Job Profile – Biomedical Product Engineer

A research specialist holds a microfluidic chip that tests for latent tuberculosis.

photo by Karin Higgins/UC Davis

Biomedical Product Engineer

Basic Job Description:

Research biological aspects of humans or other animals to develop new theories and facts, or test, prove, or modify known theories of life systems, and to design life-support apparatus, utilizing principles of engineering and bio-behavioral sciences.

Read the entire job description here.

Do you value being of service to others? Are you excited by understanding living systems? Can you see yourself combining the challenges of medical and biological studies with your passion for  engineering analysis and design? If you are interested in using state-of-the-art science and technology to solve the complex problems of medical care a career in Biomedical Product Engineering may be a good fit for you. Job duties may include extensive research into biological and medical problems with the goal of improving the quality and effectiveness of patient care, developing models that simulate biological systems, or designing and executing or improving existing instruments and devices capable of measuring and controlling body function. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that:

Employment of biomedical engineers is expected to grow by 62 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand will be strong because an aging population is likely to need more medical care and because of increased public awareness of biomedical engineering advances and their benefits. The median pay for Biomedical Engineers is $81,540 per year.”

Because this is such a huge field, most biomedical engineers choose to specialize in one particular area. Tissue, medical imaging, orthopedic surgery, biomechanics, and genetic engineering are just a few of the many specialties available. Biomedical engineers generally work in manufacturing, universities, hospitals, research facilities of companies and educational and medical institutions, teaching, and government regulatory agencies. If Biomedical Engineering is of interest to you should take note of CareerDirectory.org’s 5 steps for pursuing this career and consider whether or not it is a good fit for you.

Step 1: Start Preparing in High School

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), high school students interested in an engineering education should take advanced placement courses in calculus, life science, chemistry, computer programming, English and physics to prepare for engineering school (http://www.bls.gov). Speech courses to develop communication skills are also a good idea. Experience in the engineering or medical fields can be gained through going to engineering camps in the summer, talking to professionals and job shadowing.

Step 2: Complete a Bachelor’s Degree Program

Some certifications and licensing requirements require a degree from a school accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). A Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from an accredited school is the usually requirement for a career as a biomedical engineer.

Programs may have different focuses, such as a focus on industrial careers. It is important to choose a program that is in line with your career goals. Relevant degrees include a Bachelor of Science in Engineering with a specialty in biomedical engineering or a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering. You may need to enroll in a pre-engineering program before admittance to certain engineering programs.

Step 3: Consider Volunteer Work or an Internship

The Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) offers the opportunity for you to volunteer within the field while you are pursuing your degree (http://www.bmes.org). According to the BMES, volunteering helps you to gain experience, network and discover new ideas. The BMES also offers internship opportunities, which can allow you to gain work experience, expand your knowledge and build your skills.

Step 4: Obtain a Fundamentals of Engineering License

To become a biomedical engineer who can offer their services to the community or the public you must first become a licensed professional engineer. You must pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam before passing the exam to become a licensed engineer. This exam requires holding a degree from an ABET-accredited program. After passing the exam, you need to work for a minimum of four years in the field.

Step 5: Obtain a Principles and Practice of Engineering License

After passing the FE exam and gaining the required work experience, you must achieve a passing score on the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam to become a licensed professional engineer. The PE exam tests your competency in the field of engineering. The PE exams are offered in different specialties. There is no PE exam specifically for biomedical engineers, so you may choose which PE exam you take.

Want to learn more about a career in engineering or medicine? Please add your questions and comments below.

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