Do you know how our medicines are made? Have you ever wanted to be involved in the process? If you have these queries, fear not, for you have come to the right page! ?
A biomedical engineer is a working engineer as well as a biomedical professional who makes and examines medicines. If you ask me, it is a very interesting job as you get to combine the fields of engineering and medicine.
The benefits that this job provides are a delight ?If you are interested in becoming one, this blog would help you a lot and I recommend that you make notes along the way?
Question and Answers
A lot of people might have told you that becoming a biomedical engineer is tough. And a lot of hard work and time is indeed required to become one.
Below are some questions that I recommend you think about and answer to yourself. These will help you decide about your career.
- Am I ready to study relentlessly to become a biomedical engineer?
- How much time and money can I spend on research?
- Do I want to specialize even further in the future?
- Do I want to help people? Who am I working for when I become a biomedical engineer?
- Have I thought of any financial plans?
- Will I manage to work in the toughest of conditions like a pandemic?
After thinking to yourself, if you find that most of your answers are yes, then I am glad to tell you that you will be a good biomedical engineer.
Who is a Biomedical Engineer?
As I talked about earlier, a Biomedical engineer is someone who uses the principles and practices of engineering and incorporates these into the field of medicine making. This makes it a very interesting process. ?
A biomedical engineering degree is very different from any other medical degree out there. Becoming a biomedical engineer in this time and age requires a lot of willpower and determination.
This is because work can be burdensome when pandemics like COVID-19 are making their appearance and increasing the workload of healthcare workers worldwide. ?
One example to illustrate what this job looks like is how biomedical engineers might build up some software to test some new medicine they might have created. In doing so, they have successfully combined their expertise in engineering and medicine. ?
As per the statistics of WHO, there are about 22,000 biomedical engineers in the States alone.
How much can a Biomedical Engineer earn?
Becoming a biomedical engineer means you would be working professionally in both the fields of medicine as well as engineering.
This makes it different as well as difficult to manage. But the pay you get is very encouraging. Always understand and take note of the salary trends of the job of your choice. ?
When you just start without any experience, you can expect to get paid at least $71,521 per year. This is a very good amount to start with. As you get more experienced, your pay will increase to an average of $125,221 per year. ?
On average, a biomedical engineer is expected to make up to $88,916 per year. In terms of hourly wages, this comes down to $42.75 per hour.
All these stats are up to date and tell you the latest salary trends for biomedical engineers in 2023. Washington, Oklahoma, and West Virginia are the top three states where becoming a biomedical engineer reaps the most profit. ?
Scope of a biomedical engineer
There is a lot of scope in working as a biomedical engineer.
According to a statistic provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there is a predicted 6% growth in this field from 2022 to 2032. This is faster than a lot of other jobs. ?
They also tell how about 1,200 job openings are posted per year in biomedical science and engineering.
The top two states where this job is in high demand include Massachusetts and Maryland.
Skillset required to become a biomedical engineer
Some skills that you have to learn to become successful in this field are listed below –
- You need to have a strong educational background. So make sure you study hard.
- Your anatomy knowledge and skills should be good.
- Research and analytical skills are also important.
- Ethics are really important when it comes to research. Hence, ethical awareness is also necessary.
- You might lead projects when you work in a team project. Project management skills are hence required.
- You should also have good communication skills.
If you want to learn project management skills better, you can do this course through Google which will also help you get a good certificate on your CV. ?
How to Become a Biomedical Engineer? (Tips)
If you wanna reach your goals, there will always be some steps for you to take. To make sure you don’t lose focus and end up enrolling in a course that might not be the right choice for you, make sure you have the right steps written down somewhere. I have compiled them for you below. ⬇️
Choose the correct STEM courses
There are a variety of STEM courses available during the schooling process. Engineering and medicine are what you have to focus on, and hence, you should take courses that help you build a foundation in these two.
This will require you to sieve through the courses carefully and make sure that you don’t take up any irrelevant ones instead.
A few could be medicine, engineering, healthcare, and mathematics. Doing so would ensure that you have enough information required as prerequisites for your bachelor’s degree later. ✅
Get a Bachelor’s degree
The most basic requirement to become a biomedical engineer right after your foundational courses is a bachelor’s degree. In order to make the right decision, choose the option that is most fitting for the field.
You can get a 1.5 to 4-year degree in healthcare and Medicine in the US. You can also get one in biomedical engineering itself. Some colleges also offer ‘bioengineering.’ Whichever program you choose is completely up to you. Make a choice carefully and then, start studying for your goal. ??
What if you are changing fields?
Suppose you have done a bachelor’s in some completely different field, and now you want to switch to biomedical engineering. You have no idea what to do.
Well, you are reading the section just for you. To be able to switch properly, you will have to take a master’s program, which is going to act as a bridge between your old and now the bioengineering field. ?
Get professional certifications
There are a variety of certification courses available for biomedical engineering.
