How to become a biomedical engineer: The degrees and skills you’ll need

March 05, 2024 · 3 min read · By ASU Online
Are you interested in becoming a biomedical engineer? Read on to learn more about this interdisciplinary field. We cover the job description of a biomedical engineer, the industries hiring for the role, earning potential and the online degree that can help you start your career.

What does a biomedical engineer do?

Biomedical engineers work to bridge the gap between engineering and healthcare to enhance patient care and treatment outcomes. They combine engineering principles with elements of science to design and create equipment, devices, software and computer systems.

Biomedical engineers can work in various settings such as medical institutions, manufacturing and research facilities, universities and more. In this role, your work could include developing medical devices such as artificial organs or prostheses, designing orthopedic implants and assistive devices or advancing fields for regenerative medicine. You could also contribute to medical imaging technologies and the maintenance of medical equipment in clinical settings.

David Brafman, an associate professor at Arizona State University’s School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, sees the biomedical engineering field becoming more interdisciplinary to address the ever more complicated healthcare challenges the world will face.

“Biomedical engineers are uniquely positioned to be leaders in this evolving field as they possess the knowledge, experience and skills to interface with the biology side of things, such as understanding disease mechanisms and underpinnings, as well as the engineering side of things, such as how to develop the technologies to diagnosis, treat and hopefully one day cure these diseases,” Brafman said.


How long does it take to become a biomedical engineer?

The path to becoming a biomedical engineer typically starts with a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering or a related field. You can choose to pursue additional education, such as a master's degree or a Ph.D., which can take an additional two to six years or more, depending on the program and area of focus. Ultimately the path to becoming a biomedical engineer will vary in length related to your educational interests and career goals.

Additionally, gaining practical experience through internships or co-op programs during undergraduate or graduate studies can further enhance your qualifications and may be beneficial for career advancement.

“Most biomedical engineering majors will be equipped with all of the knowledge and technical skills to be successful in the field. However, what will distinguish certain biomedical engineers from their peers is the ability to think outside the box and develop creative solutions” said Brafman.


How much do biomedical engineers make?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of biomedical engineers is expected to grow 5% between 2022 and 2032. The median annual salary for the role was $99,550 as of May 2022.

The BLS states that industries such as pharmaceutical manufacturing, scientific research or medical equipment manufacturing tend to offer higher average salaries for biomedical engineers compared to other sectors. Advancing your education by earning a master’s degree in a related field, completing a Ph.D. or obtaining specialized certifications, can also increase your earning wages in this field.


Earn your online bachelor’s in biomedical engineering

Completing an online bachelor’s degree equips you with the foundational knowledge and practical experience you’ll need to begin your career as a biomedical engineer.

ASU Online’s Bachelor of Science in Engineering in biomedical engineering offers a specialized learning experience, where you’ll have the opportunity to explore interdisciplinary courses that relate to both fields of biology and engineering. In addition to your required core courses, you can explore areas of the biomedical field such as biomechanics, as you earn 15 engineering elective credits over five courses.

“Our program is unique in that it takes a holistic approach to create well-rounded biomedical engineers who have the technical, analytical and interpersonal skills to be successful in the field,” noted Brafman. “In particular, our senior capstone design project allows students to engineer a solution for a real-world health challenge, which includes conceptualizing, designing, building and testing a prototype. It’s a fantastic opportunity to be well-positioned for post-graduate employment, future entrepreneurship or admittance to a top-tier graduate or medical school.”

Everything you need to know about ASU Online classes and degree programs

We’ve compiled what you need to know about online classes and degree programs at Arizona State University. Read on to learn all about what to expect from the ASU Online learning experience.


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