How to Become a Biomedical Engineer

Step-by-Step Guide for Being a Biomedical Engineer Overview

Biomedical engineering links the biomedical and engineering field for medical technology development. For example, biomedical engineers may be responsible for designing and developing biocompatible prostheses or pharmaceutical drugs that assist in the treatment of various diseases. If you are preparing to be a successful biomedical engineer, make sure that you know the series of education requirements, job options and certification for starting this career.

Although we can see the complex nature of this job, it is obvious that there is a general path to be a qualified biomedical engineer, and 7 important steps are given below.

Step 1: Understand biomedical engineer description and responsibilities.

Before starting to decide the career you will devote yourself, the first step is always to fully understand the definition and duties of that. Here, what is biomedical engineering? It is also called medical engineering, Bioengineering, BioMed or BME. As we mentioned before, this area involves a wide spectrum of disciplines, applying biology and engineering to medicine and healthcare for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.

The branches of biomedical engineering include biomaterials, biomedical electronics, cellular engineering, medical imaging, bio-nanotechnology, orthopaedical bioengineering, etc. Furthermore, the field of biomedical engineering seeks to build the bridge between engineering principles and medical knowledge to enhance the procedure of health care, such as diagnosis and therapy.

Step 2: Think before you do: whether is it worth to be a biomedical engineer or not

Before entering this field, ask yourself whether it is worth to be a biomedical engineer and what benefit you will get in return.

-Advantages: The first benefit of being a biomedical engineer is the very good salary and compensation you will earn. For instance, you will receive life insurance, health care, paid time off or sick leave and pension. Besides, after becoming a formal biomedical engineer, you will get opportunities for several trainings and learning courses or academic seminars every year. This allows you to extend knowledge and improve skills to continuously enrich yourself.

Moreover, when you become a biomedical engineer, it means that you have studied or at least you are armed with the knowledge of most engineering areas, ranging from mechanical, chemical, computers, and electronics. People who can work with all these fields as they expected, will be truly fulfilled. And on the social side, the achievements which are made by biomedical engineers influence the whole human-being positively. Other advantages include that biomedical engineers have the chance to work and make decisions independently and it is also really suitable for the person who enjoys working indoors.

-Disadvantages: Firstly, to start a career in biomedical is quite hard to, you should put plenty of time to obtain a considerable amount of knowledge, skills, and experiences before becoming a biomedical engineer. Nevertheless, after you get the position, you still work longer than 40 hours per week, even scarifying all your spare time to finish a project. Excessive working time might have an adverse impact on biomedical engineers' "mental health". You may even suffer from severe stress, while the working processes have not found a breakpoint and got an improvement for several months or years.

Step 3: Research Best colleges and universities for biomedical engineer

Here, we found some top colleges and universities globally for helping you to be an excellent biomedical engineer. According to the latest data, Stanford University is ranked Top one in Best Engineering Schools. The School of Biomedical Engineering at Stanford University offers approximately three hundred full-time faculties on staff, and its graduates are seen as high-flyers for the jobs market.

Then, the remaining top 20 universities are shown as below:

  1. University of Chicago
  2. Harvard University
  3. Yale University
  4. Duke University
  5. University of California
  6. University of British Columbia
  7. New York University
  8. University of Toronto
  9. University of Amsterdam
  10. Cornell University
  11. Northwestern University
  12. University of Washington
  13. Columbia University
  14. University of Minnesota
  15. University of North Carolina
  16. Ohio State University (Main campus)
  17. University of California, Davis
  18. University of Melbourne
  19. University of Groningen
  20. Boston College in Massachusetts

Step 4: Go through College

Someone may think about going to work without college experience, we have to say that it is impossible for the biomedical engineering field, you must pursue bachelor and master’s degree or even PhD. Therefore, after finishing high school, you should select colleges/universities based on your own conditions and expectations, such as school reputations, tuition fees, major field, required credits, required language, accreditation, teaching environment, etc.

To become a biomedical engineer, you have to choose biomedical engineering or another relevant major in university. Then, students are exposed to a large area of study, starting with the foundation courses. The knowledge of mathematics, physics, chemistry, molecular biology, genetics, computer programming and so on are all necessary to acquire. These may be quite difficult at the beginning, but students have to build their solid foundation for testing and researching in the real world and the whole comprehensive knowledge you gain will support you to be an outstanding biomedical engineer. Try your best to get good grades After you finish bachelor and start doing a master’s degree, considering the specialty is one of the most important steps, which may decide your career in the future. Keep studying and seek guides from professors who are working in the area you have chosen.

Step 5: Internship Opportunity

Under the premise of your degree, you should also think about the opportunities to gain relevant work experience, which means doing some internship before applying for formal jobs or even before graduating. In your situation, the person who intends to get a formal position in the biomedical engineering field must work under the supervision of another professional engineer (PE), which normally lasts at least three years.

Step 6: Prepare relevant skills for a biomedical engineer

-Research skills: In this complicated field, all programs need base on a great quantity of research. No one can figure out the solutions immediately when he/she meet the new tasks. The ability of research provides a useful back-up to find an accurate direction.

-Learning skills: The knowledge you learn from university is always the fundamental of your biomedical engineer career. And in the long term, scientific method and the world are changing rapidly, never stop gaining new knowledge.

-Decision-making and critical-thinking skills: Biomedical engineers always confront a multitude of options, only when decision-making skills are fortified, they can make good use of critical thinking to balance the pros and cons. additionally, critical thinking refers to the way to utilize reasoning and logic to make decisions and identify the approach to issues.

-Analytical skills: To make a breakthrough, biomedical engineers need to analyze countless data, which includes collecting information, doing research, identifying the plans, starting the tests and making the development.

Step 7: Find relevant biomedical engineer jobs, and apply it.

Almost every university set career connect for graduates, not only introduce relevant job opportunities but also help them to prepare a resume and personal profile, so ensure to ask as necessary. As we mentioned before, you may apply to work in the field of biomaterials, biomedical electronics, cellular engineering, medical imaging, bio-nanotechnology, orthopaedical bioengineering and so on. Besides, the typical employers are also not limited to work in one place they can work in, hospitals, diagnostic instrumentation manufacturers, research organizations and universities.

Important Tools for a successful biomedical engineer

Biomedical engineers deal with tasks with a variety of tools and technology. They have to use computers, which are equipped with most basic functions, for most of their working time. Despite searching scientific results and writing reports, in experiments, the organizing process and controlling equipment also depend on computer operations. Biomedical engineers also need almost all types of microscopes to observe the object accurately. For instance, High-resolution light microscopes and Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) can record and analyze DNA or cells.

Then, other tools include cardiac devices analyzers, laser, MRI and CT scanners, ultrasound scanners, spine simulators, physiological recorders, cameras, incubators, etc.

Develop your career path

Getting a job is not the end, make sure you have fully considered the career and start to develop your career path.

When you think about a career path of being a biomedical engineer, you may notice that you are the potential employee for not the only research organization, but also different workplaces like hospitals or universities. Hence, you will embrace a large number of chances as long as you possess all the requirements. As we mentioned before, for at least three years after graduating, you spend time doing internships that work under the guidance of a professional engineer, at the same time, prepare for intensive competency exams which are required in your career path. Once you have completed all of these steps, a professional engineer (PE) license should be given to you. Then, after you choose the workplace, try your best effort to make contributions. Eventually, some of you may become one of the top biomedical engineering experts in a specific field.

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