Biomedical Engineers


Requirements

Education and Training Requirements

High School

You can best prepare for a career as a biomedical engineer by taking courses in biology, health, anatomy and physiology, chemistry, physics, mathematics (especially calculus), and computers (especially digital design and programming). Communication and problem-solving skills are necessary, so classes in English, writing, and logic are important. Participating in science clubs and competing in science fairs will give you the opportunity to design and invent systems and products.

Postsecondary Training

Most biomedical engineers have an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering or a related field and a Ph.D. in some facet of biomedical engineering. Undergraduate study is roughly divided into halves. The first two years are devoted to theoretical subjects, such as abstract physics and differential equations in addition to the core curriculum most undergraduates take. The third and fourth years include more applied science. Nearly all students participate in at least one internship or co-op at a hospital or a related employer. In the United States, biomedical engineering programs are accredited by ABET (http://www.abet.org). More than 75 baccalaureate-level biomedical engineering program are accredited by ABET.

You'll need to earn a master's degree to become eligible for managerial and top research positions, and a doctorate of you want to become a college professor at top schools. During graduate programs, students work on research or product development projects headed by faculty.

Other Education or Training

Many professional associations provide continuing education (CE) opportunities to biomedical engineers. For example, the Biomedical Engineering Society offers webinars, workshops, and seminars. Recent webinars included "Leadership Development and Networking," "Best Practices for Running Your Own Lab and Managing Employees," and "Developing an Industry Career in Biomedical Engineering." Additionally, the following organizations offer CE opportunities for biomedical engineers: American Society for Engineering Education, Biotechnology Industry Organization, IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, and the Canadian Medical and Biological Engineering Society. Contact these organizations for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Engineers whose work may affect the life, health, or safety of the public must be registered according to regulations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Applicants for registration must have received a degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program and have four years of experience. They must also pass a written examination administered by the state in which they wish to work.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Any experience one can obtain in biomedical engineering—such as an internship, volunteering, or a part-time job—will be useful.

You should have a strong commitment to learning if you plan on becoming a biomedical engineer. You should be scientifically inclined and be able to apply that knowledge in problem solving. Becoming a biomedical engineer requires long years of schooling because a biomedical engineer needs to be an expert in the fields of engineering and biology. Also, biomedical engineers have to be familiar with chemical, material, and electrical engineering as well as physiology and computers.