved healthcare problems. You never know. You just might be the one to cure cancer.
Biomedical Engineering Salaries
Wondering how much you can make as a biomedical engineer? Well, let’s just say it’s an enriching career.
So how much are we talking? Let’s find out.
What is the Starting Salary for Biomedical Engineering?
According to Payscale, entry-level jobs for biomedical engineers pay a basic salary of $50,000 to $98,000, plus a bonus between $517 to $10,000. This brings the average total to around $68,158 per year.
These jobs include biomedical engineer, quality engineer, development engineer,
design engineer, associate engineer. They all require a bachelor’s degree.
What is the Average Salary for Biomedical Engineering?
Biomedical engineers earn based on their seniority. Salaries and wages vary by state, but on average, a biomedical engineer makes $87,932 yearly which is 44 percent above the national average, according to Career Explorer.
How Much Does a Masters in Biomedical Engineering Make?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, biomedical engineers with a master’s degree had a starting salary of $67,360 a year on average. This is significantly high compared to their bachelor’s degree counterparts.
A master’s degree also makes them eligible for higher positions that come with better pay, such as mid-level engineers who make $87,932 a year on average.
How Much Do Biomedical Engineers With an MBA Make?
Biomedical engineers with an MBA are eligible to work in either pharmaceutical management or hospital management. Those are two best compatible MBA specializations.
Their average salary for a pharmaceutical project manager is $107,015 and $86,000 for hospital operations director, and $160,000 for CEOs.
MBA Course Curriculum & Syllabus for Engineers
A great MBA course curriculum for biomedical engineers should include business concepts such as finance.
Building a successful engineering career takes more than technical skills. You have to understand the business side of it too. This involves administration, management, marketing, finance, personnel, and planning.
Strong business and finance concepts help engineers to manage projects, teams, and budgeting effectively. Get started with a free online business and finance course.
Marketing skills help engineers understand customers’ needs and wants, making them design better products to suit their needs. Quantic offers a competitive marketing MBA course that will help you take your career to the next level. Sign up today.
An organization’s survival in today’s competitive market depends on management’s ability to envision and run operations. As an engineer, you’re responsible for the company’s strategic management. A strategy course at Quantic Is just what you need to take that next step.
Managing a team requires data analysis and critical decision-making. As an engineer, you should analyze data, interpret it and use it to make important decisions for your team. A statistics course is the right step towards achieving this goal.
Leadership skills are crucial for engineers as most get to work as team leaders for various projects. Learn how to manage your team and achieve maximum productivity by taking an online course on leadership.
At Quantic, we offer comprehensive and radically affordable online MBAs to help you advance your career to the next level. We are an accredited US institution offering a wide variety of online courses and a career network to help connect you to the top employers.
Start your journey with us today.