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Biomedical Engineer - Education And Experience Requirements

Updated on October 5, 2016
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish has 30 years successful experience in medicine, psychology, STEM courses, and aerospace education (Active AF Civil Air Patrol).

Gunnery Sgt. Angel Barcenas (with Sgt. Justin G. Brown) leads Marines, firemen, and policemen across Manhattan in 2010. His legs were amputated after injuries in Iraq in 2009.
Gunnery Sgt. Angel Barcenas (with Sgt. Justin G. Brown) leads Marines, firemen, and policemen across Manhattan in 2010. His legs were amputated after injuries in Iraq in 2009.

Biomedical Engineering (B.E.)

Siemen's, the world's largest manufacturer of hearing aids, can print the parts of a hearing aid from a computer station.

In fact, a hearing aid can be printed specifically to an individual's unique requirements.This is only one example of the end result of Biomedical Engineering processes that are fascinating and important to the future of healthcare as well as to other industries.

The career of Biomedical Engineer is the US Federal Government's aclaimed Number One job for expected growth from 2010 - 2020. Review the News links at the end of this Hub for coverage of Biomedical Engineering careers and developments as they happen.

November 8, 2015 was the 120th Anniversary of the discovery of the X-Ray.

What Is a Biomedical Engineer?

Biomedical Engineers often research and design equipment, devices, and procedures or sequences that relate to health and medical conditions.

They use advanced knowledge of the sciences of biology and medicine, and combine this with their training in electrical and mechanical engineering. In the 21st century, they are perfecting means of living in outer space for prolonged periods, attending to such problems as loss of bone and muscle mass.

A sleeping mat that vibrated at a low frequency and was used in Ohio Astronaut/Senator John Glenn's return to space at age 77 in 1998 was one of these devices. It helped to retain bone mass.

BE professionals work with medical scientists to produce new artificial organs, prostheses to replace missing body parts, instruments, medical information systems (MIS), and other systems. At this time, the body's own stem cells are also employed to grow new tissues for the patient.

In addition, biomedical engineers develop devices and equipment such as new lower-radiation imaging systems (MRI), CyberKnife surgery, automatic insulin injections, and other miracles.

This is a specialty engineering profession, requiring advanced courses past the Electrical Engineering BS to the MS, and PhD degrees (see course work listed above). Biomedical engineers benefit from having a training and experience background in mechanical or electronics engineering or related technologies as well.

Teams of different categories of engineers and technologists work together.

Sub-specialties of B.E. include:

  • biomaterials (e.g.: an artificial cover for the Isles of Langerhans acts as a pancreas for diabetic recipients of these cell clusters that can cure them of Type I Diabetes; see link below),
  • biomechanics,
  • medical imaging,
  • rehabilitation engineering,
  • laboratory organ growth,
  • orthopedic engineering,
  • and additional areas that are added as they emerge.

Many NASA Space Shuttle Missions included Health and Medical projects that have increased the effectiveness and comfort of prosthetic for today's patients, particularly Veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars.

Biomedical Engineering In The 16th Century: 1575 AD

Early biomedical engineering.
Early biomedical engineering. | Source

Current Job Market

Comparisons: Contemporary Job Market

From 2010 through 2016, a consistent pool of over 4,00 BE jobs has been listed on job search sites in America. Where were they located?

The Top 10 Metro Areas listing the largest numbers of these job vacancies included:

  1. Brea, Irvine, San Diego, Santa Rosa, and Northridge CA
  2. Boston MA - Northeast
  3. Memphis TN - South
  4. Indianapolis IN - Midwest
  5. Rockville MD - Northeast
  6. Waukesha WI - Midwest
  7. Cleveland OH - Midwest
  8. Chaska and Minneapolis MN - Midwest
  9. Pittsburgh PA - Northeast
  10. Atlanta GA - South

California is clearly the leading state in Biomedical Engineering job listings with 5 cities. but 4 additional states are clustered in the Midwest Region, making that part of the country a leader as well. The Northeast includes three cities listing large numbers of B.E. jobs, and the South, two cities.

