Jan 12, 2008

Biomedical Engineer?

Shreya asks for comments if you're a biomedical engineer and how to advance in a medical device career. I'm a chemical engineer, but as usual that won't stop me from giving my opinion. My boss prefers to hire mechanical or chemical engineers over biomedical engineers because he thinks they have a more solid understanding of engineering fundamentals- I have no idea if this is true or not. So, our company certainly wouldn't value a biomedical engineer more than the other two when it came to hiring time. I obviously can't speak for all companies, that just what I'm used to, but I think with a mechanical engineering degree you would still have a very decent chance in getting into the medical device field, and if that didn't work out you'd have many more options than a biomedical degree.

You can give yourself a further leg up by just working at any position in a medical device or drug company. Really understanding GMP/GLP is a huge leg up on a new graduate. Any position would help and many companies have a high turnover in starting positions because people move on and up quickly.

The other thing to keep in mind is that this country has a dozen or less biotech clusters and if you are not willing to move or live near one your chances of getting a biotech job are slim.


Andreas said...

Your boss is on the right track. Hiring someone with a "solid" engineering degree such as mechanical, electrical, or chemical engineering is much more advantageous than hiring someone with a biomedical engineering degree. Biomedical engineers are taught to be generalists, which often does not help much in a medical device company - these graduates are often of the "know a lot but not in depth" kind. Dont' get me wrong, I do have a graduate degree in BME, but I have also a graduate degree in EE. I have been teaching BMEs at the Master and PhD level for a while, but I was always disappointed by their superficial knowledge. Just my two cents worth ...

Anonymous said...

Can someone with a graduate degree in Biomedical Engineering and a bachelor's degree in a "solid" engineering discipline (say Engineering physics) work in the biotech or pharmaceutical field?

My impression as a BMED/physics engineer is that the place I would fit in best would be a medical device company with strong emphasis on innovation, but people keep on asking "why don't you try applying to all those pharmaceutical companies?" since there are so many where I live. Who's wrong here? Am I the one not seeing the big picture?


BTW, I'm a frequent reader of your very informative blog, great job!