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Biomedical Engineering Degree

Biomedical engineering is a branch of engineering, which involves using principles and design concepts of engineering to biology and medicine for the purposes of healthcare.
Degrees in biomedical engineering are available at the undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate levels. For more information read on below.

What is Biomedical Engineering?

Biomedical engineering or bioengineering is a faction of the much larger field of engineering. It involves the application of fundamental principles of engineering to the biology and healthcare fields. This is done in order to improve the quality and effectiveness of patient care.
Bioengineers work with a variety of professionals including doctors, researchers, and therapists, in order to solve a number of different clinical problems, and develop new equipment, systems, and devices.

What do Biomedical Engineers do?

The ultimate goal or aim of biomedical engineers is to improve upon existing patient care. In order to do so, biomedical engineers analyze existing technology and design and create new solutions to problems in biology and healthcare.  
Some of the work that is carried out by biomedical engineers includes:

  • Design and create artificial body parts and limbs, diagnosing equipment, and artificial organs  
  • Design and create medical or biological software, devices, and instruments
  • Train individuals in how to operate biomedical equipment
  • Evaluate existing biomedical equipment
  • Work with medical scientists, life scientists, and chemists in order to provide biomedical insights when researching the biological systems of humans and animals

Specialty Areas within Biomedical Engineering

  • Systems physiology
  • Tissue
  • Clinical engineering
  • Rehabilitation engineering
  • Medical imaging
  • Biomechanics
  • Cellular
  • Bioinstrumentation
  • Genetic engineering
  • Orthopedic surgery
  • Biomaterials

The achievements of Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical engineers have been involved in and responsible for the creation of numerous technological advancements in the medical, biological, and health care professions.
Some of these achievements include:

  • The creation of certain surgical devices and systems such as laser and robotic surgery
  • The creation of implanted devices including pacemakers, insulin pumps, and artificial organs
  • The creation of imaging methods such as particle beans, x-rays, magnetic resonance, and ultrasound
  • The creation of prosthetics
  • Physical therapy and radiation therapy devices
  • Diagnostic systems such as expert systems and lab-on-a-chip
  • Systems that monitor blood chemistry and a patient’s vital signs
  • Therapeutic equipment and devices, which include kidney dialysis
  • The stethoscope

Types of biomedical engineering degrees

The following degrees are some of the options available for those considering pursing biomedical engineering. Due to the heavy lab and practical components of this field, there is no completely online degree option for students to pursue. However, certain hybrid programs may exist, which have both an online and on-campus component.

Bachelor’s in Biomedical Engineering

An undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering is necessarily a science degree. The degree program focuses on teaching students foundational engineering principles as well as core science disciplines.
Entry Requirements

  • high school diploma or GED
  • GPA of 3.0 or above
  • SAT or ACT scores

Students can expect to learn the fundamentals of biomedical engineering through lectures as well as practical work. This includes lab-work, a capstone project, as well as a significant amount of hands-on work.
Some of the courses that you must take include:

  • Biomechanics
  • Molecular design and creation
  • Safety regulations
  • Foundations in imaging technology
  • Systems and signals in biomedical engineering

Master’s in Biomedical Engineering

A Master of Science program in biomedical engineering is intended to prepare students for a life of academia or in industry. The degree provides students with advanced training in the field of biomedical engineering.

Entry Requirements

  • A bachelor’s degree in a related field (i.e. biomedical engineering or biomedical science)
  • A GPA of 3.0 or above is generally required
  • GRE scores
  • Students must have background knowledge in physics, biology, and chemistry

Some of the courses you can expect to take include:

  • Diseases of the brain
  • Biochemistry and genes
  • Neurotechnology
  • Hormones and the reproductive system
  • Human nervous system
  • Biomechanics
  • Medical physics
  • Biomaterials

The program can take 1 ½ - 2 years to complete

Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering

A Ph.D. in biomedical engineering is intended for those individuals who are interested in pursuing specialized research. Graduates of this program are trained to excel in intellectual leadership within the field.
Entry Requirements

  • An M.S in bioengineering
  • High GPA
  • Letters of recommendation

The curriculum of a Ph.D. program typically involves intensive study and culminates with students completing a thesis or dissertation on an original piece of research within the field.
Some of the courses that can be taken in this program include:

  • Systems Bioengineering  (cardiovascular)
  • Systems Bioengineering (neuroscience)
  • Systems Bioengineering (systems biology)
  • Biochemical and Biophysical Principles
  • Neuroscience Cognition
  •  Bioinformatics
  • Bioengineering in Regenerative Medicine
  • Modeling Dynamics and Control for Chemical and Biological Systems
  • Feedback Control in Biological Signaling Pathways

The program can take up to 4-6 years to complete.

