Biological Engineering Schools Colleges & Universities

Find out how to begin a career in Biological Engineering--one of the fastest-growing occupations in the United States.

Biological Engineering: A Career With A Bright Future: As a biological engineer, you can combine your knowledge of medicine, biology, and engineering to create solutions to medical, health-related, or ecological problems or market requirements. You may work on developing anything from artificial organs and prostheses, to medical instruments and imaging systems, to health management and care delivery systems.

The terms 'biological engineering' and 'biomedical engineering' are often used interchangeably, although the term 'biological engineering' can encompass a broader range of engineering that goes beyond human biology or medicine and includes such things as the study of ecosystems or other plant- and animal-based specialty areas.

If you have an engineering background, you may decide to develop your career into biomedical or biological engineering. To begin work in biological engineering, you need to have earned your bachelor's degree in an engineering specialty before moving on to take a graduate degree in biological engineering, or you could take an undergraduate degree in biological engineering if you have a solid background in science and math. Graduate degrees in biological engineering build on the knowledge and skills in engineering, mathematics, and science you have gained from your bachelor's degree in engineering.

You should be prepared to continue your education throughout your career to keep pace with rapidly changing technology; otherwise you could find that your knowledge quickly becomes outdated.

To offer services directly to the public, you also need to be licensed, which requires 4 years experience following graduation and a State exam. In some States ongoing education is mandatory for relicensure.

Job & Salary Opportunities: Biological Engineering has a Strong Future: Job growth for biomedical engineers is expected to be the strongest of all engineering occupations in the decade 2008-2018, at 72 percent compared to about 11 percent for engineering occupations as a whole. Growth in demand for biomedical engineers is expected to be driven by increased demand for better medical equipment and procedures, partly to meet the needs of an aging population, and also by drive for cost-effectiveness and market competitiveness. This growth in demand has led to an increased number of degrees in biological engineering being available across the United States.

Biomedical engineers held about 16,000 jobs out of 1.6 million engineering jobs in the United States in May 2008. The median annual wage for biomedical engineers in May 2009 was $78,860, with the top ten percent earning over $123,270.

The highest concentration of biomedical engineers in 2009 were in Utah, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Indiana, and Maryland; the top paying States for biomedical engineers were Minnesota (mean annual wage $96,930), Massachusetts ($93,030), Arizona ($92,250), California ($90,590), Connecticut ($87,150).

Biological Engineering Colleges: There are many excellent biomedical or biological engineering colleges and other general colleges and universities offering degrees in biological engineering across the United States. Two of the best universities offering graduate and undergraduate degrees in biological engineering are Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, and Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia. Look for biological engineering schools and colleges that are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)--you may need to graduate from an ABET-accredited program to become licensed.

The writer Karin has been a freelance writer for several years. She has a PhD and a background in education and research.

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