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I hear conflicting views on BME major job outlooks

  1. Oct 18, 2015 #1
    I currently am a freshman at Rutgers and want to pursue an undergrad BME degree. From a handful of people I hear that the job outlook in the medical devices/BME field is better for ME and EE because their curriculums and skill sets are more established/ better than those of BME. From others, I hear the industry is booming. What is the actual state of the field and how do I get into it?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 19, 2015 #2

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    The only thing I've heard is that some employers aren't familiar with the degree BME. They feel a BME is half biologist and half engineer whereas they are looking for a whole biologist or a whole engineer.

    REDDIT has a discussion by other BME graduates that is somewhat negative but points to the fact that internships really help and that you may not in fact get a BME related job when you graduate. However this is conjectural, perhaps you can have a serious talk with your professors abou treal jb prospects and what you can do to enhance your chances of landing a job.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/Engineerin...ig/im_about_to_get_my_degree_in_bme_what_now/

    There is also the BME professional society that may have better connections to look into:

    http://bmes.org/
     
  4. Oct 19, 2015 #3

    donpacino

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    jedishrfu hit the nail on the head. I would slightly modify the state to say BME can be 1/2 biology, 1/4 mechanical engineering, 1/4 electrical engineering.

    When I was in undergrad I noticed that many BMEs for their senior projects did pure EE or pure ME projects (where the application was medical). But the complexity of the projects what a junior or sophomore level for the EE/ME discipline due to the fact that the BME background was so broad.

    I would recommend specializing (concentrating your electives), or going on to get a masters degree. Practical experience (read internship) will help as well.
     
  5. Oct 23, 2015 #4
    I interview and hire BMEs, so here is my take. BME programs seem to be maturing. You used to find programs that didn't seem to know what they were really about, but I see less and less of that every year. An example of a BioMed program I think is pretty good is Georgia Tech's. It is absolutely true that you have some flexibility in these programs, with some students doing more ME stuff, and some students doing more EE stuff. It is good advice to focus on what you find most interesting or would like to do as a career, most of the time you won't be able to get sufficient technical depth in both the ME side and the EE side of BioMed at the simultaneously.

    Something that I would disagree with donpacino is that BioMed senior projects are not less complex than EE/ME projects in a well-run program. The complexity is simply in a different field, typically things like design control for medical devices, intellectual property, or the interaction between the design and the human body. You wouldn't believe how complex something with no moving parts can be when it is an implantable medical device.

    donpacino's advice about internships is spot on. If you are interested in the medical field [which would be what a BioMed degree indicates], then relevant internships in the field are important both to expand your skills and network, and to help sell yourself to potential employers. A degree in BioMedical Engineering is becoming a good way to do what I do, but it is definitely not the only way to enter this field.

    Having looked at that reddit thread, I think it is worth noting that medical device companies do hire BMEs with undergrad degrees, that you don't necessarily need a graduate degree to enter the medical device field, and that posting represents the experience of only a few. Masters degrees can be useful tools in the job market, but they are neither guarantees of your marketability, nor necessarily a good investment of time or money for everyone. Unfortunately, it is very, very hard to generalize here.
     
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