Biomedical engineers are employed by large healthcare organisations, research and development facilities, medical equipment manufacturers and rehabilitation centres.
Biomedical engineers are involved in the design, testing and development of a variety of medical devices, such as prosthetic limbs, artificial valves, joint replacements and other clinical equipment.
The main objective of this line of work is to utilise your knowledge of engineering and material sciences for use in the medical field.
The work is mainly research driven, but also involves designing medical devices using 3D modelling software, building models or prototypes and carrying out extensive safety tests.
Finally, it’s all about overseeing the rollout of the equipment for commercial production.
Salary & benefits
Trainee biomedical engineers can earn between £25,000 and £28,000. However, with more experience your salary can rise to around £35,000.
Once you have become a full-on, registered clinical engineer, your salary is likely to increase to between £30,000 and £40,000. Senior professionals can earn between £40,000 and £100,000 per annum.
Your working hours will be fairly regular when compared to that of other healthcare professionals. Indeed, it’s likely that you’ll be working nine-to-five from Monday to Friday.
Biomedical engineers mainly work in laboratories, engineering workshops or offices, depending upon their employer.
A degree in biomedical engineering, physics or mechanical engineering will certainly help your chances of gaining employment. However, a degree in another medical or engineering discipline may be sufficient for entry into this line of work.
Further eligibility criteria and training depend on whether candidates opt to obtain chartered engineering status or choose to work for the NHS as a clinical scientist.
To obtain ‘chartered’ status, you will need to study a postgraduate degree programme that is accredited by the relevant professional body, such as the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) or the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM).
Training & progression
If you choose to work for the NHS, the NHS Scientist Training Programme is the route to take. This programme lasts three years and by the end you will have completed an accredited Masters and a period of workplace-based training in clinical engineering.
Biomedical engineers employed in the commercial sector usually follow the chartered engineering route and career progression is based on overall experience, organisational hierarchy, specialist expertise and professional qualifications.