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Biomedical Engineer

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

  • Avg. Salary $88,938.00
  • Avg. Wage $43.60
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary
  • Outlook Up
  • Employed 5,300
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Clinical Engineer, Engineer, Professional Engineer, Medical Engineer

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

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Average Wage
Starting
Overall
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  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Biomedical Engineer is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Biomedical Engineers
NOC code: 2148.2
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 Dec 14, 2016

Biomedical engineers work closely with scientists, researchers and medical professionals (such as physicians, nurses, pharmacists and therapists) on the engineering aspects of biological and medical systems.

Duties and responsibilities vary from one position to another but, in general, biomedical engineers:

  • design and develop medical devices such as artificial hearts and kidneys, pacemakers, artificial hips, myoelectric prostheses, surgical lasers, automated patient monitors and blood chemistry sensors
  • adapt or develop computer hardware or software for medical science or health care applications (for example, expert systems that assist in diagnosing diseases, medical imaging systems, models of different aspects of human physiology or medical data management)
  • conduct research to test and modify current theories and develop new theories
  • ensure the safety of equipment used for diagnosis, treatment and monitoring
  • ensure appropriate and economical use of technology in health care
  • investigate medical equipment failures
  • provide advice about the purchase and installation of new equipment
  • develop and evaluate quantitative models of biological processes and systems
  • apply engineering methods to answer basic questions about how the body works
  • contribute to patient assessments 
  • prepare and present technology-related reports for health professionals and the public
  • supervise and train technologists and technicians.

Biomedical engineers may work primarily in one or a combination of the following fields:

  • bioinformatics - developing and using computer tools to collect and analyze data
  • bioinstrumentation - applying electronic and measurement techniques in medicine
  • biomaterials - developing new materials and selecting appropriate materials that are compatible with a biological environment
  • biomechanics - applying knowledge of mechanics to biological or medical problems
  • bio-nano-engineering - developing novel 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
  • cellular and tissue engineering - 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 laboratory
  • clinical engineering - applying engineering and managerial 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 
  • medical or biological imaging - combining knowledge of a physical phenomenon (for example, 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
  • 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 Dec 14, 2016

Biomedical engineers work in offices, laboratories, workshops, manufacturing plants, clinics and hospitals. Some local travel may be required if medical equipment is located in various clinics or hospitals.

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

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Biomedical engineers need the following characteristics:

  • a strong interest in engineering and medicine
  • the ability to think analytically and solve problems
  • an aptitude for science and mathematics
  • the ability to visualize complex processes and equipment
  • good oral and written communication skills
  • creativity and persistence
  • a willingness to improve their knowledge and skills on an ongoing basis
  • the ability to work effectively with people from various disciplines and educational backgrounds.

They should enjoy:

  • synthesizing information to conduct research and develop new instruments, equipment and systems
  • performing tasks that require precision
  • consulting with and supervising others.
Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Entry level positions in industry (medical device or pharmaceutical companies) or clinical engineering positions in hospitals generally require a bachelor's degree in engineering with a major in biomedical engineering, or a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering, electrical engineering or mechanical engineering with a specialty in biomedical engineering. A working understanding of life sciences, medical terminology, human anatomy and physiology is required.

Many graduates of biomedical engineering programs continue their education by taking medicine or dentistry, or graduate (master's or doctoral) degree programs in other fields. A graduate degree is required for research and development positions in biomedical engineering.

Both the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary offer graduate degree programs in biomedical engineering, and many faculty members in various other departments in engineering, science, and medicine perform biomedical engineering research. Graduate students come from varied backgrounds including traditional engineering disciplines, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine and computer science.


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 Dec 14, 2016

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 Dec 14, 2016

Above-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Biomedical engineers are employed by:

  • medical institutions
  • university and other research facilities
  • medical equipment and pharmaceutical manufacturers
  • corporate research and development laboratories
  • consulting engineering firms
  • law firms
  • venture capital firms
  • governments.

Because biomedical engineers often work in a multidisciplinary environment, they acquire knowledge and skills through work experience that may allow them to move into associated areas of science, engineering, sales, marketing or management.

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 in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 5,300 Albertans are employed in the Other professional engineers, n.e.c. occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 1.8% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 95 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As biomedical engineers form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for biomedical engineers.

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Other professional engineers, n.e.c.
NOC code: 2148

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
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Overall
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Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $28.85 $47.92 $34.27 $28.85
Overall $33.65 $62.23 $43.60 $35.91
Top $36.06 $89.83 $48.49 $40.32

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
Health Care & Social Assistance
Public Administration
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

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Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

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Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

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2015 Vacancy Rate

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Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
  • Media, Design and Communication Arts
    • Design Studies
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering, Architecture and Related Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 14, 2016

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, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Apr 01, 2014. 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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