Job Prospects and Salary

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the employment growth for this profession is projected to be 27% between now and 2022. This rate is much higher than the average rate of growth for other profession, which is 11%. As such, there is likely to be new jobs in the field as well as increased demand for biomedical engineers.
With regards to potential salary, the following figures from BLS are useful to consider. In 2012, the annual median salary of biomedical engineers was $86,960. The top ten percent earned upwards of $139,450.
Furthermore, the annual median salaries in 2012 for the top five industries in which biomedical engineers were employed were:

Scientific research and development services


Medical equipment and supplies manufacturing               


Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing     


General medical and surgical hospitals; state, local, and private             


Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private


Biomedical engineering is a branch of engineering which attempts to use engineering principles to better the technology and resources in biology and healthcare. The ultimate goal is to make existing diagnostic and treatment efforts in the medical and healthcare profession more effective. Those interested in pursuing biomedical engineering as a career have a variety of different degree options to consider applying to. The amount of education you require will depend upon you and your specific career goals and aspirations.


States with the highest employment level in this occupation:



Employment per thousand jobs

Location quotient

Hourly mean wage

Annual mean wage

California 16600.111.2618.1337720
Florida 11300.141.6817.9737370
Illinois 9600.161.9217.937240
Texas 7600.070.7816.6234570
New York 6500.070.8520.1241840


Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:What can an online biomedical engineering degree make me in terms of earnings?

A:The amount of money you earn with an online biomedical engineering degree depends on the career path you choose to take after you get your degree. For instance, if you get employed in a college, university or professional school as a biomedical engineer, your median income according to BLS may be $63,000. If you go for employment in a general medical or surgical hospital, you might be able to earn around $70,000 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Q:What are the prerequisites for an associate degree in biomedical engineering?

A:To get into an associate degree program in biomedical engineering, most colleges and universities will require a high school diploma or a GED equivalent. Besides that, most schools will need you to have taken three courses in math, algebra through trigonometry, and one course each of biology and chemistry. If you do not have the required courses in your high school record, or due to academic deficiencies, couldn't clear these subjects, you can always take preparatory courses available at some colleges.

Q:What can I do with a biomedical engineering certification?

A:With a biomedical engineering certification, you can become a Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician (CBET). This would open up better employment opportunities for you in this field. You could also become a Certified Laboratory Equipment Specialist (CLES) or a Certified Radiology Equipment Specialist (CRES). To earn these credentials, you will be required to meet minimum education and work experience criteria.

Q:Why should I go for a phd in biomedical engineering?

A:Biomedical engineering has grown into one of the most exciting interdisciplinary research fields of modern science. These engineers apply modern approaches from experimental life sciences along with theoretical and computational methods from various disciplines of engineering, computer science and math to the solution of biomedical problems. This field has experienced tremendous amount of growth in the recent years with an ever increasing number of jobs now being offered to biomedical engineers.

Q:What subject areas do biomedical engineering graduate programs cover?

A:The topics that graduate programs in biomedical engineering cover include biomaterials and tissue engineering, computational bioengineering and biomedical imaging, molecular, cellular and nanosystems bioengineering, biomechanics and rehabilitation engineering, neuroengineering, physiological systems and bioinstrumentation. The courses and study materials of these programs are very advance in nature and might require extensive research and project work.

Q:What are some of the biomedical engineering courses?

A:Biomedical engineering degrees cover a vast set of topics including biomechanics, biosignals and biomedical imagine, cellular and tissue engineering, fluid biomechanics, biological transport and rate processes, biomedical engineering design, quantitative physiology, cardiac mechanics, structure, mechanics and adaption of bone, ultrasound in diagnostic imagining and tissue engineering. Keep in mind though that this is not an exhaustive list of courses. This is just to give you a rough idea of the sort of topics a biomedical engineering degree is likely to cover. For complete details, talk to the program coordinator at the university you wish to apply at or check their website.

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