The graph below demonstrates an 18-month increase in job listings for Biomedical Engineers in America by 497%, or a 5-times growth.

Biomedical Engineer Jobs Increased 497% in 18 Months

JOBS BEGAN TO INCREASE AGAIN, 2011 - 2012.
JOBS BEGAN TO INCREASE AGAIN, 2011 - 2012. | Source

Advertising in the entire field of Biomedical jobs decreased somewhat during 2013 and much of 2014. However, during March 2015, approximately 118,400 positions were advertised, including many for technicians to work with Biomedical Engineers and teams.

Top 15 Job Posters

The Top Companies listing openings in Biomedical Engineering:

  1. The Princeton Review
  2. GE Healthcare
  3. Beckman Coulter, Inc.
  4. Medtronic
  5. St. Jude Medical
  6. Sodexo
  7. Becton Dickinson & Company
  8. Siemens: Here is our Hearing Aid Leader. Siemans USA employs 70,000 people, according to its web site.
  9. Philips
  10. TriMedx
  11. NYU Langone Medical Center
  12. Stryker
  13. Illumina, Inc.
  14. Universal Hospital Services
  15. Boston Scientific Corporation

BE Education

Education Requirements for Biomedical Engineering

A position for a Biomedical Engineer at Medtronic (Top Job Lister) in Northridge, California today listed these requirements.

  • Department: Diabetes R & D (Research and Development)
  • Travel Percentage: 10-20% of working hours
  • Required Education: Bachelor of Science in Engineering, with 2 years of related experience and proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite.
  • Preferred Education: MS in Biomedical Engineering

This job listing advertised for a qualified person to work in the development of new diabetic glucose monitors. A large portion of B.E. work is involved in designing new medical equipment.

SimplyHired.com found that the average yearly income for a Biomedical Engineer in America is $70,000; in California, $79.000.

B.E.Jobs in New York Increased Dramatically

Source
California increases in BE jobs previously.
California increases in BE jobs previously. | Source

While B.E. positions among job listings in California declined somewhat in the 18 months ending 9/30/10, the decline has stabilized and new growth is expected to continue to 2020.

We can look at a local college in Northridge, California where a degree qualification for the job listing we examined above is offered, and check the educational requirements for a BS in Biomedical Engineering (see below),

 

Degree Program at California State University, Northridge

I. College of Engineering and Computer Science

  • Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering - A BS in Biomedical Engineering is offered within the programs of Electrical Engineering.

The link below describes the full course load for Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior years of college for this degree, plus 4 additional Biomedical Engineering courses to advance the Electrical Engineering degree toward the Biomedical fields.

The extra, Biomedical courses:

  • Introduction to Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomedical Instrumentation
  • Microprocessor Systems'
  • Electronics II

In addition to all of these courses, a set of standard General Education Core Courses and Electives must also be taken.

High School Classes Required for Preparation

(NOTE: Biomedical engineering is vital to any continuing space program, government or privatized, and the federal government and NASA have placed emphasis on STEM courses in high school, tech school, and college: Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.)

  • MATHEMATICS: algebra, plane geometry, trigonometry
  • SCIENCES: chemistry, physics
  • ENGLISH - 4 years.
  • Students without pre-engineering in high school may be required to take remedial classes in addition to the regular college course work.

COLLEGE TESTS requires for entrance in to this college: Entry Level Mathematics Test and Mathematics, Chemistry, and English Placement Tests.

See the link below for complete details.

