Helping People through Science: Biomedical Engineering

By Amanda Bertsch

The world of engineering is ripe with train design and bridge construction. However, there are also other, less well-known areas of engineering. One of these is biomedical engineering, the engineering of medical equipment and biological processes.

There are roughly 100 prominent colleges across the country that offer a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering or bioengineering. At least a bachelor’s is required for a career in biomedical engineering, though many pursue master’s degrees, a doctorate, or attend medical school.

Nationwide, there were about 16,000 biomedical engineers employed in 2010. The job market is expected to grow 62% by 2020, adding 9,700 jobs to the market. This makes it one of the fastest growing careers in the United States, in sharp contrast to many traditional engineering jobs.

However, it is not without its drawbacks as well. Biomedical engineering is a difficult major, requiring large amounts of math and science. In addition, it is a relatively new field that changes constantly. Many people who prefer a static job would find themselves lost in this rapidly changing field.

An ability to learn and adapt constantly is one of the things that makes someone likely to succeed in biomedical engineering. Biomedical engineers must also get along with others because they often work together on projects. Finally, they have to be hardworking and pay attention to details.

On a daily basis, a biomedical engineer might work on designing or testing a new product. They could also be working for the government, testing new technology for effectiveness and safety. Many do research, but some also work in hospitals to determine what technology the hospital needs and teach the staff how to use it. There are also several specialties of biomedical engineering, ranging from designing microcomputers to working with a patient in a wheelchair.

For such specialized work, biomedical engineers are paid an average of $84,780 a year, or about $40 an hour. The average starting salary is slightly less than $50,000 a year, but managers often earn upwards of $110,000 to $125,000 a year. Scientific research and development has an average salary of $93,930, but more specialized fields such as semiconductor manufacturing and doctor’s offices pay more than $110,000 on average.

Have questions? Want to know more? A simple google search will yield a multitude of sources. Any questions or comments can be emailed to

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