Biomedical engineers combine design, engineering, and medical skills to develop groundbreaking instruments, tools, and software for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation. Basically, the field deals with manufacturing and design in the healthcare industry.
Biomedical engineers are needed in various companies that deal with research, development, and the use of life-saving equipment such as 3-D printing for organs, implantable medical devices, and surgical-robotic tools. As such, with the proper qualifications, you can get a job with well-paying employers for biomedical engineers.
You will need a degree in a relevant field such as biomedical science or engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical or electronic engineering, and physics.
A Master’s of Science in Biomedical Engineering or a Master of Engineering focusing on biomedical engineering increases your chances of getting high-paying opportunities, upward job mobility, and career flexibility.
Where do biomedical engineers work?
Biomedical engineers work in pharmaceutical companies, hospitals & healthcare centers, medical research institutes, and universities. Their roles include designing surgical robotics tools, implantable medical devices, and 3-D printing for organs among other life-saving innovations. That said, below are seven employers of biomedical engineers.
1. Pharmaceutical companies
Pharmaceutical companies are licensed businesses that deal with the development, research, marketing, and distribution of drugs in the healthcare industry. They need biomedical engineers to help design, develop, and test drug delivery devices like insulin pumps and automatic drug therapies and injectors.
Apart from the degree in a relevant field, you need to be keen on detail and more precise to ensure the devices discharge the correct doses to patients because any mistake can be fatal. You also have a chance to assist pharmaceutical patients through experimentation and the creation of innovative treatments.
Employees in pharmaceutical companies earn an average annual salary of $82K.
Universities are the central brain of many types of research, including research on medical tools and equipment. Biomedical engineers are therefore required to help the research teams to design and test the equipment. They also assist in researching new medical technologies and undertaking studies on end products.
Besides, those with Ph.D. in biomedical engineering can be employed as professors at universities. Based on their specialization, professors train students aspiring to be biomedical engineers in different sectors and help in research work.
Professors at the university earn a median annual salary of $89,106.
3. Hospitals and healthcare centers
Hospitals and healthcare centers need biomedical engineers to help them acquire and maintain medical equipment and supplies. They offer consultancy services on purchasing equipment such as beds and stretchers, anesthesia machines, surgical lasers, monitoring devices, and disease-detecting machines.
They also train staff on how to use medical devices and other technologies on patients. And, in case of faulty machines, they can come in to do repairs.
Biomedical engineers in charge of medical equipment and supplies in hospitals earn a median annual pay of $101,230.
4. Medical research laboratories
Research laboratories focus on developing new medical equipment and technologies in the healthcare industry. They require biomedical engineers to oversee the activities in the lab and conduct research on effective medical devices.
A degree in a biomedical engineering-related field will land you a job in research labs, but a Master’s qualification gives you an upper hand.
You should also possess strong teamwork skills as biomedical engineers in research labs work hand in hand with their fellows and other experts such as chemists, biologists, and medical professionals to discharge their duties.
Biomedical engineers working in research laboratories earn an average annual salary of $104,820. This makes it one of the highest-paying medical certifications in the U.S.
5. Government agencies
Many government agencies hire biomedical engineers to test medical devices, approve device patents and establish safety standards. For instance, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office need biomedical engineers as patent examiners. They approve patent applications for new drugs and devices to advance medical practice.
Similarly, other government agencies such as Air Force, Navy, and Army need these professionals to study environmental effects on the health and performance of their soldiers and come up with effective treatments.
6. Medical equipment manufacturers
Medical equipment manufacturing companies continuously develop machines and devices for treating patients. They also develop electro-medical laboratory tools for diagnosing and treating medical conditions.
Medical equipment manufacturers need the services of biomedical engineers to work with other experts in developing medical equipment. Biomedical engineers also work to improve existing devices such as electrotherapeutic equipment and hearing aids.
The median annual income of biomedical engineers in the manufacturing sector is $116,880.