© 2010 Patty Inglish MS

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    • Biomedical profile image

      Robert A. Avila, PE, MCE 

      3 years ago from Kiev, Ukraine

      Interesting. Some of the new growth is moving toward tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. It has the potential to obviate a lot of the goals of genetic research.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      3 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      I added another chart, from SimplyHired.com, the search engine that gathers the most positions advertised from all Internet sources. Right now, the bio-engineer jobs have declined, but the biomedical technicians working with them have increased is advertised positions. Many of these are interns or entry level people who will work into engineer careers in the future.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      3 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      @Steel Engineer - Thanks for your question -- If you look at the chart lower on the page, for California, you can see an overall increase of 500% from 2010 - 2011; but for the nation as a whole, in the first Indeed chart, my opinion is that in certain States, jobs were created and filled, followed by periods of few additional jobs created - that might be obvious, but why? -- Once in these jobs, people keep them, so there is not as much non-growth (turnover/retirement/etc.) job listing done. leading to the declines on the chart. As the privatized space program, NASA Commercial Crew, new prosthetic companies, and companies like Scanadu Tricorder company increased activity in 2011 - 2015, the rate of job creation as well as numbers of jobs in this field increased. Crowdfunding also became a more familiar vehicle for funding products and human resources after 2011.

    • Steel Engineer profile image

      Steel Engineer 

      3 years ago from Kiev, Ukraine

      Voted up. I have been looking into this field as I research PhD programs. This is a valuable tool. I have a question for you: What is the cause of the drop in the second half of 2010 in the chart on job trends from indeed.com?

    • profile image

      vasuki 

      7 years ago

      there is no job for fresher BE biomedical engineer's then what those will do..trying more in hospitals and companies but no response what shall we do..???

    • Support Med. profile image

      Support Med. 

      7 years ago from Michigan

      BE prospects are looking pretty good!! Salary is great. I think our younger students will fare well to think out of the box. Set higher goals and the opportunity for their futures to be prosperous are greatly increased. The work of the BE is definitely needed; I have neighbors and such who wear hearing aids and having experience in home health care, makes me very aware of what mattresses that helps preserve bone mass and prevent bedsores can do, they should be more readily available for 'everyday' patient/clients who are in need of them. Excellent hub. Voted and rated.

    • JodiVee profile image

      JodiVee 

      7 years ago

      I really enjoyed this hub. I have a lot of respect for engineers, any kind of engineers, but this is on a whole other level of awesome :)

    • profile image

      KLeichester 

      8 years ago

      A fascinating hub. A job like that would be very nice to have. Good post!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      8 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Nellieanna - Your niece must be thrilled with the new advancements and the possibilities for the future. She was very farsighted indeed to have chosen the profession. Please give her my best! This is a fascinating field and seems to present itself. Thanks for your kind words.

      Hello, hello - The human adventure is continuing and that is encouraging. Thanks for visiting!

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      My niece graduated in Biochemical Engineering a goodly number of years ago. Farsighted girl! I was duly impressed then and this detailed information of what it entails and the standards required to be hired in the field further impress me. Imagine needing to take remedial course if lacking pre-engineering courses in High School. WOW. I doubt if many in high school when I graduated had even an inkling of that specific an ultimate goal!

      Patty - I came back over here in a routine followup, as I try to do awhile after writing comments and it bowls me over again! Not only the facts presented but your talent in presenting them so well!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      That must such satisfying job to think you can help other at the worst situation. Also so interesting. Thank you for a brilliant hub about a job which we never hear of it otherwise.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      WOW. Me too, Patty. Sounds fascinating. That whole field is truly magnetic and so valuable, as well. But I am not in the job market, much less a long-term corporate career. You do present interesting information - or make it interesting by your presentation!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      8 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Thank you, Earth Angel. If I were to look for a long-term career today, this is the one I would choose to be involved in aerospace. Hopefully getting people to the stars in a healthy way.

      Cheers!

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 

      8 years ago

      GREAT Hub Patty!

      No matter what the subject, you make it interesting, complete, fair-handed and well-informed! Thank you for being such a Hub-Star!

      Blessings always, Earth Angel!

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