Some of the few that are the most in demand at the moment are Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician (CBET), Certified Clinical Engineer (CCE), Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ), and Certified Medical Device Reprocessing Technician (CDRT). These are but a few, and you can most definitely find more. ?
More on certifications
Certifications will make up a very important part of your resume and experience as a biomedical engineer.
Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician (CBET)
The International Certification Commission (ICC) is the organization that is responsible for the distribution of the certificate for becoming a Biomedical Equipment Technician. They hold an exam that has to be attempted by applicants for the certificate.
The exam is divided into two parts – the written part and the hands-on part. You need to have at least two years of experience to appear for this exam.
This certificate is a requirement that is proof of your commitment to the profession and recognition of your skills. The cost of appearing for the exam is $250 – $500.
Certified Clinical Engineer (CCE)
The certificate to become a Clinical Engineer is given by the American College of Clinical Engineering (ACCE). This is a non-profit organization whose sole focus is to promote Clinical Engineering and its excellence.
You will have to give an exam to get this certificate as well. The exam contains only the theoretical part and has a fee of $500 for members of the ACCE and $600 for people who are not members.
You need to have at least five years of experience in the field and must hold a bachelor’s degree in any related subject.
Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ)
This certificate is provided by the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ) and is proof of your contributions to the field of Healthcare Quality.
You need to pay a fee of $150 for the application and $350 for the examination. The exam itself takes 3-6 months of preparation and is a two-hundred-question written exam.
Certified Medical Device Reprocessing Technician (CDRT)
This certification for Medical Device Reprocessing depends upon the program you choose to qualify in. This is proof that you have worked in the field of Medical Device Reprocessing and know how to properly clean, disinfect, and utilize equipment reserved for work.
The preparation might take you 6 to 12 months. The fee structure for different programs can start from $500 and can be up to $2,000. Additional charges imposed by the organizing bodies can also range from $50 to $200.
Responsibilities of a Biomedical Engineer
Medicine is a necessary commodity that is not something to be compromised. As someone who is going to make this medicine, you have to take care of a few moral and legal regulations to be a responsible and good biomedical engineer. ?
Look into the repair and maintenance of your equipment
Making medicine won’t be easy. One of the foremost things that come under your list of responsibilities is to ensure that your equipment is alright and up to date.
This is so that you can research and design more treatment medicine. This also ensures that they are safe for use. Safety is what we will discuss in this section.
This article will help you understand more about cleaning equipment. ✅
Design and Develop safe products
Safety is of utmost importance. Whatever you make has to be tested thoroughly so that you can identify any side effects and make it more safe for use. Equipment should also be monitored.
It might be so that some of it has rusted or maybe broken. This can cause complications. Do take care and get such issues fixed to ensure the credibility of your medicine.
Here is a guide to help you get started with designing. ?
Ensure that appliances comply with necessary regulations
Your equipment also needs to adhere to legal regulations. It might be faulty or have incorrect notations.
Adhering to these legal regulations help in increasing the credibility of your work and also keeping your things up to date.
Here is an article to check the regulations. ✅
Be active and design good medicines
The advent of the coronavirus made us realize that a new disease can spring upon us at any time.
To ensure that we have the tools necessary to combat such diseases, a biomedical engineer has to keep on researching such things and be very, very active. ✅
If you want to have a look at what this process looks like, here is a good video.
Tips to Improve Your Biomedical Engineering Career
Just because you got a degree in your dream course doesn’t mean you have the skills down for it too. Some skills are learnt separately by the individual and are to be mastered for proper use. Some skills that I think might help you are given below. ⬇️
Gain more experience
Once you are done with your studies and start looking for jobs, you will find that hiring companies look for experienced individuals. Thus, it’s beneficial if you gain more volunteer or intern experience along the way.
This is because employers mostly prefer people who have had some real-world experience. This helps them as now you would work more effortlessly and professionally. ?
Get yourself a license
Employers and hiring companies also like it when the applicants for the job have a license to attest to their credibility. It is highly recommended that you get yourself a FE or PE license. You would have to give exams for both of these.
Build your network
Building a network is crucially important for one to leave a mark in the minds of other people. By merely interacting with other people in your field, you make them more aware of you and your skills.
This will come in handy when you need a job. You would be able to reach out to these people for opportunities. ?️
You can do this online on platforms like LinkedIn where millions of professionals connect with each other.
Take care of your work environment
Working in a busy and fast-paced environment can turn out to be stressful and too much to manage at times. At times like these, try to remember why you are working so hard and how your hard work and determination are what brought you this far.
It can get overwhelming but don’t get disheartened, and try not to take it out on any colleague. ?
Top Biomedical Engineering Courses in the United States
With the invention and advent of online learning platforms, there’s a lot of increase in the amount of resources you can find online. ?
One of the most advantageous courses that you will find on the internet is Biomedical Visualization which is available on Coursera.
Coursera is a reputed and known online platform that brings you this course with instructors from the University of Glasgow – professors Amy Webster and Paul Rea.
