There are approximately 19,800 biomedical engineers working in the United States. About 16 percent are employed in scientific research and development, and 19 percent work in medical equipment and supplies manufacturing. In addition, many biomedical engineers are employed in hospitals and medical institutions, in pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing, and in research and educational facilities. Employment opportunities also exist in government regulatory agencies.
California and Massachusetts have the largest number of biotechnology companies. Other states with a large number of biotechnology companies include Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota.
A variety of routes may be taken to gain employment as a biomedical engineer. Recent graduates may use college services offices for help with their job search, or they may apply directly to employers, often to personnel offices in hospitals and industry. A job may be secured by answering an advertisement in the employment section of a newspaper. Information on job openings is also available at state employment offices and the federal Office of Personnel Management (https://www.usajobs.gov). Additionally, the Biomedical Engineering Society offers job listings at its Web site, https://www.bmes.org. Visit https://www.bio-link.org/resources/where for a list of biotechnology employers by state.
Advancement opportunities are tied directly to educational and research background. In a nonteaching capacity, a biomedical engineer with an advanced degree can rise to a supervisory position. In teaching, a doctorate is usually necessary to become a full professor. By demonstrating excellence in research, teaching, and departmental committee involvement, one can move from instructor to assistant professor and then to full professor, department chair, or even dean.
Qualifying for and receiving research grant funding can also be a means of advancing one's career in both the nonteaching and teaching sectors.
Some biomedical engineers earn law degrees and work as patent lawyers.
Tips for Entry
Read publications such as Annals of Biomedical Engineering and Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering (both available at https://www.bmes.org/journals) and IEEE Pulse (https://www.embs.org/publications/) to learn more about the field.
Visit the following Web sites for job listings:
Join professional associations such as the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) and the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society to access training and networking resources, industry publications, and employment opportunities.
Participate in internships or part-time jobs that are arranged by your college’s career services office. Professional associations, such as the EMB (http://students.embs.org/), also offer information and mentorship programs at their Web sites.