Biomedical Engineers picture    Biomedical Engineers image

Biomedical Engineers

Biomedical engineers use a combination of biology, medical knowledge and engineering principles and practices to create devices and procedures to solve health and medical related problems. They assist in the development and improvement of a wide array of medical instruments and devices such as kidney machines, heart valves and lasers utilized in eye surgeries.

Biomedical engineering includes the fields of image processing, biomechanics, 3D modeling, clinical engineering, medical imaging, bioinstrumentation, genetic engineering and cellular research. Other fields are systems physiology, rehabilitation engineering, biomaterials and tissue engineering.

Some biomedical engineers perform research at universities and hospitals. Some biomedical engineers are employed at hospitals and monitor and maintain complex medical systems. Some of these engineers are employed by companies that make biomedical equipment.


  • Advise hospital administrators regarding the planning, acquisition and the use of medical equipment
  • Coordinate automated patient monitoring
  • Evaluate the efficiency, effectiveness and safety of biomedical equipment
  • Create computer simulations or models of human biobehavioral systems in order to gather data for measuring or controlling life processes
  • Work with medical imaging systems
  • Design optimal clinical laboratories
  • Learn and apply sports medicine techniques
  • Research new materials to be used for products
  • Design and develop medical diagnostic and clinical instrumentation, equipment and procedures
  • Perform research on the engineering aspects of biological systems of humans and animals

Job Characteristics

Biomedical engineers work in modern well-equipped research centers, hospitals and manufacturing facilities. Many engineers work 40 hours a week. They may have to work overtime to meet deadlines. Biomedical engineers should be creative, analytical and detailed oriented. They should also be able to work well as part of a team.

Employment Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected a 72 percent employment growth for biomedical engineers from 2008 to 2018 which is much faster than the average for all occupations. The aging of the population and an increasing emphasis on health issues will increase demand for better medical equipment and devices designed by biomedical engineers. In addition, the median annual earnings for biomedical engineers in 2008 was $77,400.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

Biomedical engineers need at least a bachelor's degree. Some colleges and universities provide classes and degrees in biomedical engineering. Some biomedical engineering programs provide internships. Some biomedical engineers earn a degree in subjects such as chemical, industrial, electrical or mechanical engineering. Specialized biomedical training is needed.

Some candidates obtain an advanced degree in biomedical engineering or a related subject. Many biomedical engineers, especially those working in research laboratories, need a graduate degree. A broad background is an asset in the field.

Some of the common course programs and areas of study at biomedical engineering schools are physical chemistry and cell structure, molecular bioengineering, medical imaging, biomedical instrument design, biomolecular architecture, cell mechanics, and mechanics of biomaterials. Beneficial courses include physiology, biology, biophysics, biochemistry and medical instrumentation.

Candidates for the occupation should also have a strong background in technical and medical technology. They should also have advanced mathematics skills.

The Accreditation Board for Education and Technology provides accreditation to biomedical engineering programs. The Biomedical Engineering Society is another organization that approves and regulates biomedical engineering degree programs and studies in biomedical sciences.

Biomedical engineers may need to be licensed by the state where they are working. Every state requires licensure for engineers that offer their services directly to the public. Licensure typically requires a degree from an ABET accredited engineering program, four years of relevant work experience and passing a state examination.


Major Employers

The primary employers are biomedical equipment manufacturers, universities, hospitals and government agencies.

Schools for Biomedical Engineers are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for
Biomedical Engineers

Listed below are the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in Biomedical Engineers jobs , as of 2016

Metro Area Total Employment Annual Mean Salary
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim 1,260 $91,210
San Diego-Carlsbad 950 $91,130
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward 900 $96,660
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara 590 $132,960
Salt Lake City 510 $79,640
Austin-Round Rock 430 $87,480
Pittsburgh 410 $70,000
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale 370 $97,000
Cleveland-Elyria 320 $73,150
Durham-Chapel Hill 270 $77,900

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Total employment and salary for professions similar to biomedical engineers

Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Biomedical Engineers

To find out more about building a career as Biomedical Engineers, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

All Types

Source : 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, BLS.gov

Most Popular Industries for
Biomedical Engineers

These industries represent at least 1% of the total number of people employed in this occupation.

Industry Total Employment Percent Annual Median Salary
Miscellaneous Manufacturing 3,630 24% $81,870
Professional And Technical Services 3,580 23% $81,350
Chemicals 2,530 16% $76,470
Hospital 1,570 10% $60,700
Electronics And Computer 1,360 9% $84,150
Education 900 5% $63,620
Durable Goods Wholesale 520 3% $83,340
Government 430 2% $82,480
Business Management 230 1% $66,420
Medical Office 210 1% $76,220
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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Biomedical Engineers.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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