- This course will help you delve into learning technological processes and methods that help in better understanding the human body. ?️
- You will need to give one session a try for four weeks, which means a total of four sessions that are further divided into video and written content.
If you want, you can access the course material for free on the site. But if you want to get the certificate too, you will have to pay $49.
- This course by Udemy has 11.5 hours worth of content which is divided into 13 sections and a total of 107 lectures. With the growth of technology, we have come to realize that nanodevices might just be the best tool in the field.
- This course will be taught by Ahsan Ghoncheh and Dennis Fer. Both of them are part of Rahsoft.
- Upon completion, you will get a certificate of completion as well. You would learn about silicon devices, Microfabrication, Microfluidics, and many other things. ?
This course will cost you $24.99.
eDX is the online platform for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and this course is available there.
- Your instructor for this course would be Professor Bruce C. Wheeler, who is a professor of biomedical engineering at the University of California – Berkeley (UC Berkeley).
- This course contains the foundations of becoming a biomedical engineer and would help you a lot if you aren’t sure about where to start with. It is recommended in case you are just starting. You can do it at your own pace.
- The content is divided into four sessions, each to be attended once a week.
Just like Coursera, the material is available for free but the certificate will cost you $49.
This course is also available on edX and is very advantageous. Remember when we talked about the responsibilities of a biomedical engineer and how you have to take care of your equipment? This course helps you do just that.
- This is taught by Jenny Dankelman and Arjan Knulst. Both of them are professors at the Delft University of Technology.
- The course is ten weeks long and requires you to offer at least 6 to 7 hours of your time daily to complete one session every week.
- Upon completion, you would be able to identify possible defects in your equipment and also understand how to take care of them.
Similar to the previous one, the certificate for this course also costs $49.
Top Biomedical Engineering Schools in the World
There are a lot of offline schools and universities where you can get find your ideal biomedical engineering degree. The topmost ones are listed below. ?
- The first option on this list is John Hopkins University which is located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is highly recommended for your degree.
- The tuition fee here is $53,474.24 per year.
- It offers an MS degree in the field and a duration of just one year.
- The university has a wing – the John Hopkins Center for Biotechnology Education – which is especially dedicated to courses in biotech.
- Stanford University began offering its biomedical courses far back in 1893.
- With such a history and long-standing reputation, it makes it a very good option for getting a biomedical degree.
- It offers both a B.Sc (duration of three years) and an MS (2 years).
- The tuition fee for the undergraduate program is $53,948.83, and for the MS degree, it is $97,968.85.
- At the University of California – Berkeley (UC Berkeley), you will find both an undergraduate degree as well as a master’s.
- The fee for the undergraduate biomedical engineering course is $ 67,085.06, and the duration is three years.
- The fee for the master’s biomedical engineering course is $ 1,07,730.42, and the duration is two years.
- The University of Pennsylvania offers at least 12 undergraduate programs in biotechnology.
- You can do a bachelor’s in biomedical engineering here for $75,589, and the duration of this course would be three years only.
- You can also do the one-year master’s program for $54,861.
- This University is a private Ivy League research college. ?
- At Columbia University, the fee for the undergraduate biomedical engineering course is $ 59,698. It will go on for three years.
- The master’s program is for 1.5 years and will cost you $737.
- The programs teach with a special focus on molecular biology and also approach topics of biotech and pharmacy.
Looking at these fee structures makes it obvious that the quality of the offered courses is going to be top-notch. You have to sit down and choose the best one for you properly, as it will pave the path for your career. ?
Where to find Biomedical engineering opportunities online?
The Internet offers lots of benefits. One of these is the ease of job-hunting. However, since biomedical engineering is primarily an on-site job, the available online opportunities might not be much. ?
Indeed is one of the largest online job hunting portals available on the internet. Adhering to its popularity, Indeed has millions of jobs to choose from all over the world.
You can easily search for any type of job you want with the help of the preferences option you’d find on it. It was launched in November 2004.
All you would have to do is input the features for your dream job, and it will provide you with ht most viable options from the net. ?
Glassdoor is another very viable as well as credible job-hunting portal you would find on the net. One of the most useful features of its site is that it talks about the salary trends and structures of a lot of careers with the help of proper stats.
Other than this, the site allows you to browse your jobs of choice based on three different categories – by job type, by company, and by city. ?️
Making medicine is one of the noblest jobs out there. You are going to help millions and millions of people with the help of your knowledge and research. And I know you are going to be very good at it.
If you need to ask something more about this profession, feel free to ask in the comment section below. I’ll answer your questions as soon as I can.
It’s a job that is going to eat out chunks of your time and needs a lot of investment in the form of money too. But when you finally achieve your goals, all of this seems worthwhile. So, don’t lose hope, and keep on working hard. ?
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I’m a former teacher with a background in child development and a passion for creating engaging and educational activities for children. I strongly understand child development and know how to create activities to help children learn and grow. Spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and volunteering in my community.