How to become a biomedical engineer

  • Biomedical engineers are responsible for analyzing and finding solutions to problems related to medicine and biology. Their ultimate goal is to provide better and more effective patient care. It is a part of their job to design medical diagnostic equipment, artificial organs, and similar medical systems. They also install, maintain, fine-tune, and fix equipment. Biomedical engineers are usually employed in health care, government, manufacturing, and higher education. But before they can find their place in any of these industries, they have to complete the necessary educational requirements to become a full-fledged biomedical engineer.

  • Biomedical engineer requirements

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that students who are interested in pursuing a career in biomedical engineering should take advanced courses in life science, computer programming, calculus, chemistry, physics, and English during their high school years. It also helps to hone their speech communication skills and expose themselves to the medical or engineering fields in preparation for engineering school.

    Aspiring biomedical engineers should only take courses in a school approved by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). They usually choose a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering program. However, biomedical engineering programs may vary in their focus, with some focusing on gearing their students for an industrial career.

    Relevant courses that may be considered include a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering or a Bachelor of Science in Engineering with a focus on biomedical engineering.

    While in college, students may participate in an internship or volunteer work, usually offered by the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES). As a volunteer, students will improve their experience in the field, grow their network, and discover new things about themselves and the industry.

    After college, graduates must become a licensed professional engineer first. They must get passing scores at the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam to get their license. Exam requirements usually include a degree from any ABET-accredited program. Once they pass the exam, they have to spend at least four years in the biomedical engineering field.

    Some aspiring biomedical engineers choose to pursue higher education. Those who take a Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering have to study paramedical disciplines, fundamental computing skills, quantitative analysis, mathematical modeling, and informatics. They also learn bioinstrumentation, biomedical optics, biosignal processing, and neurosensory engineering.

    Students who pursue a Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Engineering degree have to research about different medical conditions. They have to learn about improving health by taking cross-disciplinary courses that combine engineering sciences with biomedical sciences and clinical practice.

    With their passing FE exam scores and work experience, aspiring engineers must pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam to finally become a licensed professional engineer.

    How long does it take to become a biomedical engineer

    It usually takes four years for full-time college students to complete a bachelor of science program in biomedical engineering. This already includes taking field and professional electives, co-ops with biomedical engineering companies, off-campus internships, and group projects during the senior year. Those who want to pursue advanced degree have to spend more years in school, depending on the degree program and the specialty requirements of the profession that they are interested in.