What Does a Biomedical Engineer Do? (With Salary and Skills)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 3 March 2023

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Biomedical engineers use their scientific and design skills to develop life-saving equipment for the medical field. They are responsible for the invention of devices such as prosthetics and laser surgery tools. If you are interested in both engineering and the healthcare field, you may want to know more about this important career path. In this article, we answer "what does a biomedical engineer do?", discuss the duties, skills and average salary of these professionals and explain how to become one in six steps.

Related: Guide: How To Choose a Career

What is a biomedical engineer?

A biomedical engineer is a professional who uses engineering theories and formulas to improve healthcare. They apply principles like physics, chemistry, mathematics and mechanical and computer engineering to medicine and biology. Those in this role create medical tools and systems such as:

  • Diagnostic imaging technologies, such as x-rays, ultrasounds and magnetic resonance

  • Implants, such as pacemakers, stents, insulin pumps and artificial organs

  • Prosthetic limbs and other artificial body parts, such as hips and dentures

  • Ambulatory devices, such as walkers and stretchers

  • Lab diagnostic systems

  • Vital sign and blood chemistry monitoring systems

  • Surgical techniques, such as laser and robotic surgery

  • Radiation therapy

  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation devices

  • Therapeutic devices, such as nerve stimulation machines and dialysis equipment

  • Computer software to operate medical equipment

  • Computer simulations to test new medications

What does a biomedical engineer do?

A biomedical engineer's duties vary based on the company they work for, the credentials they have and other factors. However, here are some typical biomedical engineer responsibilities:

  • Designing a wide range of medical equipment and devices, including artificial organs, diagnostic machines and computer simulation software

  • Training healthcare professionals to use equipment and devices properly

  • Installing, maintaining and repairing existing medical equipment

  • Testing medical equipment's safety and efficacy

  • Studying human biologic systems to invent solutions to existing problems

  • Writing reports and publishing research findings

  • Presenting research to companies and medical staff and at professional conferences

  • Collaborating with other medical professionals, researchers and engineers

How to become a biomedical engineer

If you want to become a biomedical engineer, consider following these steps:

1. Earn a bachelor's degree

Employers hiring for biomedical engineer jobs typically require candidates to have at least a bachelor's degree. Attend a college or university to gain a four-year degree in biomedical engineering or a related field. Here are some courses you might take in this type of programme:

  • Calculus

  • Geometry

  • Engineering mathematics

  • Physics

  • General chemistry

  • Probability and statistics

  • Biology

  • Anatomy

  • Bioinformatics and genomics

  • Biomaterials

  • Biophysical chemistry

  • Computer programming for engineers

  • Micromachines and robotics

  • Cell biology

Be sure to choose an engineering programme accredited by the All India Council for Technical Education. This ensures your technical education is high quality, official and in accordance with national standards.

2. Look for internship opportunities

Many academic programmes for engineering require students to complete an internship before graduating. Taking part in a biomedical engineering internship at a clinic, hospital, pharmaceutical company or similar setting can be an excellent opportunity to gain practical experience in the field and determine whether you want to continue pursuing this career path. You might also meet and form friendships with colleagues and supervisors, helping you build your professional network and exposing you to potential job opportunities in the future.

Related: How To Write A Bioinformatics Resume (With Template)

3. Consider earning one or more postgraduate degrees

Some employers may require biomedical engineering candidates to have a master's or higher degree in the field. Consider a Master of Engineering with a concentration in biomedical engineering or a Master of Science in biomedical engineering. Getting a master's or further postgraduate degree can help you gain expert knowledge, build skills, expand your job prospects, increase your earning potential and impress potential employers. In general, having more education and training experience makes you a more competitive job candidate. Here are some special concentrations you might pursue in graduate school:

  • Bioinstrumentation

  • Medical imaging

  • Rehabilitation engineering

  • Bioinformatics

  • Biomaterials

  • Biosignal processing

  • Tissue, cell and genetic engineering

  • Neural systems

  • Robotics

  • Clinical engineering

  • Micro- and nanotechnology

  • Systems physiology

  • Medical optics

  • Biomolecular engineering

4. Build a portfolio

As you gain knowledge, skills and experience, consider developing a portfolio or package of all your best work. These could be any designs or projects you have completed that express your biomedical engineering acumen and creativity. Having an impressive portfolio can be a great way to show your qualifications to potential employers.

