Master's in Biomedical Engineering: Career and Salary Facts

Get information on the careers you can pursue with a master's degree in biomedical engineering. Learn about typical job duties, see predictions for job growth and find out what salary you can expect. Schools offering Biomedical Engineering Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Biomedical Engineer?

Biomedical engineers create medical equipment and computer programs used by medical professionals. They must have a strong understanding of engineering as well as the medical and biological sciences. Some of the medical advancements they may work on include artificial internal organs, replacement body parts and diagnostic equipment. Before any of the equipment they design can be released they must first test it to ensure that it works properly and is safe to use. They also may perform some maintenance task and provide technical support. Like other scientist they also conduct research and present their finding through public presentations or publications. Take a look at the following chart for an overview of how to enter this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's, Master's or Doctoral degree
Education Field of Study Biomedical engineering
Key Responsibilities Design, test and analyze new biomedical equipment, provide technical support and present research findings
Job Growth (2014-2024) 23%*
Median Salary (2015) $86,220*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Jobs Can I Qualify for with a Masters Degree in Biomedical Engineering?

Earning a master's degree in biomedical engineering allows you to pursue a variety of career paths. Biomedical engineers with advanced degrees are prepared for jobs in research and development, medicine and academics. You can work with other medical professionals, such as doctors, nurses and medical technicians, to develop and assess systems and products used in the healthcare industry. You may also design new products and instruments to advance the medical industry, such as prosthetics, artificial organs and new medical imaging devices.

You may choose to work in a medical or academic research facility, university, government agency, hospital or other medical facility. Pharmaceutical companies, medical device development firms and biotechnology companies also employ biomedical engineers. Alternatively, you may choose to work as an independent consultant to medical companies. Your position will likely depend on the specialty you developed within your degree program. Common specialties in the field include biomaterials, medical imaging, biomechanics, clinical engineering and bioinstrumentation.

What Will My Job Duties Be?

Biomedical engineers are typically involved in designing instruments, developing new procedures, solving clinical problems through research or monitoring patients undergoing surgical procedures. In a research laboratory, you will work with other medical researchers and technicians to design new medical instruments and equipment.

You may also take on a leadership role to direct laboratory activities and coordinate the development of new instruments for use in the medical field. In a hospital, you could advise doctors and other medical personnel on the proper equipment to use and monitor their effectiveness.

If you're interested in an academic career, you will likely split your time teaching classes and conducting research. Government employees often work in product testing, quality control and establishing safety standards for new products and equipment.

What Is the Job Outlook like?

Biomedical engineering is projected to experience the largest employment growth among all engineering specialties between 2014 and 2024. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment of biomedical engineers is expected to grow 23%, compared with 4% for all engineering jobs over this same period (www.bls.gov). An aging population and the need for more sophisticated medical instruments and cost-effective treatments will contribute to job growth. Rapid advancements in technology and health care will also help to create new specialties and jobs within the industry.

What Can I Expect to Earn?

Salaries for biomedical engineers can vary considerably by industry and education level. According to the BLS, the median annual wages of all biomedical engineers were $86,220 in May 2015 (www.bls.gov). The lowest ten percent earned $51,480 and the highest ten percent earned $139,520 or more.

Salaries also vary with level of experience. For instance, PayScale.com reports that biomedical engineers holding master's degrees with one to four years of experience have median salaries of $63,935, and those with 10 to 19 years of experience earn median salaries of $118,250. Biomedical engineers generally receive benefits and, in some industries, profit sharing in addition to their base salaries.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Architectural and engineering managers are careers related to biomedical engineers in that they need to have the knowledge their employees have when planning, directing and coordinating projects. Biochemists and biophysicists are two other scientific careers that contribute to the advancement of medicine. Respectively, they add to our understanding of the chemical and physical principles of biology. While chemical engineers may not necessarily work in the medical field, they use scientific procedures to create and test products.

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