Are you interested in technology and engineering and willing to improve people’s lives? Then, a career as a biomedical engineer can be ideal for you.
Biomedical Engineers apply knowledge of engineering, physical chemistry, materials science, computing, math, and physics to benefit the medical industry. They develop medical machines, computer software, and prosthetics that treat patients and enhance their lives, helping doctors and healthcare professionals.
To become a biomedical engineer, you must complete an Engineering bachelor's degree with a major in biomedical engineering. You may also consider completing a master's degree that can help with job opportunities.
This guide discusses the steps to become a biomedical engineer, what they do, how much they earn, the skills they need, and more.
1. What Is A Biomedical Engineer?
Biomedical engineers use their knowledge of engineering and scientific methods to solve issues in medicine and life sciences.
They work at the intersection of biology, medicine, and engineering to enhance patients’ lives with devices and equipment.
Biomedical engineers design surgical equipment, devices, tools, instruments, and prosthetics or develop drug therapies and software for medical practitioners.
2. What Tools And Technologies Do Biomedical Engineers Use?
Biomedical engineers use computer-aided design software, lasers, and microcomputers to design and enhance medical research equipment.
They work with biocompatible plastics, electronic components, and metals to develop prosthetics and implantable medical aides such as insulin pumps, artificial limbs, joints, and pacemakers.
3. What Do Biomedical Engineers Do?
Biomedical engineers are responsible for analysing and designing solutions to provide better patient care. Their most common day-to-day duties are as follows:
Apply their knowledge of technology and biology to design innovative healthcare devices that help improve people's lives worldwide.
Conduct research with chemists, biologists, and medical scientists to identify new materials to develop new drug therapies and solve clinical problems
Use the principles of engineering to design and develop clinical instrumentation and medical diagnostic procedures
Design prosthetics to substitute absent body parts
Teach biomedical engineering
Develop computer simulations of human bio-behavioural procedures to obtain data to measure or control life processes
Enhance the performance of surgical systems and devices for safer medical procedures.
Assist healthcare professionals by designing computer software/ hardware for medical science applications
Evaluate the efficiency, safety, and effectiveness of biomedical equipment.
Train patients in using advanced medical technology, prosthetics, and biomedical equipment, and offer them technical advice and support
Identify and understand bioelectric data with the help of signal processing techniques.
Write technical procedures and reports and publish and present research findings.
Design diagnostic equipment to assist healthcare professionals in supervising the health of patients.
Install and test medical equipment
Repair and maintain equipment
Carry out quality assurance and electrical safety checks on equipment.
May give lectures on the practical use of clinical equipment and electrical safety.
4. Biomedical Engineer Skills For Success
Biomedical Engineers usually require the following hard skills and personality traits to carry out their responsibilities efficiently.
An interest in learning and applying scientific rules and methods
Firm grasp of engineering principles, mathematics, and science concepts
Good understanding of medical sciences
Able to work with advanced technology
Technical writing skills to write complex and structured research papers and technical instructions
Good communication skills
Good observation skills
Able to take precise measurements
Aptitude for design
Good problem-solving skills
Good decision-making skills
Attention to detail
Good organization and time management skills
Critical thinking skills to understand complex medical issues and develop new medical technologies
5. Biomedical Engineer Qualifications
You usually need a related bachelor’s degree and work experience to work as a Biomedical Engineer. Here are the steps to qualify for this role:
Gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education in one or more prerequisite subjects such as English, chemistry, physics, and mathematics
Complete an engineering degree in biomedical engineering or an undergraduate degree in a related area such as physics, biomedical science, mechanical engineering, and electrical or electronic engineering.
Develop industry experience during or after your studies through medical or prosthetic design.
Applying for membership in Engineers Australia is beneficial.
Some states and territories may require you to register with a professional body to work in this role.
Advance your career by studying for a Master’s or PhD in Biomedical Engineering.
6. How To Become A Biomedical Engineer In Australia?
Here are step-wise instructions on how to get started as a biomedical engineer:
Step 1: Complete A Bachelor's Degree
A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement to pursue this career. You can consider completing an engineering degree with a major in biomedical engineering or an undergraduate degree in a related field such as biomedical science, mechanical engineering, physics, and electrical or electronic engineering.
Biomedical engineering incorporates theoretical and practical components teaching the basics of medical sciences, such as:
A bachelor’s degree helps develop a distinctive set of biomedical, engineering, and science skills you can apply to design new medical treatments, devices, and instruments. Moreover, it provides a pathway to study for a master's degree to qualify for senior roles or pursue a specialization.
Below are the top Australian universities that offer this degree course:
A double degree in biomedical engineering – Flinders University
Step 2: Complete Internships And Gain Work Experience
Once you have the fundamental qualification, apply for an internship in medical supply and manufacturing, electromedical equipment, or other areas within the medical industry that aligns with your passions and goals.
Completing an internship is the best way to build valuable work experience that may provide you with knowledge and expertise in your chosen field.
Some of the tasks and duties you undertake as an intern are researching, building, and testing computer software, clinical equipment, and biomedical devices. The expertise and work experience you gain will improve your chances of securing a career in biomedical engineering.
Step 3: Consider Postgraduate Studies
The Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering provides you with the expertise to develop technologies and solutions in various healthcare-related fields that enhance human lives, including:
Medical imaging and radiotherapy
Cell and tissue engineering
When completing this course, you gain the specialist skills needed to create new medical devices, treatments, and instruments. You can choose to specialize in varied roles, such as:
Though the degree is optional to become a biomedical engineer, it makes you more desirable to potential future employers and opens the door to more job opportunities.
The duration of a master's degree is between 1.5 and 3 years full-time, and if you do any internships, you may gain an advantage with recognition of prior learning, which may shorten the course duration.