5. Earn certifications

Industry certifications can help you stand out among other candidates when applying for engineering positions. As the healthcare field is constantly changing and advancing, having the latest knowledge and certifications is important to do your job well. You might consider earning credentials like the Certificate in Biomedical Engineering, offered by the National Qualifications Register. This can prove your expertise in anatomy and physiology, electricity and electronics, healthcare technology, hospital management and medical terminology for engineers.

6. Apply for biomedical engineering positions

Once you have built an impressive professional background for yourself, perform a search for open biomedical engineer positions. Identify the positions you are most qualified for based on your experience and educational background. Then, make sure your resume highlights your top skills and qualifications. Apply to each job using your up-to-date resume and a customised cover letter.

Related: How To Include Accomplishments on Your Resume

Other types of biomedical engineering degree jobs

Studying biomedical engineering can make you eligible for many jobs other than biomedical engineers, such as:

1. Manufacturing engineer

National average salary: ₹46,226 per month

Primary duties: A manufacturing engineer designs and maintains systems to produce high-quality products. They are experts in using technologies such as computer networks, robots and factory machines. Those with biomedical engineering degrees typically have the mechanical and mathematical knowledge to succeed in a manufacturing engineer role.

2. Medical technologist

National average salary: ₹17,235 per month

Primary duties: A medical technologist uses advanced technology and analytical techniques to analyse medical samples, such as blood, tissue and other bodily fluids. They perform a critical role in helping doctors and nurses to diagnose patient health conditions. Medical technologists and biomedical engineers use many of the same skills, including scientific methods and attention to detail.

3. Physician

National average salary: ₹41,947 per month

Primary duties: A physician is a professional who provides healthcare to patients. Their primary duties are to diagnose patients' medical conditions and develop safe, effective treatment plans for them. Many biomedical engineers become physicians or surgeons, as they have expertise in health conditions and treatment technology.

Related: Average Doctor Salaries: A Complete Guide by Specialty

Biomedical engineering skills

Biomedical engineers work in an exciting, fast-paced field, and there are certain abilities that can help them succeed in their roles. Here are some important skills for this position:

  • Research skills: Those in this position use their research skills to explore the latest trends in healthcare technology. This helps them focus their efforts on designing tools that can be useful to current patients.

  • Technical skills: Biomedical engineers are responsible for developing technology, so it is important they have expert-level technical skills. They also need computer skills to operate machinery, conduct research, design blueprints and complete other tasks.

  • Communication skills: These professionals typically work in teams to design high-quality, error-free equipment, so it is important they can convey explanations and instructions in a clear, concise way. They may also need to explain machinery and operating directions to other healthcare professionals and clients.

  • Problem-solving skills: One of the primary purposes of biomedical engineer work is to treat and solve prevalent medical issues. Those in this role can benefit from having critical thinking and problem-solving skills to analyse conditions and find creative solutions for them.

  • Attention to detail skills: Biomedical engineers create products that can have risks for patients, so it is important they pay attention to both large and minor details of them. They have to create products with no errors to support the health and safety of patients.

Related: Technical Skills: Definitions and Examples

Average salary of biomedical engineers

The average salary of a biomedical engineer is ₹16,312 per month. However, their salaries may vary based on their geographical location, company, position, years of experience, certifications and other factors. In general, biomedical engineers who complete more education and earn credentials can negotiate for higher salaries. They may also pursue management positions, which can come with higher pay.

Biomedical engineer work environment

Those in this role typically work in an office or lab, developing, revising and building designs for biomedical equipment. They may also travel to various sites to respond to equipment issues or other problems for clients. Biomedical engineers usually work full-time, regular hours. Biomedical engineers may work in a variety of settings, such as:

  • Hospitals

  • Manufacturing and research facilities

  • Universities

  • Government agencies

  • Pharmaceutical companies

  • Medical device companies

  • Technology companies

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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