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Biomedical Engineer

Biomedical engineers study, design, develop, evaluate, manage, and support biological and medical systems and products, including artificial organs, prostheses, medical instruments, and information systems.

  • Avg. Salary $98,254.00
  • Avg. Wage $47.45
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 2,300
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Bioengineer, Bioprocess Engineer, Biotechnologist, Clinical Engineer, Engineer, Medical Engineer, Professional Engineer

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Biomedical Engineers (2148.2) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Other Professional Engineers, n.e.c. (C048) 
  • 2011 NOC: Other professional engineers, n.e.c. (2148) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

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  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Biomedical Engineer is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Biomedical Engineers
INNOVATIVE

Interest in synthesizing information to plan and conduct research concerning life systems, and to develop diagnostic instrumentation, equipment, procedures and devices to assist people with disabilities

OBJECTIVE

Interest in precision working to modify and install medical equipment

DIRECTIVE

Interest in consulting to advise hospital administrators on the planning, acquisition and use of medical equipment; in supervising the installation of equipment, and in overseeing the activities of biomedical technologists and technicians

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Biomedical engineers work with scientists, researchers, and medical staff (including doctors, veterinarians, nurses, pharmacists, and therapists) on the engineering aspects of biological and medical systems.

Duties and responsibilities vary. In general, biomedical engineers:

  • design, develop, and assess medical devices such as artificial hearts and hips, pacemakers, myoelectric prostheses, and surgical lasers
  • adapt and develop computer hardware and software for medical science and health care, including medical imaging systems, models of human physiology, and medical data management
  • do research to test, modify, and develop theories
  • ensure equipment used for diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring is safe, and investigate failures
  • ensure the appropriate and economical use of technology in health care
  • give advice about buying and installing new equipment
  • develop and assess models of biological processes and systems
  • apply engineering methods to answer questions about how the body works and understand the mechanisms of injury and disease
  • contribute to patient assessments
  • prepare and present reports for health professionals and the public
  • supervise and train technologists and technicians.

Biomedical engineers may focus their work in 1 field, or in a combination of the following fields:

  • bioinformatics - developing and using computer tools to collect and study data using spinal processing, machine learning, and visualization techniques
  • bioinstrumentation - applying electronic and measurement techniques in medicine
  • biomaterials - developing new materials and choosing materials that are compatible with a biological environment
  • biomechanics - applying knowledge of mechanics to biological or medical problems
  • bio-nano engineering - developing new structures of nanometer dimensions for application to biology, drug delivery, molecular diagnostics, microsystems, and nanosystems
  • biophotonics - applying and manipulating light (usually laser light) for sensing or imaging properties of biological tissue
  • biosensors - developing hardware that interacts with a biological or physiological system to acquire a signal for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes
  • cellular and tissue engineering (regenerative medicine) - studying the anatomy, biochemistry, and mechanics of cellular and sub-cellular structures; developing technology to repair, replace, or regenerate living tissues; and developing methods for controlling cell and tissue growth in the lab
  • clinical engineering - applying engineering and management skills to health care technology
  • electrophysiology - developing therapies and diagnostic techniques based on the electrical properties of cells and tissues
  • genomics and genetic engineering - mapping, sequencing, and analyzing genomes (DNA) and applying molecular biology methods to manipulate the genetic material of cells, viruses, and organisms
  • health care systems - applying expertise in population health, health services research, and advanced operations modelling to optimize health care systems
  • medical or biological imaging - combining knowledge of a physical phenomenon like sound, radiation, or magnetism with electronic processing, analysis, and display
  • molecular bioengineering - designing molecules for biomedical purposes and applying computational methods for simulating biomolecular interactions
  • robotics - developing robotic and other mechatronic systems and devices for applications in surgery and therapy
  • systems physiology - studying how systems function in living organisms
  • therapeutic engineering - discovering and developing drugs and advanced materials and techniques for delivering drugs to local tissues with minimized side effects
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Biomedical engineers work in offices, labs, workshops, plants, clinics, and hospitals. Local travel may be needed, depending on where medical equipment is located.

