Focusing on topics such as biomedical devices and gene structure, bachelor's programs are ideal for pre-med students. Professional scientists and engineers might benefit from graduate certificate programs, which include coursework in nuclear medicine and implant devices.
Aspiring engineers and researchers who enroll in a master's degree program might focus on prosthetic design and cardiopulmonary systems. They may also be required to complete a thesis project. Experienced engineers can pursue licenses by passing the Principles and Practices of Engineering examination.
Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering
A 4-year degree program offers specialty areas in computational bioengineering, biomechanics, biomaterials and imaging. This program can be found as a pre-med program for students interested in enrolling in medical school. The curriculum delves into the fundamentals of engineering and science. Bioengineering laboratory courses expose students to bioengineering instruments, laboratory techniques and experimentation. Applicants need a high school diploma and should complete coursework in math, chemistry and physics to be most prepared for the program.
Once enrolled, coursework covers a broad range of studies in science including subjects like chemistry, physics and biology. Topics covered include:
- Continuum mechanics
- Transport phenomena
- Biomedical devices
- Cell function
- Gene structure
Bioengineering Graduate Certificate
The 15-credit graduate certificate program is designed for engineers and scientists. The program of study examines techniques used by biomedical engineers to develop technologies in the advancement of modern medicine. Students investigate human physiology and biology, medical instrumentation design and tissue engineering. Applicants should hold a bachelor's degree in a related area and show demonstrated proficiency in probability and statistics, physiology, molecular biology and computer programming.
Coursework consists of intensive studies in physiology, biology and biomaterials. Students may also be required to complete a capstone project or graduate thesis. Additional subjects discussed include:
- Metals and ceramics
- Implant devices
- Rigid body dynamics
- Solid mechanics
- Nuclear medicine
Master of Science in Bioengineering
Offered through departments of medicine and materials engineering, these master's degree programs combine the study of engineering and biomedical science. The curriculum is multidisciplinary and includes coursework from departments of chemistry, biology and physics. Students learn about implant and prosthetic design, human organ systems and disease physiology and prevention. The program features a thesis or non-thesis option. Prospective students must have a bachelor's degree, GRE scores, letters of reference and a statement of purpose essay.
Graduate coursework is research-oriented and consists of studies in concentration areas such as tissue engineering, biomedical devices, imaging or computation. Coursework culminates in a written or oral research project. Areas of focus in bioengineering courses include:
- Network physiology
- Cardiopulmonary systems
- Bioelectrical devices
- Mass transport
- Artificial organs
Graduates have a wide range of career opportunities including jobs in medicine, sales, research and design. Potential job titles for graduates are:
- Director of research
- Biomedical sales engineer
- Process development engineer
Graduates find jobs in biomedical instrumentation design, biomedical equipment sales and more. Typical job titles for graduates include the following.
- Clinical engineer
- Orthopedic biomedical engineer
- Biomaterials designer
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), over a third of the jobs held by biomedical engineers in the U.S. in 2019 were in the medical equipment and supplies manufacturing, as well as scientific research and development services industries. The BLS reported the median annual salary of a biomedical engineer as of May 2020 was $92,620, and jobs for biomedical engineers were expected to grow 5% - faster than the average for all occupations - from 2019 to 2029.
Continuing Education Information
Bioengineering graduates are eligible to sit for the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination, which is administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). Satisfactory scores on the FE examination results in the engineer in training (EIT) or engineer intern (EI) designations. To become a professional engineer (PE), EITs and EIs must complete 4-years of work experience under the supervision of engineers before sitting for the Principles and Practices of Engineering (PE) examination for PE licensure. PE licensing requirements vary by state.
A career in higher education and advanced research requires a Ph.D. in a related area of study. A Ph.D. in Bioengineering provides the advanced theoretical expertise to qualify for careers as a college professor, senior research engineer or systems biology research scientist.
Individuals wanting to further their education in bioengineering have the option to complete a bachelor's, graduate certificate, or master's program. Graduates of any of these programs can advance with a higher degree program all the way up to a Ph.D. in Bioengineering.