Landing a Bioengineering Job

Where to find new opportunities in the field

6 November 2013

Image: iStockphoto

Last year, CNN placed biomedical engineering at the top of its “Best Jobs in America” list. The reasons? It had a nearly 62 percent job growth in the last decade. It’s a flexible career, meaning one could find a job in universities, hospitals, or labs. It received an “A” in personal satisfaction and benefit to society from engineers in the industry surveyed by PayScale.com. And the salary isn’t bad either: The median pay is US $79 500. Moreover, by working on projects like growing artificial organs and developing health-monitoring sensors, every day on the job can feel like science fiction, according to the article.

With that said, bioengineering positions can be hard to get. And we know many of our readers from around the world are concerned about whether engineers are really in demand according to the almost 200 comments we received on the blog. So how does one go about landing a dream job in this industry? Here are a few tips that might help.

CAREER CHOICE
Before entering any field, it’s important to recognize whether it’s the right one for you. To better understand what it means to be a bioengineer, read through this detailed career guide from IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology. It covers such topics as education, practical experience, and key areas of the field.

Did you know that bioengineers must be trained in traditional disciplines, such as electrical or mechanical engineering, as well as the life sciences? Or that biomedical engineers can take on a managerial role by working at a hospital and ensuring that all medical equipment is safe and effective?

By understanding the requirements and the many ways you can contribute to the industry, the guide will help you focus on the jobs that are right for you.

FIND A JOB
To start your job search, first try the IEEE Job Site where you can look for a position based on industry, job title, keywords, or location. Try the search term “biomedical,” or click on the “Bioengineering” category to find more than 200 jobs available in the field right now. (The job site is exclusively for IEEE members so you won’t be competing with others.)

More importantly, if the type of job you’re looking for doesn’t come up this time around, set up an alert to be notified for when it does get posted in the system.

TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE
Learn more about what bioengineers do and the potential jobs out there by watching the bioengineering channel on IEEE.tv. For example, learn about the application of micro and nanotechnology in medicine from IEEE Member Ali Khademhosseini, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, or artificial retinas from IEEE Fellow Gianluca Lazzi, chair of computer engineering at University of Utah, in Salt Lake City.

Attending related conferences and meetings that IEEE holds with experts in the field will expose you to the many opportunities available, some of which will only be found out through word of mouth and networking.

NEVER STOP LEARNING
Innovations in bioengineering are developing so quickly that it’s easy to become outdated. To ensure that you’ve got the most up-to-date training, it’s important to continuously brush up on the latest findings and research. To do so, check out recently published papers in the IEEE Xplore Digital Library and news from the IEEE Life Sciences newsletter, take online courses from IEEE’s eLearning Library, or sign up for an IEEE continuing education course.

One course from the IEEE eLearning Library,“Optical Biomedical Sensors,” teaches students how to develop inexpensive and portable diagnostic tools for disease. Another course discusses “smart fabrics” that can be transformed into sensors and actuators. You can also earn certification through the IEEE Biometrics Professional program and learn how to design technology for human identification. No prerequisites are required. And good luck.

What tips do you have for landing a job in bioengineering? Share your experience in the comments section below.

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