Bioengineers and Biomedical Engineers
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Apply knowledge of engineering, biology, chemistry, computer science, and biomechanical principles to the design, development, and evaluation of biological, agricultural, and health systems and products, such as artificial organs, prostheses, instrumentation, medical information systems, and health management and care delivery systems.
Undergraduate program resulting in the highest median salary ($98K): Aerospace Engineering
Largest undergraduate program (15.4% of workers): Mechanical Engineering
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Titles for this career often contain these words
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Responsibilities and activities

Bioengineers and biomedical engineers typically do the following:

  • Design equipment and devices, such as artificial internal organs, replacements for body parts, and machines for diagnosing medical problems
  • Install, maintain, or provide technical support for biomedical equipment
  • Collaborate with manufacturing staff on the safety and effectiveness of biomedical equipment
  • Train clinicians and others on the proper use of biomedical equipment
  • Work with scientists to research how engineering principles apply to biological systems
  • Develop statistical models or simulations using statistical or modeling software
  • Prepare procedures and write technical reports and research papers
  • Present research findings to a variety of audiences, including scientists, clinicians, managers, other engineers, and the public
  • Design or conduct followup experiments as needed

Bioengineers and biomedical engineers frequently work in research and development or quality assurance.

The work of bioengineers spans many fields. For example, although their expertise is in engineering and biology, they often design computer software to run complicated instruments, such as three-dimensional x-ray machines. Others use their knowledge of chemistry and biology to develop new drug therapies. Still others draw on math and statistics to understand signals transmitted by the brain or heart. Some are involved in sales.

Biomedical engineers focus on advances in technology and medicine to develop new devices and equipment for improving human health. For example, they might design software to run medical equipment or computer simulations to test new drug therapies. In addition, they design and build artificial body parts, such as hip and knee joints, or develop materials to make replacement parts. They also design rehabilitative exercise equipment.

The following are examples of types of bioengineers and biomedical engineers:

Biochemical engineers focus on cell structures and microscopic systems to create products for bioremediation, biological waste treatment, and other uses.

Bioinstrumentation engineers use electronics, computer science, and measurement principles to develop tools for diagnosing and treating medical problems.

Biomaterials engineers study naturally occurring or laboratory-designed substances for use in medical devices or implants.

Biomechanics engineers study thermodynamics and other systems to solve biological or medical problems.

Clinical engineers apply medical technology to improve healthcare.

Genetic engineers alter the genetic makeup of organism using recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (rDNA) technology, such as in developing vitamin-fortified food crops to prevent disease in humans.

Rehabilitation engineers develop devices that aid people who are recovering from or adapting to physical or cognitive impairments.

Systems physiologists use engineering tools to understand how biological systems function and respond to changes in their environment.

Other bioengineering occupations are described in separate profiles; see, for example, chemical engineers and agricultural engineers. Some people with training in biomedical engineering become postsecondary teachers.

Median salary: $92,620 annually
Half of those employed in this career earn between $71,830 and $118,930.
Context: Median Salary
How do salaries for this career compare to other jobs' salaries?
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Salary growth for biomedical and agricultural engineers
Is this job likely to reward you for sticking with it through pay raises and promotions? The higher a job’s “experience quotient,” the more you are likely to get as you stay there.
Experience quotient percentile
Take a minute to look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working at each age change. Does this seem to be a job for the young or the old, or could it be a career offering steady salary growth for many years?
Salary distribution
Number employed
About Bioengineers and Biomedical Engineers
How do benefits for this career compare to other jobs? The availability of health care, especially employer provided health care, and pension plans can add significantly to the value of compensation you receive in a career. These charts compare how this career compares to other careers with regard to health care and pension plans.
Employee has health insurance
Employer is providing health insurance
Worker concerns
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of bioengineers and biomedical engineers who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Time Pressure (50%)
  • Consequence of Error (41%)
  • Responsible for Others' Health (36%)
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Personality and skills
Can you see yourself in the ranks of Bioengineers and Biomedical Engineers? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.
Analytical skills
Bioengineers and biomedical engineers must assess the needs of patients and customers prior to designing products.
Communication skills
Because bioengineers and biomedical engineers sometimes work with patients and customers and frequently work on teams, they must be able to express themselves clearly in discussions. They also write reports and research papers.
Bioengineers and biomedical engineers must be creative to come up with innovations in healthcare equipment and devices.
Math skills
Bioengineers and biomedical engineers use calculus and other advanced math and statistics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.
Problem-solving skills
Bioengineers and biomedical engineers typically deal with intricate biological systems. They must be able to work independently and with others to incorporate ideas into the complex problem-solving process.
Injury and Illness
About 44 bioengineers and biomedical engineers become injured or ill for every 10,000 workers, making this job more dangerous than 66% of other careers.
All injuries and illnesses
Education pathways to this career
Education attained by bioengineers and biomedical engineers
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), bioengineers and biomedical engineers typically hold a bachelor's degree.
Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as biomedical and agricultural engineers as reported in responses to the American Community Survey.
Details: Education and training recommended for bioengineers and biomedical engineers

In high school, students interested in becoming bioengineers or biomedical engineers should take classes in sciences such as chemistry, physics, and biology. They should also study math, including algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus. If available, classes in drafting, mechanical drawing, and computer programming are also useful.