7. Software development companies
There are software companies that focus on designing computer applications for operating medical equipment, statistical modeling, and tracking patients and their data. These companies employ biomedical engineers who contribute to medical computer systems and programs.
For instance, they develop software for creating medical images, modeling the human body system, and tailoring patients’ medical devices.
Biomedical engineers working in software development companies earn a median annual salary of $113,240.
Best-paying cities for biomedical engineers
The median annual salary for biomedical engineers in the US is $97,410, which is about $46.83 per hour. However, the pay varies based on the company you work for and the city. Some of the places where biomedical engineers enjoy good pay are tabulated in the table below;
|City||State/District||Median annual salary|
|Washington||District of Columbia||$112,930|
|Newark||New Jersey/New York||$111,880|
FAQs about biomedical engineering career
Let’s now have a look at the common questions regarding biomedical engineering as a career.
1. Is there a high demand for biomedical engineers?
Yes, there is high demand for biomedical engineers as their services are needed in the private, government, and consultancy sectors. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), biomedical engineering opportunities are expected to grow by 6% from 2020 to 2030, almost the average growth rate for all other careers.
This represents 1,400 job openings in the biomedical field per year over a decade. Vacancies are expected to open up due to attrition of workers, including retirement, transfers, resignation, or death. New generations also demand better healthcare facilities, which will accelerate job opportunities for biomedical engineers.
2. How to become a biomedical engineer
To become a biomedical engineer, you will need a degree in biomedical science, biomedical engineering, or any other medical engineering-related subject. You can also pursue a Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering or a Master of Engineering focusing on biomedical engineering to venture into the field.
After completing your degree, it is advisable to build your job experience through voluntary work, research work, industrial placement, and internship. This will give you a better chance to work in the best-paying cities for biomedical engineers.
The following key skills are also necessary for becoming a successful biomedical engineer:
- Team working and communication skills
- Excellent attention to details
- Analytical skills
- Creative and technical skills
- Keen interest in design
3. Is biomedical engineering a good career?
Biomedical engineering is a profitable career for the following reasons:
- You get opportunities to work in the dynamic and progressive sector. The medical sector keeps advancing as there is a need to develop new equipment and treatments to tackle emerging diseases. You get to learn more as you advance your career.
- There is a chance to work in various work environments. As highlighted above, various companies and sectors employ biomedical engineers. This means you can work in different settings such as research labs, hospitals, universities, and other organizations.
- Offers a prodigious job outlook and a rewarding salary. Job opportunities in the biomedical field are expected to grow by 6% from 2020 to 2030, which is as good as the average of all other occupations. It also has a decent median annual salary of $97,410.
- Gives you a chance to better lives. Through research and innovation in the field, you can develop better medical devices and treatments that will assist healthcare providers in their service delivery. Safer and less invasive medical processes better the lives of patients.
4. Do biomedical engineers go to med school?
Biomedical engineers don’t necessarily need to attend med school. However, if you wish to become a doctor or a surgeon, you can pursue a medical degree in med school. This career path is one of the best-paying occupations, with a median annual salary of $157,920 for physicians and $289,188 for surgeons.
5. Does NASA employ biomedical engineers?
Yes, NASA employs biomedical engineers to help develop advanced life-support equipment that allows astronauts to live longer in space. Astronauts normally visit space for a limited time as they may not breathe longer. This is bound to change with research and improvements of life support machines by the biomedical team.
The team also focuses on explorative life research, atmosphere revitalization, trace contaminant control, water recovery, waste management, trade studies, and down the selection to improve future space explorations.
Biomedical engineering is a good field to venture into because there are a lot of high-paying job opportunities in different sectors. You can work at universities, research labs, government agencies, hospitals, manufacturing industries, software development companies, and pharmaceutical organizations.
Besides, you can proceed to med school if you wish to be a doctor or a surgeon. Simply, there are a lot of career opportunities to explore as a biomedical engineering graduate.