Step 4: Apply For A Biomedical Engineering Role
Biomedical engineering is a vast field where you can find various job opportunities based on your work experience and personal traits.
With a formal qualification and work experience, you are ready to hit the job market and find your perfect job as a biomedical engineer.
7. What Are The Biomedical Engineering Requirements In High School?
To study for a university-level Biomedical engineering degree course, you must complete your high school in prerequisite subjects, including English, mathematics, physics, biology, and chemistry. Work hard to secure a high percentage to get into the top universities.
To qualify for a Bachelor of Engineering (Biomedical Engineering) (Honours) course at RMIT University, you need a biomedical engineering ATAR of 79.60.
8. How To Become A Biomedical Engineer With A Biology Degree?
The University of Melbourne suggests two pathways to achieve your dream career in biomedical engineering.
9. How Much Salary Does A Biomedical Engineer Earn?
The average biomedical engineer salary in Australia can vary based on your education and work experience. Gaining post-graduate qualifications and more work experience may increase your salary as a biomedical engineer.
According to Pay Scale, the average biomedical engineer’s salary is AU$66,379 per year or an hourly equivalent to AU$32.00.
Salary based on Experience level:
Entry-level Biomedical Engineer (< 1-year experience): AU$59,999 per year
Early career Biomedical Engineer (1-4 years of experience): AU$65,563 per year
Mid-career Biomedical Engineer (5-9 years of experience): AU$79,535 per year Experienced Biomedical Engineer (10-19 years of experience): AU$80,000 per year
Highest paying Australian cities for Biomedical Engineers:
Sydney: $201,136 per year
Camperdown: $103,798 per year
Nedlands: $97,979 per year
Melbourne: $92,497 per year
Canberra: $88,409 per year
10. Working Conditions For A Biomedical Engineer
Biomedical engineers work in various health care settings to address a range of injuries and physical disabilities. They usually work in laboratories, advanced manufacturing centres, hospitals, government regulatory agencies and research facilities.
Some also work as a lecturer in universities or educational and medical institutions.Biomedical engineers work in teams with anaesthetists, surgeons, physiotherapists, speech therapists, medical researchers, and more.
They usually work full time and may require to work in shifts, including on public holidays and weekends. They may even need to be on-call in emergencies. The job may also involve travel between hospitals to manage and maintain medical tools and devices.
11. Biomedical Engineering Jobs In Australia
After graduating as a biomedical engineer, you can find exciting careers in the expanding and vibrant medical technology and biotechnology industries. Some of these areas include:
Medical equipment and device manufacturing and design
Biomedical instrumentation industries
Medical and healthcare services
Research and development (in one of Australia’s largest research and government-funded industries)
Biomedical engineers work in a variety of settings, including:
Public hospital-based engineering departments (servicing and optimizing equipment)
Defence sector companies
Companies that develop medical devices, instruments, and medical service technology.
Private medical and pathology laboratories
As a researcher for universities, state and federal government departments, or private companies
As a regulator in government organizations
As a Rehabilitation biomedical engineer in rehabilitation centres
Some even work self-employed as consultants or run their company. You will find significant financial support to set up your company provided by governments.
12. Specialization Opportunities
A biomedical engineer can further study to specialize in Humanitarian Engineering, Biocomputation, Bionics and Bioelectronics, Biomedical Modelling, Thermofluids, and Nanoscale Biotechnology to pursue the following specialist roles:
13. Job Prospects Of Biomedical Engineer In Australia
ANZSCO Occupation Group: 233913 Biomedical Engineers
Biomedical engineers design and manufacture everyday innovations thought once as being impossible.
They are also behind some of the greatest inventions that have enhanced the way of living. Some are cochlear implants, bionic organs, heart pacemakers, heart assist pumps, heart valves, MRI scanners, hip and knee replacement, robotic limbs, laser surgery, and implantable medical devices.
Biomedical engineers also work on future technologies that improve and save people’s lives. These include tissue-engineered organs and tissues, data-oriented solutions like e-medicine, and external medical devices such as augmented reality technology and medical imaging equipment.
According to Labour Market Insights, biomedical engineering is one of the fastest-growing branches of engineering in Australia. The employment of biomedical engineers is estimated to grow faster than the average for all occupations.
As the ageing baby-boom generation stays active and lives longer, there is likely to be an increased demand for biomedical procedures and devices such as hip and knee replacements.
Furthermore, with increasing awareness of medical advances, many people will continue to seek biomedical solutions to solve health issues.
Thus, the rising need for healthcare and advances in technology indicates high growth and limitless opportunities for innovations in the biomedical engineering sector in the future.
Around 90% of employed Biomedical Engineers work full-time for an average of 42 hours per week. (All jobs average: 44 hours per week).
Primary Industries For Employment
Health Care And Social Assistance: 39.9%
Professional, Scientific, And Technical Services: 13.5%
Wholesale Trade: 12.8%
Other Industries: 16.2%
Percentage Employment Across Australia
Victoria and New South Wales are the states with the largest share of employment.
New South Wales: 35.9%
South Australia: 8.8%
Western Australia: 9.5%
Northern Territory: 0.5%
Australian Capital Territory: 1.7%
Worker’s Age and Gender Profile
Average Age (in years): 38 (all jobs average: 40 years)
Female Share: 15% of the workforce (all jobs average: 48%)
Biomedical engineers play a noble role in helping people live healthier and longer lives. The profession gives you the chance to use your knowledge and skills to provide care for patients.
Aspiring biomedical engineers should know that it can be a challenging yet rewarding career to pursue. You may need immense dedication to be a successful biomedical engineer, but the reward you receive from assisting patients and the scientific breakthroughs are satisfying.
If your personality traits and passions suit the role of a biomedical engineer, you will find the process of becoming one easy.
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