Most biomedical engineers work standard weekday hours. Longer hours may be needed to meet deadlines, to work with patients at times that suit them or to work on equipment that is in use during daytime hours.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Biomedical engineers need to possess:

  • a strong interest in engineering and medicine
  • critical-thinking and problem-solving skills
  • science and math skills
  • knowledge of anatomy
  • the ability to visualize complex processes and equipment
  • good speaking and writing skills
  • creativity and persistence
  • an interest in ongoing learning
  • the ability to work well with people from various disciplines and educational backgrounds.

They should enjoy:

  • researching and developing new equipment and systems
  • interacting with patients or animals, sometimes in a clinical setting
  • doing precise tasks
  • consulting with and supervising others.
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Entry-level positions in industry at medical device and pharmaceutical companies, and clinical engineering positions in hospitals generally require a bachelor’s degree in engineering with a major in biomedical engineering. A bachelor’s degree in chemical, civil, geomatics, software, electrical, or mechanical engineering with a specialty in biomedical engineering may also be acceptable. A working understanding of life sciences, medical terms, anatomy, and physiology is required.

Many biomedical engineering graduates pursue medicine, dentistry, or graduate degrees in other fields. Generally, employers prefer a graduate degree for research and development positions.

Both the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary offer graduate programs in biomedical engineering. Many faculty members in other departments also perform biomedical engineering research, including those in the kinesiology, science, medicine, nursing, and veterinary medicine departments.

Graduate students come from varied backgrounds, including traditional engineering, kinesiology, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, and computer science. The University of Calgary also offers a specialization in biomedical engineering for undergraduate students in the traditional engineering program. These students complete internships lasting 4 to 16 months after their third year.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Engineer

Professional Engineers design, construct, evaluate, advise, monitor and report on the performance of materials, equipment, systems, works, processes and structures.

Legislation

Under Alberta's Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act, you must be a registered member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) to practice as a professional engineer. You do not have to be registered if you work under the direct supervision of a professional engineer and do not call yourself a professional engineer or use the word engineer in your job title.

What You Need

Registration as a Professional Engineer requires: (1) a 4-year bachelor's degree in a recognized engineering program and at least 4 years of acceptable work experience under the supervision of a Professional Engineer, or an equivalent combination of education and experience, (2) a minimum of 3 acceptable references and (3) successful completion of an approved examination in law, ethics and professionalism. A new Provisional Member category has been introduced. For official, detailed information about registration requirements, visit APEGA's website or contact APEGA.

Working in Alberta

Engineers who are registered and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for registration in Alberta if registered engineers in the 2 jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see What if I am already certified in another province or territory? and the Alberta regulatory authority (below).

To find more information on the certification process for internationally educated engineers, see Professional Engineer Licensing Process on AlbertaCanada.com.

Contact Details

Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta
1500 Scotia One, 10060 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada T5J 4A2
Phone number: 780-426-3990
Toll-free phone number (within North America): 1-800-661-7020
Fax: 780-426-1877
Email: email@apega.ca
Website: www.apega.ca

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Biomedical engineers work for:

  • medical institutions
  • universities
  • research facilities
  • medical equipment and pharmaceutical manufacturers
  • corporate research and development labs
  • consulting engineering firms
  • law firms
  • venture capital firms
  • governments.

Biomedical engineers often work in multidisciplinary environments. As a result, they may acquire knowledge and skills that allow them to move into related science, engineering, sales, marketing, or management roles.

Biomedical engineers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 2148: Other professional engineers. In Alberta, 86% of people employed in this classification work in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services [pdf] industry.

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors, including:

  • trends and events that affect overall employment (especially in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities that come up when people leave existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities that come up when new positions are created)
  • size of the occupation.

In Alberta, the C048: Other Professional Engineers, n.e.c. occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 1.8% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 95 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Other professional engineers, n.e.c.

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
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For full-time and part-time employees
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Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $22.10 $59.45 $31.79 $32.45
Overall $34.38 $62.74 $47.45 $37.40
Top $34.38 $84.13 $75.66 $78.68

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
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Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

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Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Media, Design and Communication Arts
    • Design Studies
  • Science
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering, Architecture and Related Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2018

American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering website: aimbe.org

Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) website: www.apega.ca

BioAlberta website: www.bioalberta.com

Biomedical Engineering Society website: www.bmes.org

Canadian Medical and Biological Engineering Society website: www.cmbes.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 31, 2018. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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