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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.

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) 
  • 2016 NOC: Other professional engineers, n.e.c. (2148) 
  • 2021 NOC: Other professional engineers (21399) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Biomedical Engineers

2006 NOC: 2148.2

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

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
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

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.

Traits & Skills
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
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary

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.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Certain professional titles or duties within this occupation are protected by provincial legislation. Requirements vary if you use these titles or perform these duties.

The related legislation is shown below. If there are multiple related legislations, select a certification heading to learn about each one.

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 [pdf] and Engineering and Geoscience Professions General Regulation [pdf], you must register as a member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) to practice as a Professional Engineer or engage in the practice of engineering.

You do not have to register 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.

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Engineer.

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.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 2148: Other professional engineers, n.e.c. occupational group, 81.9% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 2148: Other professional engineers, n.e.c. occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.6% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 39 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2019-2023 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Other professional engineers, n.e.c.

2016 NOC: 2148
Average Wage
$53.02
Per Hour
Average Salary
$106,458.00
Per Year
Average Hours
38.8
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 2148 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $25.96 $76.92 $40.44 $39.28
Overall $28.85 $82.16 $53.02 $57.96
Top $38.46 $96.94 $65.94 $63.46

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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Public Administration
Health Care & Social Assistance
ALL INDUSTRIES

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
44%
44%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
N/A
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
0%
0%
Vacancy Rate
N/A
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

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

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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