At the bachelor’s degree level, prospective bioengineers should enter bioengineering or traditional engineering programs, such as mechanical and electrical. Students who pursue traditional engineering degrees may benefit from taking biological science courses.

Bachelor’s degree programs in bioengineering and biomedical engineering focus on engineering and biological sciences. These programs typically include laboratory- and classroom-based courses in biological sciences and subjects such as fluid and solid mechanics, circuit design, and biomaterials.

These programs also include substantial training in engineering design. As part of their study, students may have an opportunity to participate in co-ops or internships with hospitals and medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturing companies. Bioengineering and biomedical engineering programs are accredited by ABET.

Education level of Biomedical and agricultural engineers
About 80% of biomedical and agricultural engineers have at least a bachelor's degree.
Education attained by biomedical and agricultural engineers
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Top college degrees
Here are the top college degrees held by the 79% of people in this job who have at least a bachelor's degree. Some of degrees may link to multiple programs due to the way Census classifies college majors. Click on a program to learn more about career opportunities for people who major in that field.
  1. Mechanical Engineering
  2. Biomedical Engineering
  3. Electrical Engineering
  4. Engineering
  5. Biology
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College majors held by biomedical and agricultural engineers
This table shows the college majors held by people working as biomedical and agricultural engineers. If you see "**" before the name of a degree/program, that means this field is one that the Department of Education believes is preparatory for this career. However, you can see from this list that those recommendations are far from your only path to this job!
Salary comparison for bachelor's only
Career salary (tail) versus Career/Major salary (dot)
Does the bachelor's-only salary rise or fall with this major?
Salary for bachelor's-only
For people with this career and major
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Salary for all workers
For people with this career and major
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education for Career and Major
Workers with this career/major
Percentage in this career with this major
Not so much?
The link between degrees and this career
With the following sankey diagram, you can follow the top ten bachelor's degrees held by people working as biomedical and agricultural engineers, and then, in turn, you can see the 10 occupations that hire the most of each degree's graduates. We hope this provides ideas for similar jobs and similar fields of study.
Expand degrees
Mechanical Engineeri...Biomedical Engineeri...Electrical Engineeri...General EngineeringBiologyBiological Engineeri...Chemical EngineeringGeneral BusinessIndustrial and Manuf...PhysicsAll other degreesThis jobTop 10 majors
Where are the jobs
State-by-state employment numbers
Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.
Select a state to see local area details
Number of Biomedical and agricultural engineers per 1,000 workers (ACS)
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Job density versus job count
Which states hire the most bioengineers and biomedical engineers? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as bioengineers and biomedical engineers. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where bioengineers and biomedical engineers earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio
We use two methods to compare salaries across states:
  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for biomedical and agricultural engineers compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for biomedical and agricultural engineers.
We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which biomedical and agricultural engineers earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this figure might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
Location-adjusted median salary for Biomedical and agricultural engineers (ACS for all specialties)
4% of Biomedical and agricultural engineers are working part time.
We’ve found that some jobs have a huge number of part-time workers, and typically that is because they are unable to find full-time work or the job itself can’t provide full-time hours. With 4% part-time workers, this occupation has a lower percentage of part-time workers than 83% of careers.
Employer types
This donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, giving us a picture of what employers most typically hire for this career.
Employers of undefined (ACS)
Private for-profit
Private not-for-profit
Local government
State government
Federal government
Self-employed incorporated
Self-employed not incorporated
Working without pay
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Distribution: Salaries of biomedical and agricultural engineers by type of employer
Here are the salary distributions based on employer type.
$82K$85K$74K$79K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000Federal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Biomedical and agricultural engineers and gender
With 15% women, this occupation has a lower percentage of women than 72% of careers.
Gender of Biomedical and agricultural engineers
Men (85%)
Women (15%)
Distribution: salaries by gender
Does gender greatly influence your salary in this career? The closer the bars are, the less discrepancy there is.
We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.
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Context: Women in the workforce
How does this career compare to other careers with regard to the percentage of women in the career.
Context: Salary inequity
The median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 19%. The situation is a little better for biomedical and agricultural engineers, with the median salary for men 11% higher than the median salary for women.
Race and origin of Biomedical and agricultural engineers
This donut shows the distribution of race and origin among those employed as Biomedical and agricultural engineers.
Race/origin of biomedical and agricultural engineers
White (73% )
Asian (17% )
Black (5% )
Multiracial (2% )
Other (2% )
Hispanic (1% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
American Indian (0% )
Distribution: salaries by race/origin
Some careers might have a pay disparity based on race or origin, the closer the below bars are the less of a discrepancy is present.
$56K$66K$80K$89K$96K$97K$0$50K$100K$150KAmerican IndianBlackWhiteMultiracialAsianOther
We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.