What is a Bioengineering Degree?
A bioengineering degree combines the principles and disciplines of two major fields — biology and engineering. Most students who end up choosing bioengineering as their major have a strong aptitude for both math and science. They may have an interest in working with living organisms or exploring applications of technology for use in improving patient outcomes.
The bioengineering discipline has helped in the development of:
- Artificial knees, hips, and other replacement joints
- Engineered organisms for use in pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturing
- Imaging techniques like MRIs and ultrasounds
- Diagnostic equipment, dialysis machines, and pacemakers
Biomedical engineers may use their degree to pursue advancements in different areas of health and science.
What is the Salary Outlook for Bioengineering Degree Graduates?
The salary outlook for bioengineering degree holders can vary, depending on their specialty and the region of the country in which they live. The median wage for biomedical engineers is around $88,040. Bioengineering is ranked as #6 among best engineering jobs, #30 in best STEM jobs, and #93 on the U.S. News & World Report list of the best 100 jobs.
The lowest paid 25 percent of graduates made a median salary of $67,540, while the highest paid 25 percent earned a median of $112,990.
Let’s take a closer look at how pay tends to break down by discipline:
|Research and development within the realm of engineering, physical, and life sciences||$94,800|
|Manufacturing control, electromedical, measuring, and navigational instruments||$90,180|
|Developing supplies and medical equipment||$86,860|
|Working in healthcare and social assistance||$75,080|
|Working at a university, college, or professional school at the local or state level||$58,020|
Biomedical engineers may be called upon to work more than the standard 40-hour week, depending on the demands of their position. Their primary responsibility is meeting the goals and needs of their institutions, patients, colleagues, and supervisors.
What are the Possible Career Paths for Bioengineering Degree Graduates?
Pursuing a bioengineering degree makes students eligible for a variety of different positions.
Here are some of the roles that they can pursue upon graduation:
Agricultural Engineers — Work to solve agricultural problems relating to power supplies, the efficiency of machinery, the use of facilities and structures, the processing and storing of agricultural products, and issues related to pollution and the environment.
Biochemists and Biophysicists — Study physical and chemical principles of living things and their biological processes. These include cell development, heredity, growth, and disease.
Bioinstrumentation Specialists — Use techniques involving measurement and electronics to build devices used in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
Chemical Engineers — Apply principles relating to chemistry, physics, biology, and math in solving problems that involve the production or use of chemicals, fuel, food, drugs, and other products. Chemical engineers are involved in designing processes and equipment used in large-scale manufacturing. They also plan out and test production methods and byproduct treatments, while directing facility operations.
Clinical Engineers — Develop and maintain databases for equipment records and medical instruments. They also assist physicians in using technology for specific healthcare systems.
Consultants —Work in a variety of assignments and among many disciplines, while gaining business and communications skills.
Classical Mechanics — Solve medical problems using statics, fluids, dynamics, thermodynamics, solids, and continuous mechanisms. Achievements in this specialty include the creation of artificial hearts and valves, joints, tendons, and bone cartilage.
Electrical/Electronics Engineers — Work in designing, developing, testing, and supervising the manufacture of electric equipment, including:
- Electric motors
- Radar systems
- Navigation systems
- Communication systems
- Broadcast systems
- Power generation equipment
Materials Engineers — Work in developing, processing, and testing materials used in products, including computer chips and biomedical devices. They focus on the properties that make up the products, including metal, composites, and nanomaterials to create new materials that meet specific requirements.
Medical Imaging Specialists — Generate images used by physicians for diagnosing and treating patients.
Orthopedic Bioengineers — Study how natural joints work and develop new artificial biomedicals used in constructing replacements.
Rehabilitation Engineers — Help in enhancing the capabilities of individuals with physical and cognitive issues to in order to improve their quality of life. Their tasks include:
- Construction of orthopedics
- Modifications for the home, workplace, and transportation
- Creation of technology that enhances seating, mobility, and communication
Researchers — Use their knowledge to find solutions for medical problems. They are looking to aid in the design of medical products and to assess the risk(s) they pose to users. Researchers can also be found in many universities.
Tissue, Cell, and Genetic Engineers — Look to solve biomedical problems at a microscopic level by studying the anatomy, mechanics, and biochemistry of both cellular and sub-cellular structures.
Traditional Curriculum for a Bioengineering Degree
Here are some standard courses required to obtain a bachelor’s degree in bioengineering. Course titles and actual requirements can vary depending on the institution the student chooses to attend.
- Physics I and II
- Introductory Chemistry I and II
- Cellular and Molecular Biology
- Life Science Elective
- Programming for Engineers
- Introduction to Engineering
- Introduction to Engineering Design
- Calculus I, II, and III
- Linear Algebra
- High-level Statistics
- Differential Equations
Humanities and Social Sciences
- Ethics in Bioengineering
- Writing and Research
Core Biomedical Knowledge
- Biomedical Modeling and Design
- Molecules and Cells
- Biological Models and Simulations
- Biomedical Measurements
- Linear Systems and Controls
- Nonlinear Dynamics of Biological Systems
What is the Overall Outlook for Bioengineering Degree Graduates?
The fusion of engineering and healthcare makes the outlook for bioengineering graduates particularly bright. Students have a variety of choices when it comes to pursuing a career in the field. Graduates should focus on positions highlighting their area of interest.
Those who wish to advance far in the field should consider enhancing their skills in the following areas:
- Analytics — Helps in being able to understand the needs of an institution, organization, or patients when designing solutions.
- Communication — Allows graduates to express their ideas in a clear and articulate manner. They must also be able to coordinate with others and incorporate other viewpoints when working to solve problems.
- Math — Calculus and other advanced topics often come into play when analyzing, designing, and troubleshooting solutions.
- Problem-solving — Graduates will need to be skilled in resolving issues that arise when working with complex biological systems.
Employment and salary opportunities can improve if bioengineering holders go on to obtain a graduate degree or other higher-level degree certification. They can also pursue medical school, or even law, if interested in expanding applications of their degrees. Those interested in management might want to consider obtaining an MBA.