Biomedical engineers combine engineering and materials science with medical knowledge to design equipment to diagnose and treat illnesses.
An analytical approach, keen eye for detail and an interest in human biology are essential qualities for a career in this rapidly developing field.
You’ll need an accredited first degree in biomedical engineering or a related subject including physics, electrical engineering or mechanical engineering. Your career path then depends on whether you want to work within the NHS, industry or research.
At City, University of London, we are ideally placed to help you launch a rewarding career as a biomedical engineer.
Our BEng in Biomedical Engineering is among the top ranked courses of its kind in the UK, accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), the Institute of Measurement and Control (InstMC) and the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM).
What can I expect from a career as a biomedical engineer?
As a biomedical engineer you will research, design, develop and test a wide range of medical devices and procedures, such as:
- joint replacements
- artificial limbs
- heart valves
- robotic surgical instruments
- tissue engineering
- computer simulations
- hearing implants
- speech synthesisers.
Your work will be informed by consultation with medical and surgical experts, therapists and associated healthcare professionals and often patients themselves.
Building on your extensive research, you may then use 3D modelling software to design devices, create prototypes and lead on extensive safety and clinical tests before the product is ready for commercial roll-out.
Related courses at City
Whatever your level of interest in becoming a biomedical engineer, City's courses can help you take one step closer to a career as a biomedical engineer, develop specialisms that'll set you apart from the field or broaden your horizons with study in related subjects.
Who can I work for as a biomedical engineer?
Biomedical engineers – sometimes also known as clinical or medical engineers – mainly work within the NHS, academic research or for manufacturers of medical equipment.
To work within the NHS, you will need to complete the scientist training programme (STP) after your degree. This involves three years of paid work-based training, during which you will also complete an accredited master’s degree.
After completing the STP, you can apply for a certificate of attainment from the Academy of Healthcare Science and register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) in order to practice as a clinical scientist.
If you wish to work in the private sector, you can follow the route to achieve chartered status. This will usually involve one of the following:
- Completing an accredited MSc or engineering doctorate (EngD) before starting work
- Taking the Engineering Council’s MSc in professional engineering while working
- Formal assessment and approval by relevant professional engineering institution licensed by the Engineering Council.
If you want to go into research, your career path will typically involve you completing a PhD in biomedical engineering followed by a role at a university or academic institute as a lecturer or researcher.
What about biomedical engineering work experience?
Any relevant work experience through a summer placement, work shadowing or industrial year out is valuable in establishing your particular interests and making contacts. The IET has useful information on getting work experience.
Our BEng programme at City includes a year’s paid placement between your second and third years, where you will develop your skills and knowledge working on real-life projects.
Voluntary or paid work with children or adults with disabilities will give you a valuable understanding of how specialised equipment can make a difference to people’s quality of life.
You might also consider volunteering for an organisation such as Remap, which designs and custom-makes equipment free of charge to help disabled people live more independently.
What are my prospects as a biomedical engineer?
Biomedical engineering is a fast-moving profession and you will have excellent career prospects with scope to move between hospital-based roles and the wider healthcare industry.
As your career progresses, you may have the opportunity to specialise in areas such as biomechanics, biomaterials, medical instrumentation or rehabilitation.
Senior roles in the NHS or industry may include responsibility for staff management and training.