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Applying engineering principles and problem-solving skills to biology and medicine is called biomedical engineering. Also called bioengineering, this area of study has resulted in inventions such as the hearing aid, prosthetic limbs, and artificial hearts. It requires an in-depth knowledge of engineering coupled with an intensive understanding of the biological system or area. This hybrid degree hinges on the ability to combine these two subjects innovatively.
There are a number of concentrations to choose from when earning a baccalaureate of science in biomedical engineering, including: tissue, genetic, neural, pharmaceutical, and clinical engineering, as well as specializing in medical devices, medical imaging, and bionics. This program will typically take 4 years to complete. The curriculum will be a mix of mathematics and science courses, some of which will likely be linear algebra and differential equations, as well as molecules and cells.
Career opportunities with a BS in biomedical engineering include: Biomechanical Engineer, Rehabilitation Engineer, Clinical Engineer, Bioengineering Researcher. It’s largely dependent on the chosen concentration, but the average starting salary in this area of study is $62,000.
Earning a master’s degree in biomedical engineering will open up a number of career opportunities. The focus of most bioengineering master’s programs is to develop further understanding of a particular concentration. Programs are typically completed within 1 to 2 years and often include a thesis as a graduation requirement. Careers are heavily dependent on concentration and run the gamut of the medical and engineering industries.
Many PhD programs often indicate a desire to stay within academia, but obtaining a doctorate in biomedical engineering can equally be used in practice at hospitals or in private industries. A PhD in this area of study typically takes about five years.
Career paths for individuals with a biomedical engineering doctorate include: Professor, Biomedical Engineer, Research Scientist, Biomedical Engineering Director. The average salary at this level of education is $85,000.