What Education Do I Need for a Career in Biomedical Engineering?
Biomedical engineering is the combination of engineering methods and medical or biological research. Because of the nature of the field, a minimum of a bachelor's degree is held by individuals working in biomedical engineering, although graduate and doctoral degrees are also offered to those seeking to specialize or advance in their careers. Schools offering Biomedical Engineering Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Careers are available in biomedical engineering for college graduates who hold a bachelor's degree, but many research or supervisory positions require a master's or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree. In addition to college education, each state has its own licensure requirements that must be met before a biomedical engineer can work directly with the public.
According to the Biomedical Engineering Society (bmes.seas.wustl.edu), most undergraduate programs for biomedical engineering offer a Bachelor of Science degree, but some programs award a similar degree called a Bachelor of Arts. It takes most students four years to complete the coursework for a bachelor's degree. Many undergraduate biomedical engineering programs serve primarily as prerequisites to entry into a postgraduate program, but there are some entry-level jobs available to those who only have a bachelor's degree.
Holding a Master of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering qualifies job candidates for a number of research and supervisory positions. Since many undergraduate programs cover the engineering aspects of the field, many postgraduate programs focus more on the biological and medical principles of biomedical engineering. Typical master's degree programs take two years to complete, in addition to the four years needed for the bachelor's degree.
A Doctor of Philosophy degree, commonly called a Ph.D. or doctorate, allows students to study particular areas within biomedical engineering. Students can specialize in areas such as molecular biophysics or advanced physiology. A doctorate can take between two and four years to obtain, in addition to the time required to complete previous coursework, but job candidates with a Ph.D. are often very well-qualified for high-paying positions in research or college teaching.
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