Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Prognosis Positive for Biomedical Engineering Grads

The employment outlook for biomedical engineering graduates is, in a word, good. So say three professors who are tops in the field, from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., to Clemson University in South Carolina.

"The outlook is good and getting better as employers recognize the value of the specialty of biomedical engineering," notes Dr. Scott Delp, associate professor of biomedical engineering and rehabilitation at Northwestern University, as well as a research scientist at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. "The more biomedical engineers who go out into industry, the more I see that trend continuing."

Currently, Delp estimates that about half of Northwestern's biomedical engineering undergrads go on to medical school, while 25 percent head to grad school and the remaining 25 percent, roughly 20 students, go on to jobs in industry right out of college.

"Biomedical engineers have unique skills," Delp says. "Often they are needed to bridge traditional engineering skills with medical applications. For someone to have a formal education in both disciplines is very helpful."

Delp asserts that the U.S. dominates the world in the healthcare marketplace, which translates into an optimistic view of the future for his field.

"We have a strong export/import balance," he says. "The growth of the healthcare industry and the domination of the U.S. healthcare industry worldwide are strong indicators that biomedical engineers will be doing well in the coming years."

As vast as the field is, all areas of biomedical engineering represent good employment prospects for today's graduates, according to Dr. Larry Dooley, professor of bioengineering and director of the School of Chemical University. Dooley notes that both the medical device marketplace and the diagnostics marketplace are expanding in the U.S. in terms of new production capability. That translates into a wealth of opportunities for grads possessing bioengineering skills.


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